Carrots, Carrots, Carrots – Nutrition Facts And Interesting Carrot Things

by Sherry Riter in Cooking  ,Food,Vegetable

Carrots are very orange and nutritious, but what makes this bright, strangely shaped vegetable interesting?

What Is A Carrot?

This is a carrot.

carrots with green tops

As you can tell, carrots are definitely orange in color, but can also be red, yellow purple or even white depending on the variety. A fresh carrot is very crisp and usually the orange root is eaten and the green sprouts are discarded.

Carrots are a biennial plant which means that it is a flowering plant that takes two years to complete its biological lifecycle. In the spring and summer, the plant grows leaves and establishes a fat taproot. During the cold months, the plant is dormant. The stem is very short and the leaves stay close to the ground. During the second spring and summer, the taproot gets longer and the stem gets much taller. All of the previous growth has been so that a bunch of white flowers will grow from a three foot stem which produces a shizocarp that splits into mericarps which are indehiscent. Sounds like crazy talk doesn’t it?! Simply put, a dry fruit with seeds grows from the flowers and the seeds stay enclosed in a little covering.

Nutrition Facts – Raw vs. Cooked

Carrots are amazingly nutritious!

One cup of raw carrots has:

  • 52 Calories
  • 0.3g Total Fat
  • 0mg Cholesterol
  • 88mg Sodium
  • 12.3g Total Carbohydrates
  • 1.2g Protein
  • 42 mg Calcium
  • 0.38 mg Iron
  • 15 mg Magnesium
  • 45 mg Phosphorus
  • 410 mg Potassium
  • 0.31 mg Zinc
  • 0.058 mg Copper
  • 0.183 mg Manganese
  • 0.1 mcg Selenium
  • 4.1 mcg Fluoride
  • 7.6 mg Vitamin C – total ascorbic acid
  • 0.084 mg Thiamin
  • 0.074 mg Riboflavin
  • 1.258 mg Niacin
  • 0.349 mg Pantothenic acid
  • 0.177 mg Vitamin B-6
  • 24 mcg Folate
  • 10605 mcg Beta-Carotene
  • 4451 mcg Alpha-Carotene
  • And a whole bunch more that isn’t listed!

Which translates into:

  • 428% of the recommended Vitamin A
  • 13% of the recommended Vitamin C
  • 4% of the recommended Calcium
  • 2% of the recommended Iron

Although a carrot is packed with all that good stuff, it is in a form that the body has a hard time breaking down when the carrot is raw. According to “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition May 2002, Volume 56, Number 5, Pages 425-430, “Estimation of carotenoid accessibility from carrots determined by an in vitro digestion method,” by E Hedrén, V Diaz and U Svanberg, the total beta-carotene released adds up like this:

  • 3% from raw carrots
  • 21% from pulped carrots
  • 27% from cooked carrots
  • 39% from carrots cooked in oil

Carrots have more carotene (converts to vitamin A) than any other fruit or vegetable and that is also why they are orange in color.

A few things that eating carrots can do:

  • lower cholesterol
  • lower blood pressure
  • promote colon health because carrots are high in fiber
  • has anti-cancer properties
  • good for the eyes (Vitamin A), but won’t improve vision
  • increases immunity
  • prevents cell degeneration and slows down aging (anti-oxidant)process
  • improves the appearance of the skin, hair and nails

All in all, it is better to eat cooked carrots because they are easier for the body to break them down and use the vitamins and minerals that is packed within them.

Too Much Of A Good Thing

Although carrots are great for the body, eating too many of them has a few negative effects.

  • Gives you gas
  • Helps control your appetite, but deprives you of other vitamins not found in carrots
  • Makes your skin and nails turn orange


According to the “Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology” in the December 2007 issue, carotenes are converted to vitamin A in the liver and intestines. If you eat so many carotenes that your body can’t process them fast enough, the byproducts are absorbed by skin cells. Too many carotene byproducts will cause the skin to turn orange after it builds up for awhile. This orangeness is called carotenemia and is not dangerous. Since it takes time to build up in the skin cells, it also can take up to three weeks to disappear too.

What Is A Carrot Top?

carrot guyI need to clarify the issue of the carrot top. When you look at a carrot growing in the ground, the orange part is growing under the soil and the green part is growing on top of the soil. That makes the orange taproot the bottom of the carrot and the top of the carrot is the green leafy part.

