What are the health benefits of carrots?

Carrots are often thought of as the ultimate health food. Generations of parents have told their children: “Eat your carrots, they are good for you,” or “Carrots will help you see in the dark.”

Fast facts on carrots:

Here are some key points about carrots. More detail is in the main article.

  • Carrots were first grown in Asia, and they were not orange.
  • Carrots contain antioxidants, which may protect against cancer.
  • While they may not help you see in the dark, the vitamin A in carrots helps prevent vision loss.
  • Carrots are available all year round and can be used in savory dishes, cakes, and juices.

Benefits

Carrots contain vitamin A

Carrots contain vitamin A, antioxidants, and other nutrients.

Evidence suggests that eating more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, can help reduce the risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Carrots are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Here are some ways in which carrots might be healthful.

Cancer

A variety of dietary carotenoids have been shown to have anti-cancer effects, due to their antioxidant power in reducing free radicals in the body.

Studies have found a possible link between diets rich in carotenoids and a lower risk of prostate cancer, but more evidence is needed to confirm whether the link is causal.

Lung Cancer

Carrots contain beta-carotene. Past studies have concluded that beta-carotene supplementation may reduce the risk of lung cancer.

A meta-analysis published in 2008 found that people with a high intake of a variety of carotenoids had a 21 percent lower risk of lung cancer, after adjusting for smoking, compared with those who did not.

The same pattern was not true for any individual carotenoid, such as beta-carotenoid. Among smokers, beta-carotene supplementation may increase the risk of lung cancer.

Colorectal Cancer

Consuming more beta-carotene may reduce the risk of colon cancer, according to researchers who studied 893 people in Japan.

Leukemia

A 2011 study found that carrot juice extract could kill leukemia cells and inhibit their progression.

Vision

Can carrots help you see in the dark? In a way, yes.

Carrots contain vitamin A. A vitamin A deficiency can lead to xerophthalmia, a progressive eye disease that can damage normal vision and result in night blindness, or the inability to see in low light or darkness.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a lack of vitamin A is one of the main preventable causes of blindness in children.

Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States (U.S.), but eating carrots contributes to vitamin A intake and helps prevent a deficiency. So, in a way, carrots do help you see in the dark.

However, most people are unlikely to experience any significant positive changes in their vision from eating carrots, unless they already lack vitamin A.

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