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Food Facts Friday: Carrots in the Kidney Diet
Today is the launch of our new blog series, Food Fact Friday, and our first topic is carrots. Carrots contain a moderate amount of potassium and can healthfully be included in a kidney-friendly diet.
The United States Food and Drug Administration recommends that women consume 2 to 2-1/2 cups of vegetables and men consume 2-1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily. Unfortunately, many Americans do not meet the recommended daily intake for vegetables. This is not always an easy task when following a kidney-friendly diet. Limiting potassium intake while still consuming the recommended amount of vegetables and fruits can be difficult.
Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Most vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates, making them a great addition to meals and snacks, especially if weight control is a concern. Increased intake of vegetables has been linked to the prevention of chronic diseases. It is essential to consume a variety of vegetables to ensure intake of different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
This root vegetable is available year-round. Carrots are most commonly orange in color, but can also be white, purple, yellow, or red. A fun fact–carrots were the first vegetable to be commercially canned. Today carrots can be found in the grocery store in a variety of forms, including fresh, canned, and frozen. Consumed raw or cooked, carrots are a versatile vegetable and can be used in many different recipes from side dishes to main entrees to desserts.
Carrot Nutrition Facts
As with all non-starchy vegetables, carrots are low in calories and carbohydrates. One cup of raw carrots contains about 50 calories, 12 g of carbohydrates, and almost 4 g of fiber. Raw carrots contain about 200 mg of potassium in a 1/2 cup serving, therefore, monitoring serving size is important. Carrots may be boiled and then added to soups, stews, and as sides. By cooking the carrots separately some of the potassium is removed.. Carrots are naturally low in sodium and phosphorus and rich in vitamin A, which is important for vision. Carrots also contain calcium, vitamin C, folate, and a small amount of omega-6 fatty acids.
In the produce section of the grocery store you can find carrots bundled or in plastic bags peeled, sliced, shredded or packaged and labeled as “baby carrots.” Baby carrots are easy to consume because they require minimal preparation. You can easily pack them as a snack or part of your lunch away from home. Whole carrots are sold with or without the leafy tops. These require a little more preparation time because you will need to peel and chop them yourself.
When choosing fresh carrots you want to select carrots that are firm and crunchy. Avoid soft, soggy, and split carrots. Carrots should be vibrant in color and the leafy tops should be dark green, not wilted.
For the freshest carrots check out your local farmer’s market. Often the vegetables are picked the same morning. You may find carrot varieties that are not available in the grocery store. For additional ideas on produce from the farmer’s market read “30+ Healthy Low Potassium Farmer’s Market Food Finds“.
When choosing canned carrots make sure to select carrots that are not canned with additional sugar or syrup. If a low-sodium canned version is available, this is best.
Frozen carrots are usually found with other mixed vegetables in a medley. Frozen carrots are a safe option because they do not contain the added sugar or salt that may be found in canned carrots.
Carrots should be stored in the refrigerator in plastic bags with the tops removed. Enjoy for up to two weeks. Fresh carrots are delicious raw when they are still crisp and crunchy. As carrots get older they lose some of their crunch., This is a great time to cook carrots to save them from going bad and being thrown out.
Carrot Recipes from DaVita.com
Soups and Stews:
- Carrot and Jicama Salad
- Glazed Carrots
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, and Apples
- Carrot-Cucumber Salad
- Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower Salad
- Slow Cooker Chicken with Carrots and Green Beans
- Chicken with Apples Carrots and Grains
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Carrots and Cranberry Gravy
- All About the Vegetable Group. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables. January 3, 2018. Accessed February 11, 2018.
- Carrots: Nutrition, Selection, Storage. Fruit & Veggies More Matters. https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/carrots. 2008-2018. Accessed February 11, 2018.
- Basic Report 11124, carrots, raw. National Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2901. May 2016. Accessed February 11, 2018.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.