This clarification is very important to redheads.


carrot girlWell, almost all my life I have been called Carrot Top when people wanted to tease me, but according to my explanation of fact, it is a totally inaccurate description! A carrot top is green, green, green! Green like Kermit the Frog or a very well fertilized and watered lawn in the summer! My hair is not green! So all those silly children and people who have called me Carrot Top must be red-green color blind or they don’t know which end of the carrot is the top.


The next time I talk about carrots, you will be looking at lots of photos that will make you drool. Just thought I would let you dream and wonder what I am cooking up next.


The Redhead Riter


This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 KINGOFNEWYORKHACKS April 12, 2012 at 2:10 am

I happen to like Carrots, and Carrot Tops 🙂


2 The Redhead Riter April 12, 2012 at 2:13 am

LOL KingOfNewYorkHacks!


3 Skip_D April 12, 2012 at 2:16 am

mmmmmmmmmmm… I love carrots! Cooked, raw, sliced, diced, peeled, or just about any other way! It’s good to know that the old wives’ tales (or most of them) about carrots are true – they really are good & good for you!

As for “carrot top” – I never liked that name, & clearly you’re right! It would have to refer to green hair! 🙂


4 The Redhead Riter April 12, 2012 at 2:18 am

Yep, Skip, it is AMAZING how great carrots are for us!

Green hair LOL


5 Tim Vicary April 12, 2012 at 3:58 am

Very interesting post. There is a 20 acre field of carrots outside my window, so I will look at them with much greater interest now. And from now on I will call every green-haired person I meet ‘carrot-top.’

I really admire your skill with photos and graphics. I can’t do that. But one thing I noticed last year. Some carrots develop split roots; the supermarkets don’t like that. But occasionally, one of the roots goes straight down, in the normal (masculine) way, while the other root twines around the first one in a loving affectionate spiral, very sexy and feminine. It looks beautiful, I think. Next time I find one I’ll take a photo and send it to you.


6 The Redhead Riter April 12, 2012 at 4:00 am

Wow, Tim! I would love to see a beautiful carrot field right outside the window. The leaves are supposed to smell really good, so surely you are able to smell a beautiful fragrance with that many altogether!

I have seen carrots that twine together and thing they ARE very sexy! Definitely send me a picture! Thanks!


7 Opal @ Celebrate LIfe April 12, 2012 at 4:57 am

Oh I love carrots, not only do they add a splash of color to whatever dish you add them too. I typically add them to a stir fry, sauces, soups, juicing, or roast them with other root vegetables, so delicious.

As you’ve mentioned, they have a lot of health benefits…

There was an interesting study done at the Jules Stine Institute that determined that women who ate carrots twice weekly, had a lower chance of glaucoma (damage to optic nerve) than those who didn’t. Towards the end of last year, I wrote an article about carrots.

Oh by the way, I just found your blog, by way of an odd message I was getting in Feedburner, turns out it tosses out random messages since mine now says… I love your site, so I’ll be back. 🙂

My Feeds like a little namespace to call their own


8 The Redhead Riter April 12, 2012 at 8:09 am

Thank you very much Opal! I’m so glad that you’ll be back!

I didn’t hear about that study at the Jules Stine Institute, but it definitely has my attention if it lowers the chance of glaucoma. Thanks so much for your comment!


9 Stéfan April 12, 2012 at 9:06 am

What a coincidence… I just made carrot soup yesterday; it was so good. Carrots are great.


10 The Redhead Riter April 12, 2012 at 9:07 am

Carrot soup….yummmmmm, Stéfan! I’ll be over tonight for leftovers 😉


11 andy April 12, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I love them raw, love them in salads, soups…you name it and you are my favorite Carrot Top, Red… 😀


12 The Redhead Riter April 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I love carrots too, Andy.

To answer your question from the other comment about my name…

Most people call me “Red” even in real life, but “Queen Red” or “Queen Sherry” REALLY has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?! Well, I do and since I’ve never been addressed as such or treated that way, I think I could get used to it without even being arrogant or snobby! LOL LOL LOL

I think I’m a bit punchy today LOL {{{huggssss}}}


13 Clare Actman April 15, 2012 at 6:41 am

Haha – feel like eating carrots now – they look so tasty in the picture.


14 The Redhead Riter April 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm

There are so tasted Clare!


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