Carrots are an easy way to get more nutrients in, according to nutritionists

Sign up for CNN’s Eat, But Better: Mediterranean Style. Our expert-backed eight-part guide shows you a delicious eating lifestyle that will boost your health for life.


Vegetables are great not only for their versatility – they can be eaten raw or cooked, whole or chopped – but also for their health benefits. However, those looking to incorporate more veggies into their diet may want to look at one in particular.

Eating three servings of baby carrots per week can provide a significant boost to important nutrients found in the root vegetable, according to a new unpublished study presented June 30 in Chicago at Nutrition 2024, the Society’s annual meeting. American Nutrition.

Separate surveys in 2015 and 2019 found that only about 1 in 10 American adults ate the recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day, according to a 2022 report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on fruit intake and vegetables. That statistic prompted lead study author Mary Harper Simmons and her colleagues to investigate a simple solution that could increase a person’s weekly vegetable intake.

“(Baby carrots) are great with things like ranch, hummus — I’ve even seen people dip them in peanut butter — people really like them,” said Simmons, a graduate student in nutrition at Samford University in Alabama. . “I want to show people that your health can (be) improved with small, simple changes. … It doesn’t have to be one big change overnight.”

For the study, one serving of baby carrots — cut into smaller pieces and commonly sold at grocery stores — was about eight to 12 carrots, equal to 100 grams or half a cup, Simmons added.

The unpublished study looked at 60 young adults who were assigned to eat the carrots three times a week, not eat the carrots and instead take a multivitamin supplement, eat a combination of the carrots and the multivitamin, or eat the carrots or consume the supplement. as a control group.

After four weeks, the researchers found that those who ate the carrots had a 10.8% increase in carotenoids in their skin, natural antioxidants were found to have health benefits, such as preventing inflammation and promoting heart health , according to the Cleveland Clinic.

In addition, the researchers found that those who took only the multivitamin (which contained the same carotenoid found in carrots) did not see any changes in carotenoid levels. But those who ate the carrots and the supplement saw the greatest benefits and increased their skin carotenoids by 21.6%.

“People might think, ‘Hey, I’m taking a multivitamin supplement, (that should be enough),’ but that alone didn’t increase carotenoid accumulation. It was a mixture and it seemed to amplify it,” said Dr. Suresh Mathews, principal investigator of the new study and professor and chair of Samford’s nutrition and dietetics department.

“The ‘food first’ philosophy always works. But for populations that can only make or have limited foods, the combination of food and supplements seems to have an even greater effect in this case,” he said.

The benefits of eating carrots and other vegetables

“A high intake of vegetables is associated with all kinds of positive health effects – increased consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of all kinds of chronic diseases,” said Dr. Sander Kersten, director of the division of nutritional sciences and Schleifer Family Professor. at Cornell University, who were not involved in the new study. Eating vegetables can protect against heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and obesity, according to the CDC.

But carrots and other orange- and red-toned vegetables like squash and sweet potatoes are unique in that they are high in beta-carotene, the carotenoid that the body converts into vitamin A, Kersten said. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are also high in beta-carotene, he said.

Vitamin A is important for keeping your heart, lungs and other organs healthy and also for supporting various body functions, according to the National Institutes of Health. Vitamin A deficiency is not common in the United States, but people should still try to eat fruits and vegetables to reap the benefits of these naturally low-calorie, high-fiber foods, Kersten said.

While a reminder to include vegetables in a healthy diet is good for everyone, Simmons said the message is especially important for young adults.

According to the CDC 2022 report, about 7% of adults 18- to 30-year-olds eat the recommended amount of vegetables, and the 2023 National College Health Assessment from the American College Health Association found that about 1 in 4 college students surveyed said they ate three or more servings of vegetables per day.

“You hear what we say to kids, ‘Eat the rainbow’ and I feel like any age really stands out,” Simmons said. “It’s good to have a variety of colors on your plate, and if you don’t eat every once in a while, it’s definitely very beneficial to have variety throughout your day and throughout the week to get all those key nutrients you need to exercise our bodies. .”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *