Have you been eating carrots regularly because it helps improve your eyesight? Or have you been drinking carrot juice daily to get that glowing, radiant skin?
While all of this may be true, we all know that too much of anything is not good. Much the same way, eating carrots in plenty is not advisable because of their richness in beta carotene.
Beta carotene is a pigment found in plants that gives them their orange and yellow color. Apart from carrots, foods rich in beta carotene include sweet potatoes, dark green leafy vegetables – spinach, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, beet greens, turnip greens, swiss chard, and pak choi.
Here are a few side effects of adding too many carrots to your diet.
Side Effects Of Too Many Carrots
Carotenemia is a clinical condition characterized by yellow pigmentation of the skin (xanthoderma) and increased beta-carotene levels in the blood. Carotenemia is caused due to the excessive intake of carrots, pumpkins, and/or other yellow and green vegetables and citrus fruits. Carotenemia can occur to anyone irrespective of their age. However, it is very common in young children who are fed large amounts of commercial baby food preparations. People suffering from carotenemia should be advised what foods contain carotene and they should not overeat these foods.1
2. Vitamin A Block
Research has proved that excessive beta carotene can have opposite reactions in the body. They block some actions of vitamin A which is important to human vision, bone and skin health, and metabolism and immune function. Excessive beta carotene partially blocks the vitamin from metabolizing in the body.2
Benefits Of Carrots
Besides these side effects, carrots are generally healthy for the body. Some of the benefits of adding carrots to your diet in sufficient amounts include the following:3
- Improves eyesight
- Prevents heart diseases
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Maintains good digestive health
- Boosts immune system
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Prevents macular degeneration (a common eye disease of the elderly that impairs the function of the macula)
- Reduces risk of cancer and stroke
What Is The Recommended Intake
It is important to have a variety of vegetables in your diet. A standard serve of vegetables is about 75 grams, of which cooked green or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, carrots, or pumpkin) should be about half a cup along with other vegetables.4
Raw Or Cooked Carrots?
Both forms of carrots are good for the body. However, studies have shown that the availability of beta carotene is higher in cooked carrots than raw ones.5
The next time you think of adding carrots to your diet, don’t forget to use these healthy, delicious recipes.
1. Carrot Soup
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 stalk chopped celery
- 1 tsp thyme/parsley
- 5 cups chopped carrots
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat the vegetable oil in a pan.
- Add the chopped onions and celery. Cook for 4–6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are softened.
- Add garlic and thyme/parsley. Keep stirring and cook them until fragrant.
- Stir in the carrots. Next, add water and the vegetable broth and bring this to simmer over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the ingredients are tender for about 30 minutes.
- Puree the soup in a blender until smooth.
- Add salt and pepper and serve hot.
2. Zucchini and carrot coleslaw
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- ¼ cup low fat creamy salad dressing
- 1 tsp white sugar
- Salt and ground pepper to taste
- Place the zucchini in a colander and let it drain thoroughly, for about 30 minutes.
- Toss with carrots in a large salad bowl; stir in creamy salad dressing and sugar.
- Chill the coleslaw for an hour to blend flavors, stir again, and season with salt and black pepper.
3. Carrot souffle
- 2 pounds chopped carrots
- ½ cup melted butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 beaten eggs
- 1 tsp confectioners sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 175°C.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the carrots and cook until tender for about 15 minutes. Drain and mash them.
- To the carrots add melted butter, white sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, and eggs.
- Mix well and transfer to a 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Carrots are healthy when added to the diet in sufficient amounts with other vegetables. An optimum amount of carrots shouldn’t be a threat to health.
|↑1||Carotenaemia. Dermnet New Zealand.|
|↑2||Researchers Find Potential ‘Dark Side’ to Diets High in Beta-Carotene. The Ohio State University.|
|↑3||da Silva Dias, João Carlos. “Nutritional and health benefits of carrots and their seed extracts.” Food and Nutrition Sciences 5, no. 22 (2014): 2147.|
|↑4||Vegetables and Legumes / Beans. National Health And Medical Research Council, Australian Government.|
|↑5||Livny, Orly, Ram Reifen, Itzhak Levy, Zecharia Madar, Richard Faulks, Sue Southon, and Betty Schwartz. “β-carotene bioavailability from differently processed carrot meals in human ileostomy volunteers.” European journal of nutrition 42, no. 6 (2003): 338-345.|