Beta-Carotene, Carrot Juice and Vitamin A
Carrot juice is a seriously powerful superfood (or should that be superdrink?). This is because the process of juicing releases far more of the carrots nutrients from the fibers and allows them to be easily assimilated by your digestive system.
The amount of beta-carotene and other beneficial vitamins, minerals and nutrients you absorb from a juiced carrot is much higher than when you eat a raw carrot.
That’s not to say raw carrots aren’t healthy. They definitely are and have a great crunchy texture and taste and a lot of fiber too. Carrot juice does lack that fiber, but because of this it’s much more potent in terms of health nutrients.
Most people I’ve introduced to it say they really feel a burst of energy after drinking a glass of carrot juice the first time. If you’ve never tried it before, you might be surprised just how good it makes you feel, particularly if you make carrot juice something you enjoy regularly.
Much of the information on carrot juice focuses on the vitamin A content. In fact, it is only potential vitamin A in the form of carotenoids like beta-carotene, sometimes called pro-vitamin A. This beta-carotene needs to be converted to retinol in the liver before it becomes true vitamin A and many factors can affect both its absorption and conversion.
Having some healthy dietary fat like a high quality fish oil or flaxseed oil for vegetarians around the same time as you drink your carrot juice should also aid absorption. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids like alpha carotene are fat-soluble and need some dietary fat present to be properly assimilated. This could be important for vegetarians and particularly vegans whose range of truly high vitamin A foods may be more limited.
Carrot Juice and Antioxidants
Personally, I feel that I am covered for vitamin A in the cod liver oil I take regularly and in the free range, organic eggs I love to eat. I drink carrot juice and the carotenoids in it primarily for the antioxidants and other health nutrients.
In fact, don’t really want them converting to vitamin A. I’d rather they were left circulating in my body where research suggests they benefit your eyes and skin; help to clear your liver of toxic compounds; aid a healthy cardiovascular and circulatory system; provide protection against various cancers; and impart a general alkalizing and anti-inflammatory effect on the entire body.
As important as vitamin A is, there is much more carrot juice can do for your health and energy. If you’re a little low on vitamin A a glass of carrot juice should top you up. For the rest of the time, drinking it regularly is one of the best things you can do to increase your energy and enjoy better health.