Bugs Bunny loves carrots, and many people do too – it’s one of the most popular and versatile vegetables there is, raw, cooked or juiced. People have consumed them in their myriad of forms for centuries. While you probably know them as being good for your vision, carrots actually offer a wide range of benefits – and, they come in colors other than orange too, like purple, red, white and yellow.
They get their color from carotenoids, which are antioxidants, including beta carotene, that is a well-known precursor to vitamin A. This is what is responsible for many of carrot’s benefits, other nutrients play a key role too. Beta-carotene has been shown to support eye and skin health, boost immunity, and fight the damage of free radicals, which is known to be the root cause of many illnesses and diseases like heart disease and cancer.
While carrots are one of the highest ranked veggies when it comes to vitamin A, with 428% of the recommended value in just one cup, they also provide a good amount of vitamins C, D, E, and K, along with minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, as well as a high amount of fiber. They can truly support every single part of your body while containing very little in the way of calories.
While much of the research on carrots has traditionally focused on carotenoids and their important antioxidant benefits, more recent research has put the spotlight onto another category of phytonutrients that they contain known as polyacetylenes. In carrots, the most important polyacetylenes include falcarinol and falcarindiol. A number of recent studies have identified them as substances that can help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells, which means the rich carotenoid content of carrots not only helps prevent oxidative damage inside the body, but it may also help prevent oxidative damage to the carrot polyacetylenes as they are believed to work together in a synergistic way to provide the maximum amount of benefits.
Here’s a closer look at what the health benefits of carrots are.
9 Reasons To Have A Glass Of Carrot Juice
1. Supporting eye health
The most well-known benefit of carrots and carrot juice, is to support good eye health, thanks to its beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin content. In fact, without beta-carotene, a number of eye diseases can develop, such as macular degeneration or even blindness. A deficiency of vitamin A is the number one cause of preventable blindness across the globe. Both zeaxanthin and lutein help to lower your risk of vision loss related to age.
A study out of the Jules Stein Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles showed that women who consume carrots at least twice per week – in comparison to women who consume carrots less than once per week – have dramatically lower rates of glaucoma, while consuming geranyl acetate, which is one of the phytonutrients in carrot seeds, has also been repeatedly linked with a decreased risk of cataracts in animal studies.
The great news is that these benefits are derived from both eating carrots and consuming carrot juice.
2. Reducing the risk of heart disease
Drinking carrot juice can keep your heart healthy too, for multiple different reasons, thanks in part to vitamin A, which helps to prevent the onset of heart disease and stroke, particularly in women. Research has found that it helps by reducing oxidative stress while strengthening the body’s immune system. Carrots also impact good cholesterol directly, thanks to its potassium content, further decreasing the risk of heart problems.
Even beyond that, the vitamin C in carrots also benefits your heart’s health, as it lowers your risk of developing coronary heart disease as well as dying from it, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Vitamin K brings benefits to your heart too, as it activates a protein known as Gas6, a substance believed to promote cellular communication, including within the heart cells. It also helps control blood clotting, which can negatively affect the heart.
3. Protecting against cancer
Carrot juice serves as an anti-cancer agent. The high level of carotenoids in carrot juice is believed to reduce the instance of bladder, prostate, colon and breast cancers. One particular study from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Arizona in Tucson, found that women who had a history of breast cancer and drank a cup of fresh carrot juice each day for three weeks had increased levels of protective antioxidant carotenoids in the blood which reduced oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which help protect against the growth of cancer.
Studies have demonstrated that the antioxidants in carrots may be able to battle leukemia cells as well. In 2005, researchers at Newcastle University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development found that rats that were fed raw carrots had a one-third lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.
4. Boosting immunity
Juicing carrots provides one with a concentrated form of all the veggies essential nutrients to help boost the immune system. In addition to protecting against free radical damage, it protects against excess inflammation, harmful bacteria, and viruses.
This is due to a number of nutrients in carrots, including vitamin A. The skin and mucous membranes of the respiratory tract form barriers to prevent germs and viruses from entering the body – it’s vitamin A that helps to maintain those barriers by keeping the cells healthy and functioning properly as well as aiding in the growth of white cells. Without enough vitamin A, the immune system becomes weaker and is subject to a great risk of developing the disease.
5. Supporting bone health
Osteoporosis is a serious problem, primarily because of the increased risk of fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined. More than 80% of fractures in people over the age of 50 are due to osteoporosis, making it especially important to take care of your bone health. As carrot juice contains a good amount of vitamin K, it can help. Not only is it essential for the protein building process in the body, it aids in the binding of calcium, which in turn, leads to quicker healing of broken bones. The potassium in carrot juice helps too.
Studies have found that women who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to have less osteoporosis, and that includes carrots which offer vitamin K that’s part of the essential recipe for bone building.
