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As any rabbit knows, carrots are a fun, delicious and nutritious food. This root crop grows underground and is easily recognizable by its long, pointy shape and distinct orange color, although breeding programs have now developed varieties in shades of yellow, white, purple and red. Whether you serve them cooked, raw or as a part of other dishes, there are numerous benefits to including carrots in your diet.
Calories and Fat
A single serving of carrots is about 1 cup, 128 grams, and contains 52 calories. Carrots have no fat and no cholesterol. As a low-calorie, low-fat food, carrots are a good choice for people watching their weight. As a healthful and easily accessible vegetable, they can be used as one of the USDA's five recommended servings of vegetables per day.
- A single serving of carrots is about 1 cup, 128 grams, and contains 52 calories.
- As a low-calorie, low-fat food, carrots are a good choice for people watching their weight.
Carrots are mostly carbohydrates, with 12 grams per serving. Of the carbs in carrots, 4 grams are fiber. Carrots contain 1 gram of protein. They are also a low sodium food, containing 88 milligrams of this nutrient in 1 cup, an amount equal to only 4 percent of the recommended daily allowance.
- Carrots are mostly carbohydrates, with 12 grams per serving.
- They are also a low sodium food, containing 88 milligrams of this nutrient in 1 cup, an amount equal to only 4 percent of the recommended daily allowance.
Where carrots really shine is as a source of vitamin A. One cup of carrots provides a whopping 428 percent of the recommended daily intake. Other micronutrients found in carrots include:
- vitamin B-6
- vitamin E
- vitamin C
- vitamin K
A 1-cup serving of raw carrots also provides 4 grams of fiber. Adults need 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, but the National Institutes of Health reports that most get roughly half that amount 4.
- Where carrots really shine is as a source of vitamin A.
- One cup of carrots provides a whopping 428 percent of the recommended daily intake.
Nutritional Value of Carrots and Celery
The glycemic load of a food indicates how rapidly one serving will be converted into sugar by the body. The glycemic load of carrots is 3 out of a scale of 100, indicating that a single serving of carrots will have little effect on blood glucose levels. Low-glycemic-load foods are especially important for diabetics and those embarking on a weight loss plan that involves attention to the glycemic index, such as the Sout Beach diet.
The high levels of antioxidants in carrots, especially vitamin A, help promote good health overall and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Carrots' big claim to fame in the health department, however, is their effect on vision. The high doses of vitamin A, a type of carotenoid, work synergistically with other components in carrots to improve vision overall, but are especially beneficial to night vision. Another phytonutrient in carrots, falcarinol, has been linked to protection from colon cancer.
- The high levels of antioxidants in carrots, especially vitamin A, help promote good health overall and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
- The high doses of vitamin A, a type of carotenoid, work synergistically with other components in carrots to improve vision overall, but are especially beneficial to night vision.
Nutritional Value of Carrots and Celery
Are Carrots Good Snacks?
Can Carrots Raise Your Blood Sugar?
How Many Calories in Carrot Sticks?
Are Carrots Fattening?
How Much Beta-Carotene Is in Carrots?
What is the Vitamin K Content of Carrots?
The Carb Count in Carrots
Is Spinach a Fat Burner?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Carrots, Raw
- Agricultural Research Magazine: Carrots With Character
- Network For A Healthy California: Harvest of the Month: Carrots
- National Institutes of Health: MedlinePlus: Fiber
- Carrots, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
- Glycemic index for 60+ foods. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Updated 2020.
- Ahmad T, Cawood M, Iqbal Q, et al. Phytochemicals in and their health benefits-review article. Foods. 2019;8(9). doi:10.3390/foods8090424
- Potassium. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Guidelines. Updated June 3, 2020
- Vitamin A: Fact Sheets for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated 2020.
- Ishimiya M, Nakamura H, Kobayashi Y, et al. Tooth loss-related dietary patterns and cognitive impairment in an elderly Japanese population: The Nakajima study. PLoS ONE. 2018;13(3):e0194504. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0194504
- Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) or pollen fruit syndrome (PFS). American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
- Al Nasser Y, Albugeaey M. Carotenemia. StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020.
- Carrot. University of Illinois Extension, Watch Your Garden Grow. Updated 2020.
Bridget Coila specializes in health, nutrition, pregnancy, pet and parenting topics. Her articles have appeared in Oxygen, American Fitness and on various websites. Coila has a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology from the University of Cincinnati and more than 10 years of medical research experience.