“What’s Up, Doc?” When you eat carrots every day, you’ll see a lot of positive benefits – and you can keep annoying the Elmer Fudds in your life.
Let’s look at the humble, historical, healthy, and super tasty carrot. Orange carrots have been around since the 16th and 17th centuries.
Dutch growers selectively bred for sweetness and crunchy texture. They are a long way from the bitter, woody roots first cultivated near modern day Afghanistan.
Fun fact – carrots come in purple, red, yellow, and white! They are all good for you.
What happens when you eat a carrot a day? A carrot a day may keep the cancer away!
Good for You
Carrots have been long known as diet food. Rabbit food has a negative meaning, but Bugs Bunny knew something about good food!
An entire cup of chopped carrots contains only 52 calories. In that cup, you’ll get all the vitamin A you need for the day, thanks to the beta-carotene that gives carrots their orange color.
You’ll also get a variety of B vitamins, lots of fiber, and a handful of other vitamins and minerals.
Good for Your Eye Sight
Carrots are good for your eyes. Turns out this old wife’s tale is true! Turns out that all that beta-carotene can help prevent vision loss.
Vitamin A deficiency is one of the main preventable causes of childhood blindness. Eating carrots can help stave off a vitamin A deficiency that leads to night blindness.
Carrots are also a great source of anti-oxidants, including lutein. Lutein is an important part of eye health.
Carrots are a great source of vitamin C. This vitamin is a huge part of your immune system and since it is water soluble, your body needs to replace it regularly.
Before flu season hits, eat your carrots to reduce the severity and length of a cold.
You can get the same effect from oranges, but carrots come with fewer calories and lots more fiber!
One 2011 study links carrot juice extract to inhibiting the progression of leukemia. Researchers think that polyacetylenes are the active agent that kills off certain types of leukemia cells.
You can’t cure leukemia with carrot juice, but a carrot a day can’t hurt. Especially when you consider all the other good effects!
The humble carrot contains lots of anti-oxidants and phytochemicals (chemicals produced by plants) that may help regulate blood sugar. The glycemic index of carrots is only about 39 for a raw carrot. That means you won’t spike your blood sugar while you crunch of the sweet goodness of a carrot!
Even if you are not diabetic, eating lower on the glycemic index is healthier for you and keeps your blood sugar level.
Bugs Bunny had a negative effect on other characters blood pressure, but after eating all those carrots, his was probably just fine.
Turns out that eating a fiber-rich diet high in potassium is great for reducing high blood pressure and heart disease.
Guess what the humble carrot has a lot of! Fiber and potassium. In addition, carrots may be able to help lower cholesterol levels. Add carrots to your diet and your heart will thank you.
Yup – a rabbit diet food! Carrots make you feel full, don’t spike your blood sugar, and are a great source of vitamins. They are full of fiber, so you feel full longer and you may eat less at the next meal. On top of that, your bowels really like fiber and you’ll be more regular.
If you are restricting sugar, a nice carrot may help your sweet tooth not bug you for dessert.
And now for the Big C.
There is lots of evidence that eating a diet high in anti-oxidants can help prevent cancer. First a little science on the importance of anti-oxidants.
Normal metabolism, exposures to x-rays, ozone, cigarette smoke, pollution and industrial chemicals create free radicals. Free radicals like to steal electrons from cells, DNA, and proteins.
When the cells or DNA lose an electron, they can’t function correctly. Anti-oxidants give the free radicals electrons, so they can’t cause as much damage.
A damaged cell is susceptible to cancer-causing agents. Eating carrots may be able to help stop several different types of cancer.
Since lung cancer is strongly associated with smoking and smoking creates free radicals, carrots may help smokers. A 2008 study found that people who eat a lot of carotenoids have a lowed risk of lung cancer than those who don’t.
You don’t want to eat just orange carrots to get the benefit. Carrots of all colors have slightly different types of carotenoids.
All that beta-carotene has also been shown to help protect against prostate cancer, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer and breast cancer. Plus, all the fiber can help keep the colon clean and lower cancer risk that way.
With all the evidence that carrots might protect you from cancer, why not eat your daily cup of carrots?
But, can you get too much of a good thing? Turns out you can!
Turns out that eating too many carrots can overload your system with beta-carotene. If you have enough, your palms, soles, and ears may turn yellow. It won’t hurt you and it will fade gradually.
Most of the time, carotenemia only affects infants who overdo the pureed carrots. You would have to overdo carrots every day for months in order to turn yellow, so don’t let carotenemia stop you from eating all carrots.
Fiber is good. Too much fiber can both lead to constipation and loose stools. If you eat too much fiber, your bowels may become loose as they adjust to the increased fiber. However, not drinking enough water can lead to constipation with all the increased fiber.
Since carrots are filled with fiber, suddenly adding a lot of carrots to your diet can have an adverse effect on your bowels.
Carrots are an amazing food. From humble beginnings, carrots have become a great source of nutrition and have some amazing health benefits.
They help with weight loss, eye sight, boost your immune system, and may even help you guard against cancer. The only two side effects require you to eat more carrots than Bugs has in his 80-year career.
With all that going for carrots, take time to enjoy a cup of carrots a day. Your body will thank you for it! Carrots are not just for rabbits anymore!