Study Finds Regular Snacking on This Vegetable Brings Significant Antioxidant Protection

By: May Man Published: Jul 08, 2024

Craving a snack of baby carrots during the week?

According to recent research, this could be a beneficial choice for your health.

Baby Carrots and Beta-Carotene Boost Skin Carotenoids

A new study indicates that munching on baby carrots just three times a week “significantly increased” skin carotenoids in young adults, as reported in a media release dated June 30.

Baby carrot sticks in a green bowl on a dark surface table

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When this nutritious snack was paired with a multivitamin containing the carotenoid beta-carotene, the levels of these phytonutrients saw an even greater boost.

Small Dietary Change

“Previous studies have demonstrated that skin carotenoid levels can be increased by consuming three times the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables every day for three weeks,” explained Mary Harper Simmons, a master’s student in nutrition science at Samford University in Alabama, in the release.

chicken breast, carrots, baby corn and scallions on a white plate

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“Our findings suggest that a small, simple dietary modification — incorporating baby carrots as a snack — can significantly increase skin carotenoid accumulation,” she added.

Carrots as Top Beta-Carotene Source and Gut Health Booster

Nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein, based in Los Angeles and not involved in this study, previously told Fox News Digital, “Carrots are the No. 1 food source of beta-carotene, which is a precursor for vitamin A that’s vital for our immune system.”

A bushel of carrots

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Muhlstein also noted that carrots’ fiber functions as a prebiotic, supporting gut health and overall immunity.

Essential for Immune Function and Eye Health

Alyssa Burnison, a registered dietitian from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, also spoke about the benefits of carrots.

A man is pictured getting his eyes tested by a doctor in a white coat

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She told Fox News Digital, “Carrots are commonly known for their rich sources of vitamin A and carotenoids, specifically beta-carotene,” adding that “Your body converts the beta-carotene to vitamin A, which has been known to support immune function and eye health.” Burnison was also not involved in the study.

Carotenoids in Skin

Carotenoids are the pigments responsible for the bright colors of many fruits and vegetables.

Crate of brightly colored raw vegetables

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Their levels in the skin can reflect fruit and vegetable intake, as diet is the sole source of these pigments.


Reduction of Chronic Illnesses

Higher skin carotenoid levels are linked to better antioxidant protection and a reduced risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and certain cancers.

A faceless doctor is holding a stethoscope up to a small plastic heart

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Carotenoids also indicate improved skin health and immune function.


Findings Presented

Simmons presented these study findings at Nutrition 2024, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).

Workers looking over research on a large table

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The event included scientific presentations, professional development, and networking opportunities.


60 Participants Involved in Study

In the study, researchers randomly assigned 60 young adults to different groups.

baby carrots in a wooden bowl

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These groups were given either a four-week intervention of Granny Smith apple slices (control), 100 grams (about half a cup) of baby carrots, a beta-carotene-containing multivitamin, or a combination of baby carrots and the supplement.


Measured with VeggieMeter

Skin carotenoids were measured using a noninvasive VeggieMeter before and after the intervention.

Carrots in a white bowl

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Results showed that skin carotenoid levels increased by 10.8% in the baby carrot group and by 21.6% in the carrot and supplement group, compared to pre-intervention levels.


No Effect from Supplement Alone

There were no changes in the control group or among those taking only the supplement.

Bottles and boxes of dietary supplements stacked on shelves and display stands inside a store.

Tiia Monto/Wikimedia Commons

The study noted that “since carotenoid accumulation was not increased by multivitamin supplementation alone, there could be differences in how carotenoids are absorbed, depending on whether they come from food or supplements.”


Further Research Awaits

The researchers are interested in exploring the mechanisms behind these findings further.

A bunch of washed spinach in a strainer.

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They also plan to study the effects of other carotenoid-rich foods, such as sweet potatoes and leafy greens.