The humble carrot typically serves as nothing more than a small snack or a colorful garnish (or maybe just the healthiest ingredient in a carrot cake!). But when you discover how many health benefits this orange wonder has, you may want to start warming up that juicer. Here are 9 reasons why you should include carrot juice in your daily diet.
1. Promotes Good Vision – No Matter Your Age
Apart from vitamin A, which helps support the retina, carrot juice contains antioxidant compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin that can prevent vision loss associated with age.1One study found that high dietary intake of antioxidants, such as those found abundantly in carrots, can substantially reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration in the elderly.2
2. Supports Smooth Digestion
Fiber, found abundantly in fresh vegetables, is essential for smooth bowel movements and preventing constipation. A standard serving of carrot juice has about 0.8 grams of fiber in every 100 grams.3 This accounts for about 3% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber.4 If loading up on fiber is a priority, chowing down on a raw carrot may actually be better, with a single carrot giving you about 2.8 grams of fiber for an equal sized serving (100 grams).5 But that doesn’t take away from the fact that carrot juice has a good amount of fiber on offer too.
3. Keeps The Heart Strong And Healthy
Carrot juice also has benefits for cardiovascular health. Researchers have found that drinking carrot juice can decrease lipid peroxidation in the body and increase total antioxidant capacity.6 Put simply, carrot juice is rich in antioxidants, the compounds your body needs to fight oxidative free radicals.7 What’s more, carrot juice can also help the liver process fats more effectively. This translates to lower levels of cholesterol, protecting against heart disease as well.8
4. Helps Fight The Big C
Cancer is always a cause for concern, mostly because of the intensive treatment that goes along with it. Which is what makes findings on the possible impact of carrots so important. The polyacetylene compounds in carrot juice help treat leukemia (blood cancer) by inducing cell death in cancer cells.9 Also, dietary intake of beta-carotene (abundant in carrots) has been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, even in high-risk individuals.10
5. Supports Oral Health
Carrot juice may actually help keep your teeth and gums healthy. The phenols present in shredded carrot extracts have an antimicrobial effect, which has been shown to prevent the growth of food-borne bacteria and yeast.11 And the taste of carrot juice sure beats that of your off-the-shelf mouthwash!
6. Keeps Your Skin Glowing
The beta-carotene that lends carrot its distinctive hue is effective in fighting skin damage caused by the sun. In addition, carotene and lycopene, both found in carrots, are crucial for the development of healthy skin.12
7. Sharpens The Mind
The brain’s cognitive center is the hippocampus. It dictates our awareness and learning capabilities. Retinoid compounds found in carrots have been shown to improve the communication pathways in the hippocampus. Significant learning disabilities are often discovered in children deprived of sufficient retinoids due to malnourishment.13 Ayurveda also believes that carrot juice has alkaloids that can help stimulate the nerve pathways in the brain and boost memory.14
8. Reverses Cadmium Poisoning
Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal that can cause bone deformities.15 If the water is contaminated by cadmium, particularly in areas where food crops grow, it can leach into the produce and, ultimately, land on our plates. The release of cadmium from plastics used in containers, wrappers, bottles, and other household items can also lead to food contamination.16 In lab tests, the beta-carotene in carrots has been shown to reverse the effects of cadmium poisoning. While more research needs to be done, it seems that carrot juice may prove to be a natural, side-effect-free alternative to fighting heavy metal poisoning.17
9. Alleviates Anemia
Anemia is a widespread condition, especially among vegetarians and women of reproductive age. According to naturopathy, consuming a glass of carrot juice combined with two teaspoons of honey every day can alleviate anemia.18 When ingested, the carotenoids in carrot juice convert to vitamin A, which plays an important role in fighting iron deficiency.19
OK, So Why Juice?
Raw carrots are rich in all of the compounds and active ingredients present in the juice. So, why not just eat the carrots? That’s because juicing carrots packs more nutrients into a more easily consumed form. For instance, you’d need between three and six carrots (depending on the size) to come up with a 200 ml serving of carrot juice. And you’d probably down that in a few gulps! Contrast that with the time and effort it will take you to chomp your way through three to six carrots. You’d probably have no more than one or two in any case. The math, therefore, is simple. You can consume more carrots, faster and easier, when they’re juiced. By extension, you’ll get more nutrition (and benefits) this way too.
It’s also much easier to gauge the amount of nutrients you are getting with a glass of carrot juice. A standard serving size is just that –standard. So you’ll know how much nutrition you have got in with a 200 ml serving. If you’re eating carrots, though, the size of the vegetable will matter. A skinny one may have less than a plump one. A heavy one may have more than a light one. One carrot may be long, another short. You get the picture!
