Carrots are one of the most resourceful and popular vegetables and are among the most important cultivated plants in the world.
There is a very good reason for this. Carrots are consumed by all cultures in various forms, including raw, juiced, steamed, cooked, boiled and in other endless variations.
They are not only sweet, fresh and delicious, but have a very wide array of health benefits as well.
Although people in the western world commonly associate carrots with their signature bright orange color, they can also be found in various other colors and shades such as red, yellow, purple or white.
Carrots owe their orange color to the antioxidant beta-carotene. The purple carrots are abundant in anthocyanin and the red ones have large amounts of lycopene.
The reason why carrots have been proclaimed as one of the top superfoods is the amount of carotenoids they contain. Beta-carotene is the most popular antioxidants found in carrots. It is a precursor of vitamin A and as such is essential for the health and proper functioning of your immune system, for eye and skin protection, as well as for fighting the damage from free radicals in your body which can cause serious chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Getting into the habit of drinking fresh carrot juice every day can have a wonderful effect on your overall health and wellbeing.
It is a great way to consume a concentrated dose of the valuable nutrition these vegetables provide.
Adding a cup of carrot juice to your daily regimen can help improve your eyesight, skin, your blood sugar levels, the health of your blood as well as help boost your brain function and your immune system.
Carrot juice also helps relieve congestion or inflammation and flushes your kidneys. It is also known to be a great natural remedy against leukemia, and for lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other serious diseases.
Drinking a single glass of carrot juice a day can literally keep the doctor away.
Carrot juice or whole carrots – that is the question
If you are wondering whether it is better to munch on the carrots or drink carrot juice, here are some pointers which can help make your decision:
One cup of juice is made up of three to six whole carrots. This means that a single cup contains a concentrate of all those healthy nutrients and antioxidants you need for the day.
By eating three large-sized carrots you will get the same amount of nutrients and a little bit more natural fiber which is lost from the juicing.
Still, a cup of carrot juice has as much healthy fiber as that found in one large carrot – around 2 grams. This is about 8% of the daily recommended intake of fiber for women and about 5% of the fiber intake recommended for men.
Dietary fiber is essential not only to keep you regular and to prevent constipation but also for lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Plus, it facilitates weight loss and better weight management.
A single cup of carrot juice contains a stunning 45,133 IU of vitamin A. This provides more than 1,000% of the daily recommended dietary intake. The amount of vitamin A in one whole carrot will provide you with 400% of the daily recommended intake.
Since the vitamin A in carrots is in the form of carotenoids it cannot build up to toxic levels. In fact, your body will turn the alpha and beta-carotene antioxidants into a form of Vitamin A which is essential for your eyesight and for your immune system.
The vitamin K which you will intake when you drink a glass of carrot juice or eat a whole carrot is crucial for your liver. It uses the vitamin K to allow your blood to clot which helps stop the internal or external bleeding. It also helps increase bone density and improves the absorption of calcium by your body.
A cup of carrot juice has 36.6 µG of vitamin K which is about one third of the recommended daily intake, and a whole large carrot has 9.5 µG which amounts to 8% of the daily requirement of vitamin K.
Carrot juice nutrition facts and figures
Apart from being one of the best natural sources of vitamin A, carrots also provide significant amounts of vitamins C, K, D, and E, along with minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Their high fiber content makes them highly nutritious as well as cleansing.
Here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup of carrot juice (128g) and their percentage of the daily recommended intake:
Vitamin A – 428% (21383 IU)
Vitamin K – 21% (16.9 µG)
Vitamin C – 13% (7.6 mg)
Vitamin B6 – 9% (0.2 mg)
Thiamin – 6% (0.1 mg)
Niacin – 6% (1.3 mg)
Folate – 6% (24.3 µG)
Riboflavin – 4% (0.1mg)
Calcium – 4% (42.2 mg)
Sodium – 4% (88.3 mg)
Iron – 2% (0.4 mg)
Zinc – 2% (0.3 mg)
Magnesium – 4% (15.4 mg)
Copper – 3% (0.1 mg)
Potassium – 4% (88.3 mg)
Manganese – 9% (0.2 mg)
The calories in one cup of fresh carrot juice are 52.5 kcal
Protein: 1.2 g
Total fat: 0.3 g
Carbohydrate” 12.5 g
Omega-3 fatty acids 2.6 mg
Omega-6 fatty acids 147 mg
Dietary fiber 3.6 g
Sugars 6.1 g
How carrot juice can benefit your health – 15 reasons to drink carrot juice every day
A cup of carrot juice a day can hugely improve your health and wellbeing.
Here are some of the leading benefits of adding this healthy drink to your daily diet:
- It will help protect your eyesight and eye health
The benefit for your eyesight from consuming carrot juice is due to the beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein it contains. The beta-carotene is transformed into vitamin A after being absorbed by the digestive system.
It is essential for the protection of your eyes from a wide range of illnesses and disorders including macular degeneration and night blindness or permanent blindness. One cup of this juice will provide you with 1000% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A.
