Carrots are highly nutritious and are a powerhouse of benefits because of their numerous nutrients and health advantages. Carrots are popular as sides to many cooked, baked and grilled dishes. However, the carrots we see today have had many avatars. For starters, carrots have never looked like they do now. They were once violet, white, and yellow before being associated with the orange colour we now identify with carrots. Furthermore, now we have a popular second alternative, known as baby carrots, in addition to conventional carrots.
Baby Carrots: An Introduction
Baby carrots (Daucus carota) are a regular addition to vegetable trays or incorporated into smoothies. They are a nutritious food source, offering vitamins, fibre, and other minerals like conventional carrots. While the name may suggest that somehow this vegetable is a younger variant of ordinary carrots, this is not the case. Baby carrots are sweeter than full-grown carrots because they are grown smaller. Also, they do not require peeling, and the core is slightly different.
Baby carrots came into vogue in the 1980s when a farmer sought a way to repurpose malformed or damaged carrots thrown after harvest. These carrots have morphed into bite-sized carrots, which customers found more straightforward to chew and more convenient than peeled and chopped carrots.
Large-scale carrot growers have modified how they cultivate and harvest young carrots in the years after their introduction. In other words, bigger carrots are not modified. Instead, a hybrid seed generates a smaller, thinner carrot. Baby carrots get picked early to obtain a sweeter flavour than a conventional carrot. When you look at the core of a carrot, the difference between it and a newborn carrot is noticeable. A baby carrot’s core is much smaller than a standard carrot.
Nutrition Facts of Baby Carrots
According to USDA, per 100 g serving of raw baby carrots include:
- Calories: 30
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Sodium: 66.3 mg
- Carbohydrates: 7 g
- Fibre: 2.5g
- Sugars: 4.1g
- Protein: 0.5 g
- Vitamin A: 586 mg
- Potassium: 201 mg
- Vitamin K: 8 mg
Minerals and Vitamins
Baby carrots are a good source of vitamin A, with around 5430 mcg of beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) per serving. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that can help your immune system work better.
Vitamin K is abundant in baby carrots, with 4 – 5 baby carrots providing around 8mcg. Vitamin K is necessary for bone health and blood clotting after a wound or laceration. However, other minerals, such as potassium, manganese, folate, and iron, are low in carrots.
The HealthifyMe Note
A regular meal of baby carrots has just about 30 calories, making them a low-calorie food. Although baby carrots do not have too much protein, they are abundant in vitamins and minerals. The highlight of the food is its vitamin A content, which is healthy for vision. In addition, baby carrots are almost fat-free, with only 0.1 grams per serving. As a result, these crunchy vegetables are an incredible asset to a low-fat diet. Baby carrots include 7 grams of carbs per serving (85g), 2.5 grams of fibre and 4.1 grams of naturally produced sugar. Baby carrots have no starch.
Health Benefits of Baby Carrots
Carrots, both baby carrots and regular carrots have similar health advantages.
Baby Carrots Prevents Vision Loss
Baby carrots are a good source of Vit A and carotenoids. These molecules build up inside the retina and thus are especially beneficial in avoiding vision loss as you age. Interestingly, according to research, Carrot phytochemicals are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that reduce oxidative vision loss.
Long-term research has shown that eating carrots, and other foods high in beta carotene, lutein, or zeaxanthin can help protect your eyesight and lower your risk of severe age-related macular degeneration.
Improves Heart Health
Baby carrots include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that may assist in lowering the risk of heart disease.
According to studies, carrot polyphenols can stimulate bile production, reducing cholesterol and triglycerides(fat). Baby carrots also contain dietary fibre, which can help decrease cholesterol levels and minimise the risk of heart disease.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Regular carrots are available in many hues containing various antioxidants, whereas baby carrots only come in orange. For example, according to research, orange carrots contain beta carotene, which may protect against some forms of cancer.
One study also found that eating more carrots was linked to a lower risk of prostatic and stomach cancers.
Baby Carrots Maintains Dental Health
Crunchy carrots aid in the maintenance of strong and healthy teeth. A study was conducted by researchers on the elderly Japanese population. Researchers found that having more beta carotene is directly related to protection against tooth problems and improvement in heart health. Vegetables like carrots, squash, and green leafy vegetables are some of the best sources of beta carotene.
Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease
The same study that discovered carrots to be good for your teeth also found carrots to be good for your brain. Increased consumption of cooked or raw veggies (particularly carrots) is associated with a lower incidence of dementia.