6. Cleansing and detoxifying the liver
Consuming carrot juice regularly can help to release toxins from the liver – the blood stream can’t eliminate toxins and bile through the kidneys, they must be ejected through the skin. That’s where carrot juice can help. It aids the process while ensuring that harmful bile is removed from the body. This ensures that the liver will function as it should, preventing the accumulation of fat while aiding digestion as well. In the long run, it can also play a part in preventing weight gain and obesity.
7. Lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and supporting cognitive function
Both carrots and their juice help to support brain health in general. First, their powerful nutrients help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, thanks to carrot’s ability to reduce oxidative stress in the brain that can weaken nerve signaling capacity. They also help to improve memory and protect against other types of brain decline.
A plant compound in carrots known as luteolin, which is also found in olive oil, helps to lessen age-related inflammation in the brain, and strengthen memory. Researchers from the University of Illinois note that eating a healthy diet that includes foods that contain luteolin like carrots, results in better brain function.
8. Boosting metabolism
Carrot juice contains a high level of vitamin B complex, which helps to break down glucose, fat, and protein, as well as helping to build muscle and raise the metabolism. In addition, it aids in reducing stress and depression, both of which can lead to weight gain. The phosphorous in carrot juice serves to boost the body’s metabolic rate as well to ensure optimal use of energy in the body and reduces muscle pain after a workout.
9. Speeding wound healing
Beta carotene is something that’s crucial for wound healing, which is why carrots have been used as a poultice for healing all types of wounds for centuries. If you have any type of cut, infection or wound, drink more carrot juice and it will increase your ability to heal faster as well as to fight infection and reduce swelling or inflammation.
Carrot Juice Recipes
There are lots of great carrot juice recipes you can use to take advantage of all its great benefits and then some, including these.
Now you know that carrots are great for boosting the immune system, well, combined with onions, garlic, orange, and spices, it’s super potent. This recipe is the ultimate flu preventative, and surprisingly, the taste is amazing too, thanks to the natural sweetness of carrots and parsnips. You’ll get extra vitamin C from the orange, along with allicin from the onions and garlic, which is well known to fight off a variety of bacteria and viruses.
- 2 large carrots, halved,
- ½ small onion halved
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 parsnip, halved,
- 1 orange, peeled and halved
- Pinch ground turmeric
- Pinch fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- Handful of ice
- Wash and prep the veggies and the fruit.
- Add the carrots, onion, garlic, parsnip and orange to the juicer, and juice
- Stir in ground turmeric, black pepper, and water.
- Pour over ice and enjoy.
Caribbean Carrot Juice
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 2 pounds baby carrots
- 4 or more cups water
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger
- Add coconut milk and sugar in a medium saucepan.
- Cook on medium heat for about 35 or more minutes, stir often with a whisk you may have to reduce the heat if necessary to prevent any burns. Do not step away from the saucepan. When it has thickened remove and let cool before using. Proceed with carrots and replace the condensed milk with this.
- Blend carrot in a blender with about 3 to 4 cups of water.
- Sieve the carrot mixture using cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze really tight to extract all the carrot juice; save the juice and discard the rest.
- Rinse blender with water to remove any leftover carrots.
- Place carrot juice in the blender together with all the other ingredients. Pulse for about 30 seconds, until all ingredients are well blended; chill until ready to drink.
Indian-style Carrot Juice
- 6 to 8 carrots
- 3 tbsp raw honey, optional
- 2 glasses chilled water
- 1 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Wash carrots thoroughly and then chop them up into chunks that are about a half-inch thick.
- In a blender or juicer, add carrots.
- Add raw honey if desired, and chilled water.
- Juice, or blend until you obtain a juice with a smooth texture, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Strain by mashing pulp and then discard pulp or save to use in other recipes.
- Pour juice into 2 glasses and then add half a tablespoon of lemon juice to each. For an added nutritional boost, you can also add a half teaspoon of turmeric to each glass.
- Serve immediately.
Buying the Best Carrot Juice
While it’s always best to juice your own fresh, organic carrots, if you don’t have the time or a juicer to make your own, there are a number of good store-bought options as well, just remember fresh is generally the best.
Here’s what you should look for to ensure you get the highest quality and the most benefits:
100% juice doesn’t necessarily mean anything. If the label states 100% juice, that actually doesn’t mean very much as food manufacturers are allowed to note that on the label even if it contains added flavorings, preservatives or other additives. And if it does, you’re not going to be getting the healthy drink you think you are. “Flavorings” can contain all sorts of things, like MSG, and they don’t have to tell you that as they’ll say their formula is proprietary.
