Carrots are an edible root. The vegetable can be used in many ways. Carrots are often eaten in salads and can be consumed raw or cooked. Carrots are typically orange, but Asian varieties come in an assortment of colors, such as yellow, white, purple and red. Carrots, along with their green foliage, contain many important nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
Carrots are a member of the umbelliferae family (named after the umbrella-type flower this family produces), which includes parsnips, cumin, and dill. More than 100 varieties of carrots exist in many shapes and sizes. Carrots can grow anywhere from two inches to three feet in length. The carrot roots have a crunchy texture and a sweet taste, while the greens possess a slight bitter taste.
A characteristic of carrots is that they contain beta-carotenes, a component found in orange vegetables. Carotenes are a source of vitamin A, which is needed for the growth and healing of body tissues. Vitamin A also helps maintain smooth, soft skin, improves eyesight, and assists in forming bones and teeth.
Carrot is a vitamin-rich vegetable. It provides an excellent resource for vitamins B, C, D and E. Carrots are made up of more than 80 percent water and are plentiful in mineral salts. In their raw form, carrots possess potassium, thiamin, folic acid and magnesium. When cooked, carrots contain a source of vitamin A, potassium, copper and vitamin B6.
If someone eats too many carrots, it can result in turning the person's skin a yellowish-orange color, known as carotenemia. This condition most often appears on the hands or feet. The condition clears up when the intake of carrots is lowered.
While carrots are sweeter than many vegetables, they are stocked with fiber, helping eaters to maintain a healthy insulin level. Carrots also are high in antioxidants, which assist with slowing the aging process and prevent cell damage.