Are carrots healthy?

September 6, 2018

Fresh locally grown carrots from Wild Onion Farms for sale during the Midtown Farmers Market at North Hills in Raleigh on June 25, 2011.

Carrots carry quite a punch.

The root vegetable has “lots of beta carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin B and Vitamin C, all very good for us,” said Jack Algiere, farm director at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

And you’ll snag about 15-percent of your daily fiber need in just one cup of raw carrots.

But some low-carb diet plans nix the root veggie because of its sugar content.

Sure, they have more sugar than, say, broccoli, but Consumer Reports health experts say since it’s naturally occurring sugar, don’t worry about it. “That’s an important distinction to make,” Consumer Reports investigative food editor Jesse Hirsch said. “It’s not going to have the same effect as drinking a can of soda for instance.” Carrots have a lot of health benefits: Studies show they can reduce cholesterol, may help lower blood pressure and even prevent stroke.

Vitamin A and beta carotene are also great for healthy eyes; they won’t fix your eyesight, but they’ll protect your cornea and reduce the risk of infection.

To maximize the benefits, steam, sauté or roast carrots so that your body can absorb the nutrients more easily.

Avoid boiling them, though. That lets nutrients leach out. If you prefer boiled carrots, nutrition experts recommend tossing them in the water whole to keep the most nutrients. Don’t ditch carrot tops. They’re packed with nutrients, too.

“They are not great to eat as a salad, fresh but they can be cooked down and made into great dips,” Hirsch said So crunch away. Carrots get the green light on being good for you.

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