Winter is the perfect time to enjoy root vegetables such as carrots, and there are good reasons why it’s one of the most popular and common vegetables in stores. The average American consumed over 13 pounds of them in 2019, with the country producing 1.5 million tonnes in total (85% of which are grown here in California). Second only to potatoes in terms of worldwide popularity, carrots are crunchy, tasty, and a nutritional powerhouse – they’re often claimed to be the perfect health food.
First grown in Afghanistan around 900 AD, the vegetable we know and love today is domesticated form of the wild carrot, Daucus carota, native to Europe and Asia. The domestic carrot has been selectively bred for its greatly enlarged, more palatable, less woody-textured taproot, and while usually orange in color, purple, black, red, white, and yellow carrots exist too. They were the first vegetable to be commercially canned, and are unusual in that cooking makes them better for you than eating raw (cooking carrots releases more beta-carotene).
Carrots are actually around 85-90% water; as such, they contain very little fat and protein, and only 30 calories or so. Different varieties of carrot vary in sweetness, but an average serving (100 grams) contains over 4.5 grams of sugar, in the form of sucrose and glucose. Nonetheless, they rank low on the glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar after a meal, with a GI ranging from 16 to 60 — lowest for raw carrots, a little higher for cooked ones, and highest for puréed.
They are also a relatively good source of fiber, with one medium-sized carrot (61 grams) providing 2 grams. Pectin is the main form of soluble fiber, which lowers blood sugar levels by slowing down your digestion of sugar and starch. Soluble fibre also feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut, while the insoluble fiber found in carrots – cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin – reduce the risk of constipation and promote regular bowel movements
Carrots are a great source of important vitamins and minerals, with just a half-cup providing 9% of your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin K, 8% of potassium, 5% of vitamin C, and 2% of calcium and iron. They are also rich in carotenoids, which may help protect against prostate, colon, and stomach cancers. But the main reason carrots are so good for you lies in another antioxidant – beta-carotene.
This compound gives orange carrots their bright, distinctive hue, and is one which your body converts into vitamin A. Carrots have an abundance of beta-carotene – that half-cup serving will yield around ¾ of your RDI of vitamin A. An old wives tales has it that eating carrots can help you see in the dark, and it’s true to an extent – beta-carotene does keep your eyes healthy. It helps protect eyes from sun damage, and lowers the chances of cataracts. Low vitamin A levels are also known to contribute to night blindness.
Our carrots are USDA certified organic, and we also have canned for those looking for the ultimate in convenience (also, these chips are incredibly moreish). A healthy, balanced diet required a few cornerstone vegetables; add some to your cart today, and make carrots yours.