It’s small. It’s orange. It’s round and hard. Sometimes it’s shaped like a cone. Other times it takes a cylindrical shape.
And it’s hiding in your fridge at this moment.
Do you know what it is?
It’s a carrot.
A carrot? you ask. What’s so great about a carrot?
Carrots are common. They’re so commonplace we forget about them in our refrigerators until they turn soft and wilted. We pass over them time and time again on the veggie tray for cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas.
But carrots are amazing. Why you ask? Carrots are:
- High in vitamin A
- Full of fiber
- High in carbohydrates
Carrots are an inexpensive vegetable
Compared to other superfoods, carrots are inexpensive. A pound of carrots costs $1 or less.
A pound of kale can cost anywhere from $4 to $6[i].
The same weight of chia seeds? Seven to ten times as expensive.
Coconut oil? Eleven to thirteen times the cost per pound.
The price of spirulina is the most absurd. You can pay $11.59 for 4 oz. That’s $46.36 per pound!
Any other superfood you can think of—matcha, açai, goji berries—you’ll pay more per pound than carrots. That makes carrots a better superfood to buy on a regular basis because you won’t break the bank buying enough to last you a week. You can buy them on a weekly basis and give up nothing else in your life.
Surely you can spare a dollar per week for carrots, right?
Carrots are a vegetable high in vitamin A
Carrots are known to contain a variety of nutrients. Just 35 calories of cooked carrots contains:
- 6% of your Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C
- 7% of your DV for potassium
- 8% of your DV for vitamin B6
- 8% of your DV for manganese
- 17% of your DV for vitamin K
- And a whopping 341% of your DV for Vitamin A
Vitamin A helps create and sustain healthy teeth, skin, skeletal and soft tissue and mucus membranes. And as most know, it promotes good vision.
Vitamin A is also an antioxidant. The body uses antioxidants to prevent damage to our bodies through oxidation (Think of preventing your car from rusting. That’s oxidation).
Inflammation is associated with a variety of chronic diseases. Examples include depression, cancer, stroke, and heart disease. High levels of antioxidants in the body can prevent and reverse these problems.
You aren’t statistically likely to be low in vitamin A. But it’s difficult to get too much vitamin A in the form of whole foods. So go ahead. Eat as many carrots as you like.
Only if you turn orange should you reconsider your carrot intake.
What food has fiber? Carrots.
Fiber is a nutrient more than 95% of Americans are deficient in. It’s safe to say we all could eat more fiber.
Only plants have fiber. This means you can’t get fiber from animal products like milk, cheese, eggs and meat.
One way to get fiber along with a ton of nutrition is to eat more carrots. For every 35 calories of carrots you eat, you get 3 grams of fiber.
I know that doesn’t sound like much. Especially if you know that you should be getting 25 grams of fiber (or more) per day. But when you consider the fact that less than 5% of Americans are getting enough fiber, any extra fiber added to your diet will be beneficial.
Carrots are a healthy, high-carb food
Let’s get one misconception out of the way:
CARBS DO NOT MAKE YOU FAT. Period.
Eating wholesome whole wheat pasta, beans, bananas and carrots won’t make you fat. Eating fat in the form of doughnuts, chocolate cake, eggs, provolone cheese and steak can make you fat. Also, eating refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice and white pasta could make you fat.
But whole plant foods? They don’t make you fat.
So, eating a ton of carrots will keep you healthy and lean. Carrots are a food naturally high in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein.
Whole-food carbohydrates give you energy without giving you excess calories. Your blood sugar is controlled by the fiber in the carrots. Nutrients provide satiety. The carrot is slowly digested by your stomach in order to absorb the nutrients and change the starch into sugars.
Don’t be worried about these sugars. Your body changes all digestible carbohydrates into sugar. The body uses sugar (glucose) as energy and stores sugar (glycogen) in your muscles for later energy usage.
Glycogen is not stored on your body as fat.
Different uses for carrots
Carrots aren’t only a superfood because they’re loaded with fiber, healthy carbohydrates and nutrition.
They’re fantastic because they’re useful in a variety of ways.
Normally, carrots are used in savory dishes, like salads and soups. Yet carrots are open to more than savory dishes. Carrots’ neutral flavor melds well in spicy dishes. And because carrots contain natural sugar, they’re a wholesome addition to dessert, too.
In fact, you can use carrots in every part of a meal. Try the following carrot recipes to include carrots into your diet anytime of the day:
- Breakfast: Carrot Cake Oatmeal
- Lunch: Summertime Veggie Wrap
- Dinner: Kickin’ Carato Curry
- Dessert: Raw Carrot Cake Bites
- Hors d’oeuvre: Roasted Carrot and Garlic Hummus (shown above)
- Appetizer: Vietnamese Summer Rolls
- Drink: Spicy Sweet Carrot Radish Juice
Would you like a carrot?
It’s time to forget about dropping all your hard-cash on superfoods to stay healthy.
Carrots give you more bang for your buck than typical superfoods like kale, açai and chia seeds. Carrots contain a variety of essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamin A and vitamin K. Lastly, you can eat them in countless ways and use them in innumerable recipes.
So, how about a bag of carrots?
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[i]Prices taken from the website of a grocery store in Fargo, ND.