Most healthy eating advice usually involves eating more vegetables. Most nutritional authorities agree that, for optimal health, we should eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruit per day.
This makes perfect sense because vegetables and fruit are valuable sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients. These substances are not found in abundance in grains and are hardly present at all in processed foods.
But, are some vegetables more beneficial than others? In this article, we explore some interesting baby carrot nutrition facts so that you can decide if this is a vegetable you need to eat more of. Baby carrots are young carrots, which gives them a very sweet taste.
Baby carrots should not be confused with baby-cut carrots, which look similar but are just small pieces whittled from regular-sized carrots. Both regular and baby carrots are packed with beneficial nutrients and can be eaten raw or cooked. Like most vegetables, baby carrots are also low in calories.
Nutrition Facts of Baby Carrots
Baby carrots are a bite-sized health food that is low in calories and high in nutritional benefits. They’re a great alternative to chips and candy and can be cooked or eaten raw. A 100 gram/3.5 ounce serving of baby carrots contains:
- 40 calories
- 1 gram of protein
- 9 grams of carbohydrates
- 5 grams of sugar
- 2 grams of fiber
- Less than one gram of protein
- 45mg of sodium
In addition, carrots contain the following nutrients:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
As well as these vitamins and minerals, carrots also contain antioxidants, including carotenoids and beta carotene, which gives them their bright orange color. These substances can help protect you from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Health Benefits of Eating Baby Carrots
From a nutritional perspective, and despite their diminutive size, baby carrots are a health-boosting giant! The benefits of eating baby carrots include:
Improved eye health – contrary to widespread World War II propaganda, eating baby carrots will not help you see in the dark. However, the high vitamin A content will help prevent age-related macular degeneration and other vision issues, including cataracts.
Better digestion – baby carrots are high in soluble and insoluble fiber, so they’re good for the health of your digestive system. Eating baby carrots could decrease your risk of colon cancer.
Improved immunity – baby carrots are high in vitamin C, and that micronutrient plays a crucial role in the function of your immune system. The more efficient your immune system is, the more easily you’ll be able to fight off illnesses and infections.
Better skin – vitamin A and other antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress and free radicals, which are the leading causes of wrinkles and skin blemishes.
Vitamin A also provides protection from sun damage.
Improved oral health – eating baby carrots has a brushing effect on your teeth and gums, leading to improved dental and oral health. They can also help remove stains from your teeth.
Better heart health – the potassium in baby carrots can help lower your blood pressure and control your cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of coronary heart disease.
Lowered risk for certain cancers – the antioxidants and carotenoids in baby carrots reduce your risk of prostate and lung cancer, as well as leukemia. Vegetable compounds called polyacetylenes may also have cancer-fighting properties.
Reduced risk of developing diabetes – high fiber, low-calorie foods help lower blood glucose levels, decreasing the risk of developing type II diabetes.
Weight loss – baby carrots are very low in calories. Replacing high-calorie snacks like cookies and candy with baby carrots will significantly lower your calorie intake, which could help you lose weight faster.
How Are Baby Carrots Made?
Baby carrots are carrots that have been harvested before reaching maturity. They are literally very young carrots. Some carrot varieties mature more slowly than others. This means some baby carrots are really teenagers or older!
Baby-cut carrots look like baby carrots but are actually fully-grown vegetables that have been trimmed down to make bite-sized pieces. Baby-cut carrots are nutritionally similar to real baby carrots but tend not to taste as sweet and can also be a little tougher.
Allergies, Food Safety, and Storage
Baby carrots are generally very safe to eat. However, a very small percentage of consumers experience allergic reactions to this vegetable. This is typically a pollen-related allergy.
If you have a sensitivity to birch or mugwort pollen, you may have a reaction to carrots, so you should probably avoid them. Also, unless stated, baby carrots may be grown using pesticides, herbicides, and other potentially harmful chemicals.
The long-term effects of exposure to these substances are not really known, but they could be detrimental to your health. Seek out certified organic baby carrots to ensure your vegetables are grown without the use of harsh chemicals.
Reduce their concentration by washing baby carrots before consuming them, using washing-up detergent or a solution of baking powder if you wish. Rinse with fresh water to remove any unwanted residue.
Eating too many baby carrots could lead to an overdose of beta carotene and vitamin A, which can turn your skin orange. The good news is that if you experience this issue, the color change is not permanent and will disappear within a few days.
However, if you take vitamin A-derived medications such as Accutane or Soriatane, which are treatments for acne and psoriasis, you may need to limit your baby carrot intake to an ounce or so per day.
Baby carrots should be kept in your fridge to keep them fresh. You can preserve their crunchy texture by storing them in a bowl of water. Swap the water if it starts to become cloudy. Baby carrots should remain edible for up to a week. Discard them if they start to go soft or look wrinkled.
How to Prepare
One of the most appealing things about baby carrots is that, after washing, you can eat them raw – peeled or with the skin left on.
You can also:
- Shred them and add them to salads or sandwiches
- Put them in cakes and muffins
- Use in place of chips with dips, such as hummus and guacamole
- Make baby carrot juice
- Add to soups or stews
Bear in mind that overcooking any vegetable, including carrots, can reduce their nutritional value. Try and minimize cooking times to preserve the nutrients in baby carrots. Better still, eat them raw.
A lot of people believe that eating healthy is expensive, inconvenient, or time-consuming. And a lot of time, those people are right! Planning, prepping, and cooking healthy food can be laborious, but it doesn’t have to be.
Baby carrots are portable, can be eaten raw, and actually taste good too. They provide an easy way to get a high dose of vitamin A and a host of other valuable nutrients. They’re low in calories, but thanks to their high fiber content, very filling.
If you are a habitual snacker and are struggling to lose weight, replacing your usual nuts, chocolate, candy, etc., with baby carrots is a great way to lower your calorie intake while increasing your consumption of beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Remember, though, baby carrots are NOT the same as baby-cut carrots, although both types are healthy and beneficial. Baby carrots are young carrots picked early, while baby-cut carrots have been whittled down from full-sized carrots. Is this an important distinction?
But, if you specifically want REAL baby carrots, make sure that’s what you are getting by reading the packaging before making your purchase.
Here are some other nutritional facts of foods you may be interested in;