Do keep in mind that your carrots need to be processed right to keep the nutrient content intact. If the carrots come in contact with a lot of heat during processing or are exposed to air for lengths of time during the process, the nutrient levels dip.
Storage plays a key role too – if the juice is exposed to heat and light for too long, its vitamin A, α-carotene and β-carotene, and lutein content all decline.20 One way to fix this problem is to juice your carrots fresh or buy cold-pressed fresh juices and drink up as soon as possible. That way you can be sure what you’re drinking delivers on its promise.
Carrot juice shouldn’t fully replace your daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, but it’s certainly a great (and easy!) way to get in a ton of great nutrients to protect your eyes, skin, heart, brain, and more!
|↑1, ↑3||Carrot Juice, Canned, United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Van Leeuwen, Redmer, Sharmila Boekhoorn, Johannes R. Vingerling, Jacqueline CM Witteman, Caroline CW Klaver, Albert Hofman, and Paulus TVM de Jong. “Dietary intake of antioxidants and risk of age-related macular degeneration.” Jama 294, no. 24 (2005): 3101-3107.|
|↑4||Dietary Fibre, British Nutrition Foundation.|
|↑5||Raw carrots, United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑6||Potter, Andrew S., Shahrzad Foroudi, Alexis Stamatikos, Bhimanagouda S. Patil, and Farzad Deyhim. “Drinking carrot juice increases total antioxidant status and decreases lipid peroxidation in adults.” Nutrition journal 10, no. 1 (2011): 1.|
|↑7||Zhang, Donglin, and Yasunori Hamauzu. “Phenolic compounds and their antioxidant properties in different tissues of carrots (Daucus carota L.).” Journal of Food Agriculture and Environment 2 (2004): 95-100.|
|↑8||Nicolle, Catherine, Nicolas Cardinault, Olivier Aprikian, Jérome Busserolles, Pascal Grolier, Edmond Rock, Christian Demigné et al. “Effect of carrot intake on cholesterol metabolism and on antioxidant status in cholesterol-fed rat.” European journal of nutrition 42, no. 5 (2003): 254-261.|
|↑9||G Zaini, Rana, Kirsten Brandt, Malcolm R Clench, and Christine L Le Maitre. “Effects of bioactive compounds from carrots (Daucus carota L.), polyacetylenes, beta-carotene and lutein on human lymphoid leukaemia cells.” Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry (Formerly Current Medicinal Chemistry-Anti-Cancer Agents) 12, no. 6 (2012): 640-652.|
|↑10||Huncharek, M., H. Klassen, and B. Kupelnick. “Dietary beta-carotene intake and the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer: a meta-analysis of 3,782 subjects from five observational studies.” In vivo (Athens, Greece) 15, no. 4 (2000): 339-343.|
|↑11||Babic, I., C. Nguyen‐the, M. J. Amiot, and S. Aubert. “Antimicrobial activity of shredded carrot extracts on food‐borne bacteria and yeast.” Journal of applied bacteriology 76, no. 2 (1994): 135-141.|
|↑12||Schagen, Silke K., Vasiliki A. Zampeli, Evgenia Makrantonaki, and Christos C. Zouboulis. “Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging.” Dermato-endocrinology 4, no. 3 (2012): 298-307.|
|↑13||Bourre, Jean-Marie. “Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 1: micronutrients.” Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging 10, no. 5 (2006): 377.|
|↑14||Lad, Vasant. The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies. Harmony, 1999.|
|↑15||Nordberg, Gunnar F. “Health hazards of environmental cadmium pollution.” Ambio (1974): 55-66.|
|↑16||Preda, N., Letitia Popa, and Maria Ariesan. “The possibility of food contamination with cadmium by means of coloured plastics.” Journal of Applied Toxicology 3, no. 3 (1983): 139-142.|
|↑17||El‐Missiry, M. A., and F. Shalaby. “Role of β‐carotene in ameliorating the cadmium‐induced oxidative stress in rat brain and testis.” Journal of biochemical and molecular toxicology 14, no. 5 (2000): 238-243.|
|↑18||Sairam T.V., “Home Remedies: A Handbook of Herbal Cures for Common Ailments, Volume 2”. Penguin Books India. 1998.|
|↑19||Vitamin A, Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University.|
|↑20||Chen, H. E., H. Y. Peng, and B. H. Chen. “Stability of carotenoids and vitamin A during storage of carrot juice.” Food Chemistry 57, no. 4 (1996): 497-503.|