By Dr. Kristy
A glass of fresh squeezed, pure carrot juice has a deliciously sweet flavor that’s a treat for the taste buds. Pre-packaged carrot juice that’s sold at some health food stores can’t quite match the flavor of pure carrot juice made using a juicer at home. Some people shy away from drinking carrot juice because of its high natural sugar content. In the days of the Atkin low carbohydrate diet plan, drinking carrot juice lost some of its popularity since carrots weren’t Atkins approved. Is carrot juice healthy?
Is Carrot Juice Healthy? The Health Benefits of Carrot Juice
Carrots are one of the very best sources of beta-carotenes – some of which are converted to vitamin A in the body. This system is self-regulated by the body’s needs. When the body has enough vitamin A, less beta-carotene is converted to A, but when supplies of vitamin A are low, beta-carotene helps to supply the shortfall.
Vitamin A is important for vision, especially night vision, but it also plays an important role in keeping the skin healthy. A deficiency of vitamin A causes dry skin. Not only does too little vitamin A dry out the skin, it causes dry eyes too – a condition where the eyes don’t produce enough tears to lubricate the eye. In severe cases, this can lead to fissures and erosions on the surface of the eye that threatens the ability to see. Vitamin A may also play a role in cancer prevention – although more studies are needed to confirm this.
Even beta-carotene that isn’t converted to vitamin A has benefits, since beta carotene a strong antioxidant that helps to protect cells against damage. Carrots and pure carrot juice are one of the richest sources of beta-carotenes on the produce stand, although sweet potatoes and pumpkin are also high in A.
Is Carrot Juice Healthy?: The Nutritional Value of Carrots
Carrots are a good source of vitamins including vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B1, B6, B3, and the minerals potassium and magnesium. Potassium and magnesium are important for maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure.
Is Carrot Juice Healthy? Maybe Not for Diabetics
Carrot juice is high in natural sugar which can be a problem for diabetics. Carrots are a high glycemic food with a glycemic index of around 86 which means drinking carrot juice can cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels. This makes it difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugars. For this reason, diabetics should check with their doctor before drinking carrot juice. The blood sugar effect can be lessened by mixing carrot juice half-and-half with water.
Another option is to eat fresh carrots instead of drinking carrot juice since the fiber helps to stabilize blood sugars. Carrots have a high glycemic index, but a low glycemic load which means you’d have to eat quite a few carrots to adversely affect blood sugar levels. Because lots of carrots are needed to make a glass of pure carrot juice, the glycemic load will be higher drinking carrot juice than it will be eating a plate of carrots.
Is Carrot Juice Healthy? The Bottom Line
Drinking carrot juices is healthy from a vitamin and mineral standpoint, but it’s high in natural sugar with a fairly high glycemic load. Eating fresh carrots with their lower glycemic load and higher fiber content is a better option for diabetics and those who try to control their weight. If you drink carrot juice, do it in moderation – and eat more carrots instead.
World’s Healthiest Foods website. “Carrots”