Healthy Recipes Using Baby Carrots
Carrot Cake Pancakes
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 15 min
Total time: 25 min
1 cup = 250 ml
- Shredded carrot: 1 cup
- Eggs : 3
- Apple sauce: ½ cup
- Plain yoghourt: ½ cup
- Unsalted butter: 2 tbsp
- Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
- Buckwheat flour: 1 cup
- Baking powder: 1½ tsp
- Cinnamon: ½ tsp
- Raisins: ⅓ cup
- Butter or oil (for greasing the pan)
- Maple syrup: As per taste
- Add the carrot to a bowl of hot water for 3-5 minutes. Drain the water when the carrot is soft.
- Take a medium-sized bowl and add the carrot, eggs, applesauce, yoghurt, butter and vanilla.
- Stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and raisins.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add a little butter to grease the pan.
- Add ¼ cup batter at a time, spread thinly over the pan, and heat until the edges are light brown. Flip and cook both sides.
- Add butter and repeat to make more pancakes.
- Serve them warm with maple syrup.
Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 6 hrs
Total time: 6 hrs 30 min
- Fresh baby carrots: 1 pound (28 grams)
- Medium fresh mushrooms: ½ pound (approx. 250 g)
- Small chopped onion: 1
- Bone-in chicken thighs: 6
- Chicken broth: 1 cup (250 g)
- Dried tarragon: 1 tsp
- Salt: ½ tsp
- Pepper: ¼ tsp
- Cornstarch : 2 tbsp (30 g)
- Heavy whipping cream: ½ cup (125 g)
- Combine broth, tarragon, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Put carrots, mushrooms and onion and top with chicken in a small cooker. Add the contents of the bowl over the chicken. Cook for 6-8 hours until the chicken is tender.
- After the chicken cools down, shred and mix with the vegetables and separate the cooking juices.
- Take a bowl and add cornstarch and ½ cup of cooking juices. Whisk it into a pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until it thickens. Add cream and heat again.
- Serve the sauce with chicken and vegetables.
The HealthifyMe Note
One can consume baby carrots uncooked. You may eat them simply or with a healthy dip to improve their flavour. Consider dipping carrots in hummus or a lime lentil dip to liven things up.
One may use baby carrots in several recipes. Cooked carrots, for example, are common in soups and stews. Another way to bring out carrots’ inherent sweetness is to roast them. To increase the nutritional benefits of your salads, you might add freshly shredded carrots. You may also create carrot juice or milkshakes using a blender. Finally, carrots can be marinated and sliced thinly as a side salad or topping.
More About Baby Carrots
Traditionally baby carrots are smaller versions of ordinary carrots that are sweet. The sweeter kind of regular carrots creates mini carrots. One of the reasons tiny carrots are becoming more popular, especially among children, is this.
Baby carrots and produced carrots have a limited shelf life and must be refrigerated to extend their life. The reduced shelf life is because they get peeled before even being sold. Thus they lose the peel’s natural immunity. On the other hand, regular carrots may be incubated at room temperature for up to 10 days before getting bad.
Because baby carrots are without the peel, one must wash them with diluted chlorine before even being packaged to prevent foodborne illnesses. Some food experts believe that this cleaning makes baby carrots safer to eat. In contrast, others maintain that ordinary carrots do not require cleansing because the skin already covers them.
The Best Time to Eat Baby Carrots
Commercial baby carrots are generally available all around the year. They’re usually fully peeled and wrapped in little plastic bags, so there’s no need to prepare them before eating.
Baby carrots are a cool-season crop that can withstand colder temperatures and even a frost if grown at home. However, if you acquire the sweeter flavour of the variation, be sure to buy and sow baby carrot seedlings rather than standard carrot seeds.
One can harvest baby carrots earlier than ordinary carrots. Baby carrots are ready to be harvested in 50 to 60 days; however, typical adult carrots take a few days longer to grow and aren’t ready to harvest until 75 days after planting.
Food Storage and Safety
Baby carrots have a limited shelf life because their peel is removed. Hence it is essential to refrigerate them. In such a case, you can keep it fresh for four weeks.
Carrots should not be frozen, according to the makers. However, according to the USDA, they will stay edible for around three months if you freeze them.
Potential Side Effects
Although tiny carrots are identical to ordinary carrots, they are frequently considered unhealthy. This viewpoint is influenced by how baby carrots get marketed. Growers often add chloride to the carrots after trimming them down to the size in the form of baby carrots.
