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Healthy Living

Nutrition

girlAll our lives we’ve been told to eat our carrots – they help improve your eyesight. Maybe you’ve wondered: what exactly is it about the carrot that is good for your eyes? It’s the beta-carotene. It not only gives the carrot its name and orange color, but it also converts to Vitamin A in the body, which helps keep eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections.

Carrots are a nutrition powerhouse, providing essential vitamins and minerals along with phytonutrients and fiber. In fact, the U.S. government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines recognize Vitamin A as a nutrient that is under consumed by most Americans. As a food rich in beta-carotene, just one serving of baby carrots provides more than 200 percent of the Daily Value for Vitamin A. Even a sprinkling of grated carrots on a salad can provide a nutrient boost to your meal.

Carrots are an good source of dietary fiber. In fact, one serving of baby carrots contains 2.5 grams of dietary fiber (10% DV). Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps to maintain bowel health, lowers blood cholesterol levels and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as vegetables and fruits, may also aid in weight maintenance and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

As a root vegetable, carrots are among the lowest in carbohydrate content making them a great addition to your daily diet. Carrots contain only 7 grams of carbohydrates (4.5 grams net carbs), and only 4 grams of sugar per serving. Carrots, on average, have a low glycemic index (GI) of 47 ± 16 for about one serving (80 grams), and a glycemic load (GL) of 3. Foods with a GI less than 55 are considered low GI foods.

weighedcarrotsAmericans often fall short of consuming their recommended intake of vegetables. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that healthy adults eat at least 2.5 cups per day of vegetables, including 5.5 cups per week of red and orange vegetables. Including carrots in your diet is a simple and tasty way to add more vegetables and nutrients to your diet.

Finally, when buying carrots by the bunch, be sure to remove the leafy tops before storing so that your carrots won’t be prone to drying out.