Is Carrot Juice Better Than Eating Whole Carrots?
Both whole raw carrots and freshly juiced carrot juice provide healthy carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, are there benefits to fresh carrot juice over snacking on entire whole carrots?
Carrots are one example of a food that may be more beneficial in juicing recipes than when eaten raw depending on what benefits you are trying achieve. Carrots are well known for their high content of Vitamin A which comes from the orange pigment/color in carrots called beta carotene. 1 Vitamin A is necessary for healthy eyesight, skin, growth, and also aids our bodies in resisting infection. 2
However, some research has claimed the fiber in carrots reduces the bioavailability of vitamin A and other nutrients. Because juicing helps eliminate the hard to digest fiber, and breaks down the cellulose, releasing nutrient compounds and making them available for absorption, the nutrients are more available to the body than if the carrot was eaten whole. For example, one particular study indicated that when you eat a raw carrot, you are only able to absorb about 3% of the beta-carotene while pulping the carrots ( similar to what happens when you juice) substantially increased the available levels of beta-carotene. 3 In a study conducted by Toronnen et al (1996) 3, the serum beta-carotene response in women was almost twice as high after consumption of carrot juice compared with raw carrots.
One of the sacrifices you make when you juice carrots versus eating the whole carrot is that you lose a substantial amount of the fiber. But with just a little creativity you can have the best of both worlds. Drinking the fresh juice will provide you with all the nutrients in a bio-available form to optimize the nutrient absorption, but do not throw out the carrot pulp when you are done. You can of course enjoy the pulp as is, but you can also add this pulp to many traditional baking recipes such as muffins, breads or soups to retain the fiber and additional nutrients still locked into the carrot pulp.
In addition to Carrot juice being one of the richest sources of vitamin A, it is also a good source of the other vitamins such as vitamin C, B vitamins, Vitamin E and has a wide range of minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, chlorine, sulfur, and iron.
The Rainbow of Carrot Nutrition
“”Did you know that there are many different carrot varieties on the market that have very distinct tastes and nutrient profiles? Many people don’t realize that carrots come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Some carrots are a brilliant purple while others are yellow and even white!
Because different phyto-nutrients are associated with different colors you can very different nutrient profiles depending on the color of the carrot.
Red carrots derive their color mainly from lycopene, a type of carotene believed to guard against heart disease and some cancers. Yellow carrots contain xanthophylls, pigments similar to beta-carotene that support good eye health. Purple carrots have an entirely different class of pigments?anthocyanins?which act as powerful antioxidants. 3
Carrots overall are a great addition to most healthy juice recipes especially when you are creating a more green type of juice. They add sweetness and a richness that will compliment or mask most recipes that call for strong tasting ingredients.
When possible, try to use organic carrots which are typically available in most grocery stores as well as health food stores. They are not that much more expensive than traditionally grown so are one of the vegetables that can be cost effectively included in your diet.
For Popular Carrot Juicer Recipes Click Here: Carrot Juice Recipes
3 http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v56/n5/full/1601329a.html#bib25 Torronen R, Lehmusaho M, Hakkinen S, Hanninen O, Mykkanen H. (1996). Serum -carotene response to supplememtation with raw carrots, carrot juice or purified -carotene in healthy non-smoking women. Nutr. Res., 16: 565-575.