The additional chlorine brightens the colour of the carrots, providing them with a more visually appetising orange hue. However, if the carrots aren’t thoroughly cleansed and prepped ahead of time, the extra chlorine, if ingested, can be harmful. Baby carrots offer many of the same minerals and vitamins as ordinary carrots, except chlorine.
There has been little investigation into carrot allergies. However, according to some research, carrot allergies affect up to 25% of the population. If you are sensitive to a birch tree stump or mugwort pollen, you may develop oral allergy syndrome due to cross-reactivity with carrots. Oral allergy symptoms might appear minutes or hours after contact.
Other Adverse Effects
It is unlikely that eating a lot of young carrots would create any problems. However, if you consume a lot of carrots daily, you may develop a disease known as carotenemia. Carotenemia is a skin yellowing induced by a high intake of beta carotene in foods like carrots. Apricots, mango, & papaya are other food high in beta carotene.
Carotenemia is a mild (non-fatal) illness that is sometimes mistaken for jaundice. On the other hand, the yellowing effect usually disappears as the person reduces their beta carotene intake.
Carrots have a low GI. But unlike other vegetables like sprouts or green beans, they contain a higher amount of sugars. However, baby carrots are high in nutritional fibre and low in fat and calories. Therefore, you may get a healthy dosage of vitamin A, vitamin K, and other nutrients by eating just one serving (5 to 6 baby carrots) daily.
Carrots’ low sugar levels and helpful vitamins help promote gum health and protection. The American Dental Association suggests eating more veggies and fewer sugary meals to keep a healthy mouth. Consult an allergist if you think you might have a carrot allergy or oral allergy syndrome.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What is the difference between baby carrots and regular carrots?
A. The size distinction between carrots and baby carrots is the most significant. Regular carrots are typically 6 inches long, while baby carrots seldom exceed two inches. While both carrots are nutritious, the mini carrot lacks most of the Vitamin C & beta-carotene that a standard carrot has.
Q. What are the benefits of eating raw carrots?
A. Vitamins, minerals, and fibre are abundant in carrots. They’re also full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients found in diets made from plants. They aid in the removal of free radicals in the body and prevent diseases like cancer and heart diseases. Carrots also boost your vision, promote brain health, improve skin and strengthen bones.
Q. How many baby carrots should I eat a day?
A. It is advisable to consume over 100 g of baby carrots daily. However, one should not consume more than ten carrots daily since it may cause carotenemia. Carotenemia is a skin yellowing induced by a high intake of beta carotene. It is mild and non-fatal but can often be confused with jaundice.
Q. Which is healthier, baby carrots or carrots?
A. While both carrots are nutritious, the mini carrots lack most of the Vitamin C and beta-carotene that a standard carrot has.
Q. What are the disadvantages of eating carrots?
A. While there aren’t many disadvantages of eating carrots, a few are listed below.
- Vitamin A toxicity is possible.
- Allergic reactions might happen.
- Flatulence is a possibility.
- It could be dangerous for children.
- Can cause discolouration of the skin.
Q. Are baby carrots full of sugar?
A. While there are some natural sugars in baby carrots, they are high-fibre, low-calorie vegetables with a low glycemic index. Therefore they’re a tasty method to help prevent and control type 2 diabetes.
Q. Are baby carrots keto?
A. Carrots may be eaten in modest amounts on a keto diet, as evidenced by their nutritional profile. However, you must limit yourself to a sensible amount. With 9 grams of net carbohydrates per cup (122 grams), a single serving of carrots can consume over half of your daily net carb allowance if you’re aiming for a specific 25-gram daily allowance. In addition, carrots’ carb content is unaffected by how you prepare them. Thus they can be eaten raw or in moderate amounts during a keto diet.
Q. Are organic baby carrots healthy?
A. There are “genuine baby carrots” and processed “baby carrots” that we commonly see in supermarkets. Authentic baby carrots are immature carrots that get picked before the root has reached maturity. They’re said to be sweeter this way. Some people even believe they are healthier. These carrots aren’t as frequent in supermarkets, but the stalks are often still attached when you buy them. Also, full-grown carrots that would have been rejected and discarded are frequently branded as “baby carrots” in those little plastic bags.
Q. How many calories are in baby-cut carrots?
A. 3 ounces of Baby Carrots, roughly 30 calories, is the most popular option for the label “Baby Carrots.”
Q. Are baby carrots nutritious?
A. Baby carrots (85g, or four to six baby carrots) contain 30 calories, 0.5g protein, 7g carbs, and 0.1g fat per NLEA serving. Vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium are abundant in baby carrots. Baby carrots have numerous health benefits because of their nutrition-abundant constitution.