All types of carrots are highly nutritious, but purple carrots are especially rich in powerful antioxidants known to fight inflammation and benefit certain health conditions.
Though most people envision an orange vegetable when picturing a carrot, carrots were originally purple or white.
In fact, the first evidence of carrots being used as a food crop was in the Iranian Plateau and the Persian Empire in the 10th century AD — these ancient carrots were purple and white (1Trusted Source).
The modern, orange carrot likely originated from a new breed of yellow carrots, which were developed as a result of a genetic mutation.
Red and purple carrots are considered Eastern varieties, while yellow, orange, or white carrots are known as Western-type carrots.
The Eastern-type carrots have been largely replaced by the orange Western types that are common in today’s grocery stores.
What makes purple carrots nutritionally unique is their content of the antioxidants anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins belong to the polyphenol family of antioxidants and are found in purple fruits and vegetables like blackberries, grapes, purple potatoes, purple cabbage, and purple carrots (3Trusted Source).
Antioxidants like anthocyanins help protect your body from oxidative stress, which refers to an imbalance between reactive molecules called free radicals and antioxidants in your body.
Oxidative stress has been linked to health conditions such as cancer, mental decline, heart disease, and aging (4Trusted Source).