When most of us think of carrots, we think of them as a crunchy yet healthy snack. But carrots are more than just a vehicle for a dip or a warming bowl of soup — they are a true health powerhouse, packed full of beta carotene, vitamins A and C, and potassium to start. When turned into carrot juice, you can reap the benefits of this great vegetable on the go.
Carrots can be cooked or eaten raw, but one method gaining popularity is in juice form. With no need for added calories, carrot juice is not only sweet, but it’s low calorie (a mere 48 calories in the recommended serving size of 4 oz. per day) and refreshing.
So what does carrot juice do for you? Here are just a few of the many health benefits of this orange elixir.
We’ve all grown up knowing that carrots are good for your eyesight. But why? Beta carotene is one of the most potent nutrients in carrots. In fact, the word carotene comes from the Latin word for carrot. The substance that gives your carrots their sunset hue can also save your eyesight. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body.
Beta carotene (along with other carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin) has been shown in studies to significantly reduce the occurrence of age-related macular degeneration by up to 40%! Considering that macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in the developed world with no known cure, prevention is extremely important.
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin that benefits the eyes in many ways. However, beta carotene vitamin A are two nutrients that are much better for your body when included through your diet rather than in supplement form. So drink up!
Beta carotene isn’t just good for your eyes. This powerhouse antioxidant also protects against ultraviolet light, according to a study conducted by the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. Its potent antioxidants can help prevent premature aging, sun damage, and skin cancer. Research is ongoing, though; the same study showed that beta carotene might have a pro-oxidant (encouraging cancerous cells by oxygenating them) effect as well.
Beyond beta carotene, carrot juice is high in vitamin C, which is known to boost collagen production. More collagen results in plumper, more elastic skin, which we all strive for as the clock marches on.
Be careful, though; there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Drinking too much carrot juice can result in carotenemia, where too much beta carotene in the blood can give skin a yellowish hue. Stick to small quantities daily.
Most vegetables are encouraged when it comes to heart health, but carrots, in particular, have several different nutrients that benefit heart health. With relatively high potassium levels and healthy nitrates, carrots have been shown to lower blood pressure. Potassium is an essential mineral that the body doesn’t produce on its own. Consuming a diet rich in potassium leads to a healthy heart, nerves, digestion, and muscle function. If you’ve ever had a charley horse, you know how painful low potassium levels can be.
Those magical vitamins A, C, and E also benefit your heart by fighting free radicals that can cause heart disease. These vitamins help to reduce LDL cholesterol and prevent arteries from hardening due to plaque buildup. Although carrot juice contains less fiber than in its original form, it still offers some benefit from fiber.
Carrot juice also contains more than a quarter of your daily requirement of vitamin K. This compound, which isn’t often found in supplements, is necessary for healthy blood clotting. If you have any clotting syndromes such as hemophilia, consult your doctor about any dietary changes you might consider.
Last but not least, carrot juice can help keep your immune system strong. Things like cold and flu may be down this year due to social distancing and mask-wearing, but a boosted immune system is always something to strive for. Carrot juice is rich in vitamin C, a known immunity booster, and vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 deficiency is very common, especially in older women. Without enough of it, especially through diet, your body doesn’t produce enough lymphocytes or white blood cells, which are the foot soldiers of your immune system. A vitamin B6 deficiency can manifest as low energy, seizures, moodiness, skin rashes, and more.
Is carrot juice a miracle drink? No, but it’s close. Add it to a smoothie or take it as a wellness shot to boost low glycemic energy, immunity-boosting, and preventative care. No matter how you juice them, carrots are more powerful than you realize.
Impressed that carrot juice can pack so many beneficial vitamins and minerals into one small cup? Find out more about the six essential nutrients your body needs and where to find them in your kitchen here.
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