Carrot juice health benefits – from your heart to your skin.

What does the research say about the juice of this popular veg?


Emma Thornton
Qualified Nutritionist (ANutr)
@EmmaThornton
Ask Emma


10 February 2017

How it all began with carrots

Carrots are an excellent source of α- and β-carotene, as well as a number of other naturally occurring vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, potassium and vitamin C

Nowadays, most of us have finally come to terms with the fact that nutrition has a significant part to play in terms of our health – you are what you eat after all! And here to help you along the way is Biotta and their fantastic range of juices.

Carrot juice research

Carrot juice is rich in α- and β-carotene, both of which are antioxidants that are absorbed and converted into Vitamin A in the body. Antioxidants help to counteract free radicals in the body and these ones in particular are thought to be involved in supporting the health of your skin, heart, immune function and eyes, to name a few, as well as helping to generally keep inflammation under control.

Studies have shown that drinking up to 330ml of carrot juice daily for just two weeks can significantly increase the concentration of α-carotene and β-carotene in your body by up to 8.6 and 3.2 times respectively1. This indicates that vegetable juices offer a high bio-availability of these important nutrients – meaning we can absorb and make use of them, bonus! If you consume something more processed or synthetic (this may include some types of commercial multivitamins), then you could be running the risk of your body not quite knowing what to do with it – absorption could be affected as a result.

So, as we know, we should be aiming to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. The consumption of fruit and vegetables is positively associated with a reduction in the risk of heart disease and overall mortality2 – definitely a good incentive then. Fruit and vegetables contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which help to protect our body’s cells. 

Carotenoids are one of these, an important group of antioxidants that tend to present themselves in distinctive, bright colours such as reds, oranges and yellows. Interestingly, the same pattern exists with carotenoids and death3 and cardiovascular disease4 as with fruit and vegetables in general – the more we have, the lower the chance we have of becoming ill. 

When taken in through food, (apart from having positive effects on our rates of heart disease), it seems that natural carotenoids such as β-carotene are thought to be particularly readily distributed in quite specific areas of your body, such as your skin and in the eyes. Research has shown that β-carotene and lycopene (another red carotenoid found in tomatoes) are actually able to help protect your skin from sun damage!5. Another perk to add to the list then, and perhaps the reason why people living abroad following a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet have such a healthy, sun-kissed glow about them!

Let’s not stop there, β-carotene is also thought to help support the immune system – support being the operative word here. This is an important concept and it’s the same for the likes of the herb Echinacea – it appears to modulate immune function, rather than stimulating it and sending it into overdrive. 

A study on healthy men (including participants who typically had a low-carotenoid diet) subjected partakers to a 2 week period of drinking 330ml of tomato or carrot juice daily, followed by an additional 2 week period of omitting the juice once more. Results showed that during the depletion period, the men actually saw a significant increase in immune functions. This suggests that the introduction of the juices actually helped to modulate the functions of the immune system6, interesting! 

So, it appears that carrot juice does have quite a lot going for it! I also like the idea that the specific range of vitamins and minerals occurring naturally in certain foods and their juices, can actually work so well in combination to better your health – as nature intended after all. So in our humble little glass of carrot juice we have the β-carotene and Vitamin C, working away quietly in the background in order to protect the simple cells of our cardiovascular system. Then, we have other minerals like potassium helping to maintain your blood pressure, so that there’s less pressure on the delicate cells of your blood vessels in the first place! Just fascinating.

So, it appears Biotta knew what they were doing producing this little number! Biotta are proud to have specialised in producing organic, freshly pressed juices since 1957, and perhaps there’s good reason as to why Biotta Carrot Juice made from Thurgau carrots is their original variety! It’s a bit like having your very own natural multivitamin – not to mention, an extremely tasty multivitamin! Go on, give it a try.

 

1. Müller, H., Bub, A., Watzl, B. et al.Plasma concentrations of carotenoids in healthy volunteers after intervention with carotenoid-rich foods. Eur J Nutr 1999, 38(1): (35-44).2. Liu, S., et al. Intake of vegetables rich in carotenoids and risk of coronary heart disease in men: The Physicians’ Health Study. Int. J. Epidemiol. 2001, 30(1), (130-135)3. Ray, A.L., at el. Low serum selenium and total carotenoids predict mortality among older women living in the community: The women’s health and aging studies. J. Nutr. 2006, 136(1), (172-176)4.Voutilainen, S. et al. Carotenoids and cardiovascular health. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006, 83(6), (1265-1271)5. Stahl, W. & Sies, H. Carotenoids and flavonoids contribute to nutritional protection against skin damage from sunlight. Mol Biotechnol. 2007, 37(1) (26-30)6. Watzl, B. Et al. Supplementation of a low-carotenoid diet with tomato or carrot juice modulates immune functions in healthy men. Ann Nutr Metab. 2003, 47(6), (255-261)

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