At the same time, the lutein and the zeaxanthin are known to reduce age-related vision loss.
- It is an excellent natural source of antioxidants
The carotenoids in carrots are potent antioxidants which help your body defend itself from serious temporary and chronic illnesses caused by viruses, inflammation, harmful bacteria and free radical damage.
Carrot juice is an excellent source of various antioxidants including beta-carotene, vitamin C, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, and others. It is one of the best natural sources of beta-carotene and carotenoid phytochemicals which are known to help fight inflammation and cell mutation as well as DNA damage associated with cancer.
- A lower risk of developing heart disease or suffering a stroke
Daily consumption of one cup of carrot juice can reduce the risk of developing heart disease or suffering a stroke, especially in women. Studies show that carrot juice can help improve heart health by lowering the oxidative stress and improving the defense of your body against various types of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of premature death in the US.
Also, carrots help lower bad cholesterol levels and boost the production of bile essential for the digestion of fat. This helps your digestive system to absorb nutrition properly and helps lower cholesterol which is one of the leading factors for developing heart disease.
Another study found that an increased intake of carrots can seriously lower the risk of suffering a heart attack.
- It can protect you against cancer
There is significant scientific evidence that the consumption of high levels of carotenoids can help protect you from cancer. Since a cup of delicious carrot juice has a very high dosage of carotenoids what better way to reduce the risk of developing cancer?
A study has found that beta-carotene consumption reduced the risk of several types of cancer especially lung cancer by over 40%.
Another research has found that the fiber in carrots can help decrease the risk of colon cancer by 24% if they are consumed on a regular basis.
- Your oral health will improve
One glass of fresh carrot juice a day will ensure that you intake nutrients which are essential for your immune system. This means that your body will be better prepared to fight all toxins and bacteria which enter through your mouth and thrive in your mouth.
The minerals in carrots have an antibacterial effect which helps prevent tooth cavities and decay. The fiber in carrots also helps flush away harmful bacteria and ensures better digestion of the vital nutrients for your immune system.
- Your skin health will improve and so will wound healing
Beta-carotene is vital for the faster and proper healing of any kind of wound – internal or external. It helps stop the bleeding and promote faster healing. This potent antioxidant is also known to fight skin inflammations of all kinds.
The vitamin C in your carrot juice also helps aid the collagen production which is essential for maintaining skin elasticity. And the vitamin A which is abundant in carrot juice helps attack free radicals to prevent the aging of the skin, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, pigmentation and other age-related skin problems.
Plus, vitamin A helps protect the skin from the harmful sun rays and increases its immunity to sunburn.
The potassium in carrots is a great nutrient for keeping your skin hydrated.
So, that cup of carrot juice will promote your skin health and make it glow.
- A healthier brain and improved cognitive function
Carrot juice can be very beneficial for your brain. The antioxidants in it help lower the oxidative stress occurring in the brain which can lead to a weakened nerve signaling ability. Carrot juice can help prevent debilitating brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and can boost your memory and reduce or prevent cognitive decline.
- Lower blood pressure
Since your daily dose of carrot juice is an excellent source of potassium which helps relax the tension in the arteries and other blood vessels, you will ensure that your blood is circulating properly. This will help boost the functioning of all organs and reduce the stress on the heart and cardiovascular system.
The coumarin in carrots also helps lower blood pressure. This means that you will be better protected from heart attacks, atherosclerosis and strokes if you drink a cup of that refreshing apple juice every day.
The recommendation for protection from heart disease and for lowering blood pressure by the American Heart Association is to eat a fiber-rich diet, a greater intake of potassium and a lowered intake of sodium. Carrots are excellent resources of these recommended nutrients.
- It will boost your immune system
The antiseptic and antibacterial features of the nutrients contained in carrot juice will help improve your immune system. This type of juice is a great source of vitamin C which is essential for the proper activity of white blood cells – one of the vital elements of the human immune system. This essential vitamin can also relieve the symptoms and reduce the severity of a cold.
- Your digestion will improve
The significant amount of dietary fiber in carrots will ensure that your digestive system functions properly. It helps increase the production of bile and promotes better digestion of the nutrients which are then absorbed by the body.
It also helps keep your peristaltic motion regular, so you can say goodbye to constipation once you start consuming carrot juice on a daily basis. This will also help protect you from colon cancer and other serious diseases of the stomach and the colon. Carrot juice can also reduce the risk of gastric ulcers and other digestive disorders.
- Your blood sugar levels will be regulated
The carotenoids in carrot juice help reduce insulin resistance and thus help regulate the blood sugar. This can help people suffering from diabetes lead a normal and healthy life. These antioxidants also help regulate the glucose and insulin being used and metabolized by the body.
- Your hair will benefit too
The vitamins in carrot juice will help make your hair thicker, shinier and stronger, plus they will stimulate hair growth. Vitamins C and E also will help prevent premature graying of your hair.
