Taste

Turns Out Eating Too Many Carrots Really Can Turn Your Skin Orange

Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-do, we've got a clinical condition for you.
03/22/2016 10:12am ET

Carrots are some of the most versatile veggies in the produce aisle.

Whether they're shredded in a salad, roasted in the oven, juiced for a smoothie or baked in a cake, carrots are an appropriate ingredient for every meal of the day.

But as nutritious and delicious as they are, carrots also prove that too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad. And by bad, we mean Oompa Loompa bad.

Fact: Eating too many carrots can actually turn your skin orange.

It's a medical condition known as carotenemia and, aside from the shock you'll get from seeing your skin turn a cartoonish color, the condition is generally harmless.

So, what's happening here?

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a natural pigment that gives the root vegetable its orange color. When you consume too many carrots -- or sweet potatoes, pumpkins, or any other food that is similarly high in carotene -- excess beta-carotene will enter the bloodstream and be stored under the skin, thus giving it a yellow, orange or golden tint.

What qualifies as "too many carrots" is different for each person since it depends on an individual's metabolism, but an average, healthy dosage of beta-carotene is six to eight milligrams a day. According to a Columbia University health blog, "for carotenemia to set in, you might have to consume as much as 20 milligrams per day (or, three large carrots)."

While the condition is seen in adults, it is most common in infants and children, according to the Scientific American. And, since carotene can be excreted in sweat, the color is usually most concentrated (and visible) on the palms of the hand, soles of the feet or on the face's laugh lines -- aka, the nasolabial folds.

But there is an upside to that unnaturally golden glow.

The body converts some of that beta-carotene into vitamin A, which helps to boost your immune system and maintains healthy vision and -- you guessed it -- healthy skin.

Plus, cooked carrots supply the body with an abundance of antioxidants and are a good source of fiber, vitamins C and K and potassium.

If you need some extra carotene in your diet, add carrots to your daily meal plan with the recipes below.

1
Easy Ranch Baby Carrots
Damn Delicious
Get the Easy Ranch Baby Carrots recipe from Damn Delicious
2
Sweet Carrots With Tarragon
Foodie Crush
Get the Sweet Carrots with Tarragon recipe from Foodie Crush
3
Shaved Carrot Salad With Pistachio And Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Feasting at Home
4
Roasted Carrots With Farro, Chickpeas And Herbed Crème Fraîche
Cookie + Kate
5
Ginger Carrot Soup
Foodie Crush
Get the Ginger Carrot Soup recipe from Foodie Crush
6
Honey Roasted Maple Carrots
Damn Delicious
Get the Honey Roasted Maple Carrots recipe from Damn Delicious
7
Carrot Ginger Pork Buns
The Woks Of Life
Get the Carrot Ginger Pork Buns recipe from The Woks Of Life
8
Pomegranate Roasted Carrots with Feta and Brown Butter
How Sweet It Is
9
Moroccan Carrot Salad With Millet
Naturally Ella
Get the Moroccan Carrot Salad with Millet recipe from Naturally Ella
10
Garlic Roasted Carrots
Damn Delicious
Get the Garlic Roasted Carrots recipe from Damn Delicious
11
Ginger Carrot Salad With Quinoa
Naturally Ella
Get the Ginger Carrot Salad with Quinoa recipe from Naturally Ella
12
One Bowl Carrot Apple Muffins
Minimalist Baker
Get the One Bowl Carrot Apple Muffins recipe from Minimalist Baker
13
Roasted Carrots And Couscous With Gremolata
Naturally Ella
14
Curry Roasted Carrots With Peanut Sauce
Minimalist Baker
15
Cashew Carrot Bread
A Beautiful Mess
Get the Cashew Carrot Bread recipe from A Beautiful Mess
16
Spiralized Broccoli-Stem Carrot Slaw With Dried Cranberries
Boulder Locavore
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