At 30 calories and less than one gram of fat a pop, carrots can (and should!) be a mainstay in any healthy diet. And yes, they are absolutely loaded with eyesight-protecting Vitamin A, no matter which color you choose. Get more facts on this versatile root veggie below.
Serving size: 1 large carrot (about 8" long)
They're not just a low-cal snack. Making carrots a part of your diet can:
With all of those big boosts in mind, here's what you need to know about cooking, eating, and choosing kinds of carrots.
While any food can make you gain weight if you eat it in excess, it's pretty difficult to "overdo it" on produce — carrots included! Carrots are a key source of beta-carotene, the plant-based precursor to vitamin A, making them a great food for protecting eyesight and eye health overall. Plus, you don't have to go crazy on portion size: Just one large carrot has more than double your daily value! A carrot a day keeps the eye doctor away? Not out of the realm of possibility.
The peels contain about half of the antioxidants (known as phenolic compounds) in carrots, so you should try washing them thoroughly instead of peeling. However, if you're shredding carrots to eat later, removing the outer layer may help maintain color and increase shelf life.
They're all nutritious choices, but their nutrient composition will differ ever-so-slightly. Recent studies suggest that the flavonoids in black or purple carrots have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. Plus, the polyphenols, flavonoids, and carotenoids in black carrots may substantially defend against chronic disease.
Interestingly, some types of red carrots may provide more beta-carotene and large amounts of lycopene, nutrients linked with a reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers.