Scientific Name: Daucus carota
Baby carrots (Daucus carota) are root vegetables originating from Europe. A baby carrot is a cultivar of carrot that has a smaller main root. This root vegetable is about the size of a finger and has a sweet flavor. A baby carrot's orange color is from alpha- and beta-carotene, which is precursors to vitamin A. It contains high nutritional content, especially vitamin A (276% daily value [DV]). Do not confuse with baby-cut carrots which are pieces cut from larger carrots.
Baby carrots contain a high amount of beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is converted to rhodopsin in the retina; the purple color needed for night vision. Beta-carotene improves vision and protects eyes from eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and night blindness. Alpha-carotene is part of the carotenoid family, which is known as a provitamin A precursor. Alpha- and beta-carotenes act as antioxidants.
Besides vitamin A, baby carrots have other benefits. Baby carrots are rich in antioxidants that strengthen the immune system, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and maintain healthy bones and skin. Antioxidants may protect cells from damage by removing free radicals from the body before they cause tissue damage that leads to chronic diseases. The dietary fiber (12% DV) in baby carrots helps with constipation. Baby carrots are also a delicious snacking alternative to chips or cookies.