Carrots: Health Benefits

By Margaret Boyles
Nov 19, 2018
Carrots from the Garden


Rate this Post: 

Average: 3.4 (30 votes)

Carrots offer even more health benefits than the Vitamin A you might know about. Plus they’re inexpensive, always available, and easy to grow. Here are some of the ways that carrots are good for you.

Carrots Are a Healthy Food

  • They’re nutritious. A single carrot, raw or cooked, will provide more than a day’s worth of Vitamin A.
  • Carrots are also a good source of fiber, and deliver a variety of vitamins and minerals in lesser amounts.
  • Low in calories, carrots also carry a low glycemic load (an indicator of how much a serving will raise blood sugar).
  • Carrots contain high levels of several carotenoids, plant compounds that may protect eye and cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of certain cancers.  
  • They also contain other bioactive phytonutrients called polyacetylenes. In carrots, the polyacetylenes falcarinol and falcarindiol have shown anti-tumor activity.
  • They’re versatile in the kitchen, and good to “wash, grab, and go” for snacking. There’s almost no recipe that couldn’t handle a carrot or two.  

Photo credit: Darya Pino. Some rights reserved.

How to Store and Cook Carrots

Carrots are among the easiest crops to grow. Home gardeners can produce two pounds or more of fresh carrots in a square foot of good, loose soil. So how do you store all these carrots?

To enjoy the greatest health benefits from carrots, store fresh carrots for up to 21 days at room temperature, or around two months at 39ºF, and eat them raw, or boiled for less than 15 minutes.

Kinds of Carrots

If you get bored with the typical orange carrot, plant breeders (traditional, not genetic engineers) have developed a rainbow of carrot colors, ranging from nearly black to purple, fuschia, red, yellow, beige, and white. The first cultivated carrots were purple, originating in Afghanistan around 1,000 years ago from the wild plant we now call Queen Anne’s lace.

Each color signals the presence of specific phytocompounds, chemicals plants produce to protect or heal themselves, and which may confer specific health benefits on humans who consume them.

Can You Eat Too Many Carrots?

You may have heard that too much vitamin A may cause adverse health effects or harm a developing fetus. That’s true, but not from the so-called provitamin A found in carrots and other yellow and green vegetables.

Instead, the danger comes from consuming preformed vitamin A, usually from dietary supplements, fish oils, or eating a lot of liver. 

However, munching a lot of carrots may cause an alaming but harmless condition called carotenemia, when the skin turns yellow or orange. (It’s especially prevalent in infants who eat a lot of mashed carrots.) Carotenemia doesn’t cause yellowing of the whites of the eyes; if that happens, consult your doctor.

Because a large and growing body of research confirms that eating a wide variety of veggies and fruits lowers mortality from all causes, make sure to diversify your diet to include many other kinds of vegetables and fruits.

Carrot Allergy

Sadly, some people are allergic to carrots. People who experience oral allergy syndrome from eating carrots generally experience an itchy mouth, tongue, or throat, which disappears shortly after the food is swallowed. If you or your child experience stronger effects such as swelling tongue or throat while eating carrots, see your health professional.

More About Carrots

Carrots in Drinks

Yep, you can drink your carrots, too, and not just as juice. A Dutch company recently introduced 24 Carrot Liqueur, packaged in a mason jar for reuse.

Curious about the taste? “Think of carrots, freshly picked from sandy soil on an early summer-morning; [the liqueur] tickles the tongue, gives a round bitter sweet spiciness through to the end.”

Carrot Website

If you hanker to learn more, visit the World Carrot Museum, a British website describing itself as the “first virtual museum in the world entirely devoted to the history, evolution, science, sociology and art of Carrot.” They’ve collected and organized pretty much everything known about carrots there (e.g., Carrot records: the heaviest carrot recorded weighed 20 lbs, the longest was 19 ft, 2 in).

Every vegetable should have its own online museum!

About This Blog

"Living Naturally" is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that's good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, and ideas to make your home a healthy, safe haven. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it's relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Thank you!

Thanks for the great posts on the health benefits of carrots, and how to grow them. I enjoyed the easily readable and interesting information.


+ a 4-season guide to raising chickens!

You will also be subscribed to our Almanac Companion Newsletter

The Almanac Webcam

Chosen for You from The Old Farmer's Store