Carrot: A highly nutritious, versatile vegetable – explainer

Science and Health

Carrots are not only delicious and low in calories but also packed with numerous health benefits.

While they are commonly associated with improving vision, their benefits go far beyond that.

Including carrots in your diet, particularly during winter, is highly recommended. Here are several reasons why:

Four reasons why you should keep carrots in your diet

  1. Boost your immune system: Carrots are rich in vitamin A, specifically beta-carotene, which helps boost the immune system. This nutrient plays a crucial role in strengthening the immune cells in the respiratory system, making it a valuable asset in defending against viral infections. In the current climate where viral diseases are prevalent, consuming at least one carrot per day is advised. Even cooked or steamed carrots retain their vitamin A content, so they can be enjoyed in various preparations.
  2. Nourish your skin: Vitamin A in carrots helps maintain skin moisture, which is especially important during the dry winter months. Additionally, it aids in slowing down the aging process, reducing acne, and minimizing pigmentation. High concentrations of vitamin A derivatives are even used in acne treatment medications.
  3. Improve your night vision: Vitamin A is not just essential for overall vision; it specifically aids in adapting to low-light conditions. Carrots provide the necessary vitamin A for a smooth transition from light to darkness, enabling us to see clearly in any lighting environment. Incorporating carrot-based dishes, like orange soups, into your winter diet can fulfill this requirement.
  4. Carrots last long and are versatile in food: Unlike some vegetables that lose nutritional value after being cut, carrots retain their vitamins and can be prepared in advance without compromising their benefits. Whether sliced into sticks or grated, carrots stay crisp for days, making them an ideal addition to salads, packed lunches, or even fruit salads.
Preparation of carrots with garlic and almonds (credit: Hila Kariv)

Bonus tip: To enhance the absorption of plant-based vitamin A from beta-carotene, it is recommended to consume it with a source of healthy fats, such as quality oil or tahini. However, if your meal already includes fats from eggs, nuts, or cheese, there is no need to add extra fat.

Dispelling concerns: While vitamin A is fat-soluble and excessive consumption can result in its storage in the body, it is important to note that an excess of beta-carotene from plant sources, like carrots, is not dangerous. Therefore, feel free to enjoy carrots as a snack throughout the day, both generally and during a dietary regimen.