Carrots: A Bit of Sun at the End of the Fork


“Carrot juice is good for your complexion.” “Carrots make you lovable!” “Eat your carrots, they’ll give you rosy thighs!” You may have heard that carrot juice improves your complexion, but the other two ideas are old wives’ tales in France, where they are oft-heard but little-believed. However...

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene

To better understand those French sayings, let’s take a close look at carrots. Carrots are very rich (12,000 μg/100 g!) in a compound that even shares their name: beta-carotene, or provitamin A. Though carrots are the all-round leaders in everything beta-carotene, they are not the only vegetables to contain it: parsley (6000 μg/100 g); fresh chervil (5000 μg/100 g); Swiss chard, red kuri squash, lamb’s lettuce, and spinach (around 4000 μg/100 g); and fennel and bell peppers (around 3000 μg/100 g) are also rich in this important compound.

In comparison, the recommended daily value is 800 micrograms of vitamin A retinol equivalent per day for men and 600 micrograms per day for women (ANSES). According to recommendations, 60% of intake should come from carotenoids, or between 2000 and 2500 micrograms per day.

But what relationship exists between beta-carotene and a tan complexion?

It’s simple: beta-carotene is the yellow or orange pigment that lends its color to carrots…or to your skin, as soon as you add it to the menu! When this natural pigment is consumed in sufficient quantities in foods, you can see a light, orange coloring to the skin. That’s enough to justify drinking carrot juice for your complexion, as well as the old wives’ tale in France that carrots give you rosy thighs. As for them making you lovable, maybe if your skin is tanned, everyone will like you—and apparently it will do wonders for your character too. It would seem that munching on a carrot should be enough to cheer anyone up!

Why should you keep eating them?

This pretty complexion disappears as soon as you stop eating a high quantity of foods rich in beta-carotene. So don’t wait: try some grated carrots, Swiss chard au gratin, lamb’s lettuce salads, roasted bell peppers, and fennel salads, not to forget the juice of these raw vegetables, all that to preserve your summer color and keep the sweet feeling of summer alive.