- It has a cleansing effect
Not only will the abundant amounts of vitamin A in your carrot juice help improve the absorption of nutrients by your digestive system, but it also promotes the flushing of the liver from the accumulated bile and fat.
Plus, the fiber in carrots helps facilitate waste elimination and cleanses the colon. The powerful cleansing properties of carrots can help relieve acne and other conditions which are induced by the increased toxicity of the blood.
- It will help slow down the aging
The beta-carotene and other powerful antioxidants in carrot juice will help fight and reverse the cell damage and thus slow down the aging process of your body.
- It provides special benefits for women’s reproductive system
Carrots and carrot juice have been known to help relieve menstrual cramping and regulate heavy menstrual bleeding. During menopause, carrot juice can help relieve the hot flushes and manage other unpleasant menopausal symptoms.
Pregnant women are advised to drink carrot juice or eat carrots because it reduces the risk of miscarriages and fetal infections.
Carrot juice is also a diuretic, so it will help reduce the bloating which many women experience during their period or pregnancy.
Also, it is known to improve the quality of breast milk, so your baby will be healthier too!
A brief history of carrots
The first cultivated carrots grown by humans were purple or yellow in color. This was first done in the 10th century in the Middle East and Asia, where today’s Afghanistan is.
Prior to that, people in Asia and the Middle East ate a wide variety of wild carrots.
The taste of the original carrots was not as sweet as today’s orange carrots.
In the 16th and 17th century Dutch growers first developed and introduced the traditional orange colored and sweet tasting carrot as we know it today.
Nowadays there are two main types of carrots: Eastern Asiatic which are purple and Western carrots which are orange.
Tips on buying carrots
If you want to get the maximum health and nutritional benefits out of your carrots, you should opt for organic carrots. This is essential because root vegetables directly absorb any harmful pesticide and other toxins from the soil. This can be harmful to your health especially if you drink the highly concentrated juice made of carrots which have been treated with harmful chemicals and toxins.
So, go to your local farmers market when they are in season – in the spring and in the fall. Otherwise, you can still get organic carrots from your local supermarket during the rest of the year.
Avoid buying pre-washed baby carrots because they are usually washed with chlorine.
Since many of the essential nutrients are contained in the skin of the carrot, you don’t need to peel it. You can wash them thoroughly with a brush instead.
Once you have made your choice, you can go ahead and enjoy your carrots either raw, cooked or juiced.
Benefits of carrot juicing
Drinking carrot juice is the best way to get concentrated levels of all the superb nutrients found in carrots.
Drinking a cup a day can have a very wide variety of health benefits. It will help cleanse your system, boost your immunity and will improve not only your health but your appearance too. Your skin will be glowing, your hair will be shiny and your weight will drop as well.
Plus, carrot juice is absorbed much quicker by your body than whole carrots, so you will ensure a faster boost of nutrients absorbed and used by your body.
Are there dangers of drinking too much carrot juice?
Like with just about anything, there are dangers of overindulging with unhealthy amounts of carrot juice for a length period including:
- Yellowing skin due to overconsumption of carotenoids.
- Potential toxicity with vitamin A – a cup of carrot juice provides your body with 1,000% more than the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, so if you take additional vitamin A supplements, you could suffer from vitamin A toxicity. The vitamin A produced by the beta-carotene in the carrots itself cannot cause such toxicity.
- People with kidney disease should be careful with the amounts of carrot juice they drink due to the large amounts of potassium in it.
So, drink one cup of carrot juice a day to stay safe and for maximum benefit. Also, remember to add other vegetable and fruit juices to your diet in order to provide your body with other essential nutrients too.
Easy and delicious carrot juice recipes
You can use a juicer or blender to make your daily cup of carrot juice.
Here are the simple steps to take:
- Wash your carrots meticulously or wash and then peel them and cut them into small pieces.
- Place them in your blender along with any other ingredients of your choice and blend them until smooth. You can add some water, apple juice or other to make the blending easier.
- Use a strainer to strain out any large fibrous bits. If you prefer, you can leave them in your juice for some extra added fiber.
- You can dilute the juice with some water to get a larger quantity.
- Consume it right away for the best effect.
If you get tired of drinking pure carrot juice every day here are some mixes which you can try out one of the following mixed fresh juices:
Refreshing carrot juice
- 6 carrots
- A piece of ginger root
- 1 orange
- 1 cucumber
Energizing morning healthy juice
- 4 large carrots
- 1 cup of fresh spinach
- 4 kale stalks
- 1 cucumber
- 1 lemon
For a delicious vitamin boosting juice:
- 3 large carrots
- Half an inch of peeled ginger root
- 2 peeled granny smith apples
- 2 passion fruits with the seeds scooped out
For an excellent summer refreshing treat:
- 4 large carrots
- 2 cups of pineapple
- A piece of ginger root
For a great skin cleansing juice:
- 5 carrots
- A cup of spinach
- 2 celery stalks
- ½ lemon