The Disease-Fighting Power of Carrots and Carrot Juice
Carrots offer a multitude of health benefits, many of which can be reaped by consuming them in the form of fresh juice. Due to their potent antioxidant properties, carrots are one of the most popular vegetables used in the fight against cancer and other chronic diseases. In order to maximize the power of carrots and carrot juice, there are certain things you should know before including them in your diet.
What Is the Nutritional Value of Carrots and Carrot Juice?
Carrots and carrot juice house exceptionally high levels of the powerful phytonutrient antioxidant beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. You can obtain over 300 percent of the daily-recommended intake of vitamin A by eating two small carrots or drinking 3 ounces of fresh carrot juice. Carrots and carrot juice also contain large amounts of other essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, and thiamin. In addition, they are rich in insoluble and soluble dietary fiber and low in calories, sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat.
What Are the Health Benefits of Carrots and Carrot Juice?
The beta-carotene contained in carrots and carrot juice protects the body from damaging chemicals called free radicals. Free radicals are naturally produced during everyday metabolism but greatly increased in the presence of disease. Due to its effects on free radicals, beta-carotene has been shown to protect against heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and many forms of cancer. Carrots and carrot juice also have high concentrations of vitamin C (a water-soluble antioxidant), which promotes proper functioning of the body's immune system.
How Should Carrots and Carrot Juice Be Consumed for Disease Prevention?
You can take full advantage of the disease-fighting benefits of carrots by consuming 1-2 servings each day in whole form (1-2 small carrots) or in the form of fresh juice (8-12 ounces). To obtain adequate amounts of both insoluble and soluble dietary fiber, it's best to regularly consume a combination of whole carrots and carrot juice. One whole carrot contains about 30-35 calories while one cup of carrot juice houses approximately 90 calories. Since carrots are exceptionally sweet, carrot juice can stand alone but it also pairs well with other nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits including kale, broccoli, ginger, tomato, mango, and apple. Frozen carrots are a healthy and economical alternative to fresh carrots. In fact, they are equal to their fresh counterparts when it comes to most nutrients, including vitamin C, and may even be higher in beta-carotene.
Are There Any Side Effects of Consuming Excess Carrots or Carrot Juice?
Regular consumption of carrots is for the most part safe. However, drinking carrot juice in excess (more than 24 ounces per day) may cause carotenoderma, which is a temporary yellow or orange coloration of the skin. Since carrots contain relatively high amounts of natural sugar, drinking too much carrot juice can also lead to elevated blood sugar levels and tooth decay.
The carrot is often referred to as the king of vegetables. In addition to being extremely rich in disease-fighting nutrients, carrots are low in cost, extremely versatile, and easy to include in everyday meals and beverages.