Carrots, like other vegetables, contain a complex carbohydrate known as fiber. When you eat a high-fiber food like carrots, the fiber passes through your gastrointestinal tract without being digested and absorbed. Instead, the fiber combines with water to produce soft, bulky stools that travel easily through your intestines and out of your body. A diet rich in fiber helps avoid constipation and chronic digestive disorders such as diverticulosis and diverticulitis.
A single cup of grated raw carrots delivers 3.1 grams of fiber, 1 cup of chopped raw carrots contains 3.6 grams and the same amount of sliced carrots gives you 3.4 grams of fiber. A 1-cup serving of cooked frozen carrots offers 4.8 grams of fiber. Baby food carrots are more concentrated, with 0.7 grams of fiber in 1 ounce, or 5.6 grams in a 1-cup portion. A cup of carrot juice, however, holds only a paltry 1.9 grams of dietary fiber. Continuum Health Partners lists carrots as one of the top 20 high-fiber foods in the American diet.
If you're a man between the ages of 18 and 50, you should eat at least 38 grams of fiber a day, and women in the same age bracket need at least 25 grams. After age 50, men need 30 grams daily and women require 21 grams. Children need 10 grams of fiber a day, plus 1 gram for each year of age. A 5 year old, for example, should get at least 10 grams plus 5 grams, or 15g, of fiber from her food each day. One cup of chopped raw carrots represents almost 9.5 percent of the daily requirement for young adult men, a little over 17 percent of the recommended daily fiber intake for post-menopausal women and 24 percent of the daily fiber requirement for a 5 year old.
Boosting Fiber Content
Although carrots are fiber-rich on their own, they also combine well with other high-fiber foods. Build a colorful salad starting with fiber-rich greens such as spinach, toss in some fresh or frozen peas, drop in a handful of sweet corn kernels, shred carrots over the top and toss well. Shred carrots into your favorite recipes for breads and muffins, add a handful of carrots to stews and soups, keep sliced carrots in a container in your refrigerator or grab an individual package of carrots for a snack or lunch at work.
Eat raw carrots or choose healthy cooking methods to retain essential vitamins and minerals. Stay away from butter, sour cream, creamy sauces and other condiments that contain cholesterol and saturated fats. Substitute herbs, spices, lemon juice and other heart-healthy condiments.
- Continuum Health Partners: Bowel Function & Fiber
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Fiber Facts
- Cleveland Clinic: Fitting Fiber In
- American Heart Association: Fiber and Children's Diets