It is the antioxidant beta-carotene that gives carrots their bright orange color. Beta-carotene is absorbed in the intestine and converted into vitamin A during digestion. Carrots also contain fiber, vitamin K, potassium, folate, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc.
Cancer: A variety of dietary carotenoids have been shown to have anti-cancer effects due to their antioxidant power in reducing free radicals in the body.
Lung Cancer: One study found that current smokers who did not consume carrots had three times the risk of developing lung cancer compared with those who ate carrots more than once a week.
Colorectal Cancer: Beta-carotene consumption has been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer.
Leukemia: Carrot juice extract was shown to kill leukemia cells and inhibit their progression.
Prostate Cancer: Among younger men, diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer.
Vision: According to Duke ophthalmologist Jill Koury, MD, vitamin A deficiency causes the outer segments of the eye's photoreceptors to deteriorate, damaging normal vision. Correcting vitamin A deficiencies with foods high in beta-carotene will restore vision.
Studies have shown that it is unlikely that most people will experience any significant positive changes in their vision from eating carrots unless they have an existing vitamin A deficiency, which is common in developing countries.
The antioxidants and phytochemicals in carrots may also help with blood sugar regulation, delay the effects of aging, and improve immune function.