This bright orange root is one of the most widely consumed vegetables in the world. Versatile, sweet, and nutritious, it’s easily the star ingredient of pretty much everything, from snacks to salads to soups to even dessert. It’s not just low in calories and sodium, but also comes packed with generous helpings of antioxidants and essential vitamins – each being powerful enough to protect you from the damaging effects of environmental stressors.
Yes, carrots may indeed be the perfect vegetable we all need to stay on top of the health game. Each time you eat a carrot, you are one step closer to achieving:
1. Healthy Vision
Were you one of those kids who hated eating up their vegetables including their carrots? Then you’ll probably remember your mother muttering something about how carrots are good for your eyesight. Turns out, that wasn’t just a thing she made up to get you to eat those orange bits.
The link between this crunchy orange vegetable and good eyesight is vitamin A. Your body makes vitamin A (also known as retinol) from the beta-carotene, a fat-soluble pigment that’s present in carrots. It is vitamin A that creates all those important pigments in the retina of your eye and helps your eyes adjust to changes in light.1 This is why eating carrots is so important for maintaining your vision and protecting your eyes from conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts, and night blindness.
2. Stronger Bones And Teeth
Including carrots in your daily diet can help you boost the health of your bones. How? Because all that vitamin A contained in carrots can aid in the development of osteoblasts, important bone-building cells that lay the foundation of new bone.2 In fact, a deficiency in vitamin A is found to interfere with proper calcium absorption and metabolism, another factor that leads to poor bone health.
Additionally, vitamin A can also boost the formation of dentin, a layer of hard material that grows just below the surface of the teeth to keep them strong and healthy.
3. An Immunity Boost
Down with the flu? Allow carrots to come to your rescue.
By increasing the body’s lymphocytic responses against disease-causing antigens and keeping the mucous membranes such as those of the mouth, nose, and lungs moist, the vitamin A in carrots boosts your immunity against infections and ailments. This way, not only does eating carrots make it difficult for germs to enter your body, but also fights off infection-causing microbes if they do find a way into our system.
4. Healthier, Youthful-Looking Skin
If you look up the ingredients used in all those fancy skin creams, you’ll find a mention of retinol. As mentioned earlier, retinol is another name for vitamin Am which, as you have guessed by now, is what makes carrots so awesome. By eating carrots, you’re infusing your body with retinol, which basically pushes your cells to grow faster, thus helping to bring fresh, youthful looking skin to the surface.3
Notice a lot of do-it-yourself acne-fighting carrot masks doing the rounds on Pinterest? That’s because all that retinol can help the skin cut down on sebum production.4 Plus, it can also smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, so it doubles up as an anti-aging cure as well!
5. Improved Cognitive Function
According to science, carrots can help keep your brain razor sharp. Retinoid compounds found in carrots have been shown to improve the communication pathways in the hippocampus, the cognitive center of our brain that dictates our awareness and learning.5 It is for this reason that researchers have observed significant learning disabilities in children deprived of sufficient retinoids due to malnourishment.6
6. A Reduced Risk Of Cancer
Carrots are a rich source of beta-carotene, a plant-based pigment that serves as raw material for your body to create vitamin A from. Beta-carotene also happens to be a powerful antioxidant. By protecting your cells from oxidative damage by harmful free radicals, it is proposed that this compound may have some anti-cancerous properties.7
There is no evidence that beta-carotene supplements may help prevent cancer, but some studies claim that naturally-acquired beta-carotene may keep cancer at bay. All the more reason for you to eat up those carrots!
|↑1||Mukherjee, Siddharth, Abhijit Date, Vandana Patravale, Hans Christian Korting, Alexander Roeder, and Günther Weindl. “Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety.” Clinical interventions in aging 1, no. 4 (2006): 327.|
|↑2||Park, Chan-Kyeong, Yoshiko Ishimi, Mineko Ohmura, Michio YAMAGUCHI, and Sachie IKEGAMI. “Vitamin A and carotenoids stimulate differentiation of mouse osteoblastic cells.” Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology 43, no. 3 (1997): 281-296.|
|↑3||Kafi, Reza, Heh Shin R. Kwak, Wendy E. Schumacher, Soyun Cho, Valerie N. Hanft, Ted A. Hamilton, Anya L. King et al. “Improvement of naturally aged skin with vitamin a (retinol).” Archives of Dermatology 143, no. 5 (2007): 606-612.|
|↑4||Vitamin A in Acne Vulgaris. National Center for Biotechnology Information.|
|↑5||Olson, Christopher R., and Claudio V. Mello. “Significance of vitamin A to brain function, behavior and learning.” Molecular nutrition & food research 54, no. 4 (2010): 489-495.|
|↑6||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.|
|↑7||Van Poppel, Geert, and R. Alexandra Goldbohm. “Epidemiologic evidence for beta-carotene and cancer prevention.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 62, no. 6 (1995): 1393S-1402S.|