Citric acid and GMOs. Don’t be fooled into thinking that citric acid is okay either. Many juice companies use it to extend the shelf life of their product, but it doesn’t come from citrus fruits like lemons or oranges. Most manufacturers use GMO corn and sugar beets by synthetically fermenting the glucose from those crops in a lab. They make it a processed drink, and again, not really a healthy beverage.
What it should include. Things you want to see on the label include Non-GMO, NOT from Concentrate, 100% Pure Carrot Juice and organic certification. Ideally, it should be contained in a glass, which is non-toxic as well as BPA-free.
Growing Your Own Carrots for Juice
One of the best ways to have access to the freshest carrot juice possible is to grow your own. Carrots that are ideal for juicing tend to be higher in water content and lower in sugar than other types – high-sugar carrot varieties are often too sweet to use for juice. One of the best juicing varieties is the Danvers-type: Scarlet Keeper. The mature, topped carrots can be kept in storage without rotting for 4 to 5 months. Nantes varieties are also some of the easiest for home gardeners to grow, producing sweet (but not too sweet), crisp cylindrical carrots around 6″ to 7″ in length. They do better in rockier, heavier soils.
The Red Core Chantenay carrot is also very good. It’s shorter than other types and more stocky, with a rich, sweet, but not too sweet flavor and stores well too.
If you want to change things up a bit and have some fun with variation, you might want to try more unusually colored carrots. Atomic Red and Dragon carrots will produce a rich, red juice. Cosmic purple simply adds an attractive purple hue. Just be aware that the purple varieties generally don’t produce a dark purple color, but have more of a “hint” of purple.
How To Make Your Own Carrot Juice
It’s easy to make your own carrot juice by following these simple steps.
- First wash 2 pounds of carrots under cold running water, scrubbing them with a vegetable brush. Use a knife to cut off the end that was, or still is attached to the green, leafy part of the plant.
- Always use organic if you can, but if it’s not an option, be sure to peel them to eliminate as many pesticides as possible. Organic comes pesticide-free, which means you can use them without peeling.
- As you don’t want to risk damaging your equipment, even if you have a high-quality food processor or blender, it’s best to cut up the carrots into more manageable pieces before tossing them in. Generally, 1″ to 2″ pieces work without a problem.
- Place the chopped, cleaned carrots into your food processor or blender, and process until mashed, or finely chopped. If you need to, add a small amount of water to help break them down. For this purpose, a blender generally works better.
- Thin out the carrots by mixing in purified water, which will result in a better taste and more juice. Do this by bringing two cups of water to a boil and then mixing the carrot puree and water in large glass container. Stir well to be sure water is spread evenly throughout.
- Similar to tea, the longer the carrot puree is allowed to steep in the hot water, the better your juice will taste, and the more nutritious it will be. Generally, 15 to 30 minutes is the ideal amount of time to let it steep.
- Remove the pulp by using a strainer – strain your juice into a 2-quart pitcher, extracting as much juice as you can.
- Serve immediately, but if you must store it, refrigerate it for no more than 24 hours as juice begins losing valuable nutrients right after it’s made.
Using Carrot Juice Topically
Carrot juice can be used topically to eliminate blemishes as well as to speed the healing of wounds. Simply dab carrot juice onto pimples after you’ve thoroughly washed your face – the juice helps the blemish heal faster as well as preventing scars before the have a chance to form. Be sure to use the freshest carrot juice possible, and leave it on as long as you can before rinsing.
To speed healing of a wound or cut, simply apply it to the affected area. Leave it on, and place a bandage over it. Drinking lots of pure carrot juice will help it heal from the inside too.
Carrot Juice for Beauty
Get younger looking skin. If you have mature skin that has been affected not only by your years, but by sun and exposure to pollutants in the environment, you can use carrot juice to combat the signs of aging, including dry patches, loss of elasticity, dullness and fine lines.
Combine three egg whites with three tablespoons of carrot juice, and then use a cotton ball to apply the mixture onto your face. Avoid the mouth and eye area. Let it sit for about 15 minutes and then rinse with warm water.
Calm reddened skin. If medications, skin conditions or irritants have left your skin reddened, you can make a soothing mask to reduce redness. Combine an eighth of a cup of carrot juice with one boiled, mashed potato and one tablespoon of ground oatmeal. Be sure to cool the mixture to room temperature first, and then spread it across your face. Leave it on for about 30 minutes and then rinse with warm water.
For a glowing complexion. Carrot juice can be used to help achieve a more glowing complexion too. Combine a tablespoon of fresh carrot juice with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons, raw honey. If your skin is dry, add a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil too. Combine all ingredients together until it has a paste-like consistency. Apply it over cleansed skin and allow it to sit for 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
Promote hair growth. Simply drinking carrot juice can help promote hair growth as well as more beautiful, shiny locks. It can also prevent dandruff. Just drink it regularly and you’re bound to see improvements.