Carrots are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds. As part of a balanced diet, carrots can help support immune function, wound healing, and digestive health, as well as reduce the risk of some cancers.

In this article, learn more about the nutrients in carrots and their health benefits. We also look into tips for adding carrots to the diet and any precautions.

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Carrots are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are also a good source of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are nutrients present in plant-based foods. They help the body remove free radicals — unstable molecules that can cause cell damage if too many accumulate in the body.

Free radicals result from natural processes and environmental pressures. The body can eliminate many free radicals naturally, but dietary antioxidants can help, especially when the oxidant load is high.

Below are some ways carrots can support health.

Carrots contain vitamin A, and a vitamin A deficiency may result in xerophthalmia, a progressive eye disease. Xerophthalmia can cause night blindness or difficulty seeing when levels of light are low.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, a lack of vitamin A is one of the main preventable causes of blindness in children.

Carrots also contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and the combination of the two may help prevent age-related macular degeneration, a type of vision loss.

However, most people’s vision is unlikely to improve from eating carrots unless they have a vitamin A deficiency.

Learn about 10 foods that can help maintain eye health.

Too many free radicals in the body may increase the risk of various types of cancer.

The antioxidant effects of dietary carotenoids — yellow, orange, and red organic pigments present in carrots and other vegetables — may reduce this risk. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two examples of these carotenoids. Vitamin A and beta carotene may also be of benefit.

A 2015 review suggested a link between a diet rich in carotenoids and a lower risk of prostate cancer. Reviews also associate the intake of carotenoids with a lower risk of colorectal cancer and other forms of the disease.

Learn more about cancer in our dedicated cancer hub.

A medium carrot contains 1.7 gram (g) of fiber, or between 5–7.6% of a person’s daily needs, depending on their age and sex. Meanwhile, 1 cup of chopped carrots provides 3.58 g of fiber.

Adequate fiber intake can assist in the optimal working of the entire digestive system. People who consume a high fiber diet may have a lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who consume little fiber.

High fiber foods can promote gut health, but which foods should we avoid?

Carbohydrates make up around 10% of the weight of a carrot, about half of the carbohydrate content in a carrot is sugar, and a third is fiber.

Both boiled and raw carrots have a low glycemic index score. This means that they are unlikely to trigger a blood sugar spike. The GI index can help people with diabetes understand which foods are likely to raise their blood sugar levels.

Consuming a high fiber diet may also help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Learn more about diabetes and diet here.

The American Heart Association (AHA) encourages people to eat less sodium and more foods that contain potassium, such as carrots. Potassium helps relax the blood vessels, reducing the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues.

One medium carrot provides around 4% of a person’s daily requirement of potassium.

Eating vegetables high in fiber, such as carrots, may also lower a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease and reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol.

Discover more foods that lower blood pressure here.

Another antioxidant that carrots provide is vitamin C. This is integral to immune system function.

Eating a balanced diet that provides adequate vitamin C can help support the body’s ability to fight disease and infection and maintain overall good health.

Vitamin A also plays a critical role in regulating immune functions, according to preliminary studies.

Learn about 15 foods that can boost the immune system.

Carrots contain vitamin K and small amounts of calcium and phosphorus. All of these contribute to bone health and may help prevent osteoporosis.

The vitamin C in carrots also contributes to collagen production. Collagen is a key component of connective tissue and is essential for wound healing and keeping the body healthy.

Learn more about bone health and diet here.

The table below lists the amount of each nutrient in a medium-sized, raw carrot that weighs around 61 g.

It also shows how much of each nutrient an adult should consume each day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–2025. Needs vary, however, according to sex and age.

NutrientsAmount in 1 medium, raw carrot Daily recommendation for adult malesDaily recommendations for adult females
Energy (calories)251,800–2,4001,600–2,000
Carbohydrate (g)5.8 — including 2.9 g of sugar130130
Fiber (g)1.728–3422–28
Calcium (mg)20.11,000–1,3001,000–1,300
Phosphorus (mg)21.4700–1,250700–1,250
Potassium (mg)1953,000–3,4002,300–2,600
Vitamin C (mg)3.675–9065–75
Folate (mcg DFE)11.6400400
Vitamin A (mcg RAE)509900700
Vitamin E (mg)0.41515
Vitamin K (mcg)8.175–12075–90
Beta carotene (mcg)5,050no datano data
Alpha carotene (mcg)2,120no datano data
Lutein & zeaxanthin (mcg)156no datano data

Carrots also contain various B vitamins and traces of iron and other minerals.

There are two seasons for carrots — the spring and fall — but they are usually available in supermarkets all year. People can buy them fresh, frozen, canned, pickled, or as juice.

It is best to store carrots in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Remove any greens from the tops before storing to prevent them from drawing moisture and nutrients from the roots.

Tips for preparing carrots

Carrots are a versatile vegetable. People can eat them raw, steamed, boiled, roasted, or as an ingredient in soups and stews. Boiling vegetables can reduce or eliminate some of the vitamin content. Raw or steamed carrots provide the most nutritional value.

Organic vs. non-organic

Organic vegetables are the product of farming practices that do not use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or additives.

A 2019 study found that organic carrots had significantly higher levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, phosphorus, and calcium, than their non-organic counterparts.

Eating organic foodstuffs can also reduce a person’s exposure to potentially harmful pesticides.

A person consuming large amounts of fiber in their diet or rapidly increasing their fiber intake may experience bloating, constipation, and other gastrointestinal issues.

Some people are allergic to compounds in carrots. Anyone who develops hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing after eating carrots needs urgent medical attention.

Learn more about carrot allergies here.

Carrots are rich in vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that are all important parts of a balanced diet.

Studies show that a varied diet rich in vegetables — including carrots — can support natural immune function, digestive processes, and cardiovascular health.