Foodstruct
Advanced Nutrition Search | Diet Analysis | Glycemic index chart

Carrot vs Parsnip - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

Compare
Carrot
vs
Parsnip

INTRODUCTION 

Carrots and parsnips are root vegetables belonging to the Apiaceae family (family of parsley and celery). Parsnips are richer in minerals. They are cheaper than carrots with a difference of around 0.4$. These vegetables may have a long shelf life given they are stored in a cool place in a way to avoid the loss of their moisture content (1). Both vegetables can be consumed in a variety of ways such as baked, boiled, fried, sauteed, roasted, steamed, and grilled. Both carrots and parsnips are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. With increased awareness about a healthy lifestyle nowadays, carrots and parsnips are becoming popular root vegetables. They are easy additions to one’s diet. Let’s compare and contrast visuals to discuss how these two items are nutritionally similar or different along with the benefits associated with these foods.

TASTE

Different carrots have distinct tastes. These flavors range from bitter to sweet. Usually, carrots are generally sweet. On the other hand, parsnips have a spicy sweetness taste. Both carrots and parsnips have hardy wood-like hard structures when raw. 

WEIGHT LOSS AND DIETS

Since parsnips and carrots are low in calories and high in fiber they contribute to satiety. They allow one to feel full, thus reducing the number of snacks between meals (by inhibiting the production of ghrelin hormone). Lower energy density allows for a higher volume of food to be consumed. This helps people feel fuller while consuming fewer calories. Moreover, eating foods rich in fiber helps stabilize blood sugar and prevent crashes. Carrots are preferred over parsnips in low calories, low fats, low carbs, and low glycemic index diets. 

NUTRITION

We will refer to the infographics to compare the nutritional content of carrots and parsnips. Mineral comparison score is given according to the number of minerals by which one food or another is richer. Carrot was given a score of 0 while parsnip was given a score of 8. Parsnip has more iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus. Parsnip contains 85.5% less sodium compared to carrot. Both food items are equal in their calcium content. Vitamin comparison score shows the number of vitamins by which one or another food is richer. Carrot received a vitamin score of 4 while parsnip received a vitamin score of 6. Carrot is richer in vitamin B3, vitamin B6, and vitamin B2. Meanwhile, parsnip is richer in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and vitamin K. It is worthy of noting that parsnips contain 252.6% more folate than carrots. Finally, 100 g of carrots contains 16706 IU of vitamin A (provitamin A carotenoid), while 100 g of parsnips contains none. Both foods are very low in fats. Parsnips contain 1.75 times more fiber than carrots.

CALORIES

Parsnips are around 1.82 times higher in calories compared to carrots.

CARBOHYDRATES

Parsnips are 1.88 times higher in carbohydrates than carrots. 18% of daily carbohydrate needs are covered by 300 g of parsnips while only 10% are covered by 300 g of carrots. Carrots contain fewer sugars.

PROTEIN

Parsnips are higher in protein than carrots. 7% of daily carbohydrate needs are covered by 300 g of parsnips. On the other hand, 6% of protein’s daily needs are covered by 300 g of carrots.

GLYCEMIC INDEX

Carrot is lower in glycemic index compared to parsnip. The difference in glycemic index is 13 GI units. 

HEALTH BENEFITS

CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

Studies show that high beta-carotene levels found in carrots may protect against cardiovascular disease (2). Moreover, another study explored the effects of carrot juice on cardiovascular health (3). The results revealed that consuming 16 fluid ounces of freshly squeezed carrot juice for three months enhances the cardiovascular system by increasing the body’s antioxidant status (3). The results also showed the cardioprotective function of carrot juice by the mechanism of reduced lipid peroxidation (3). Carrot extracts have shown to lower the risk of myocardial infarction in rats (4). Furthermore, a study showed an inverse relationship between consumption of beta-carotene rich fruits and vegetables and  cardiovascular disease-related mortality (5).
Likewise, parsnips have a high potassium content. It is understood that by reducing blood pressure and controlling heart rate, potassium protects heart health. Additionally, parsnips are rich in folate. Folate reduces the odds of having a stroke (6). Moreover, parsnips have a high fiber content. Adequate fiber in the diet helps reduce the odds of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease (7). In conclusion, parsnips and carrots have cardioprotective and heart health-promoting attributes.  

DIABETES

A study showed that carrot powder prevented high blood sugar in type 1 diabetic rats (8). Carrots are non-starchy vegetables. According to the American Diabetes Association, half of one’s plate can be filled with carrots as weight loss and knowing what to eat are essential to regulating blood sugar in type two diabetic patients (9). Regarding parsnips, they are high in antioxidants. It has been hypothesized that antioxidants have a preventive effect on the development of diabetes type 2 (10). Moreover, both parsnips and carrots are high in fiber. Fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels.

CANCER

A study explored the effect of high carrot consumption (32 g of raw carrot per day) on the risk of colorectal cancer. The results showed that there was a 17% decrease in the risk of colorectal cancer given this high consumption. A meta-analysis indicated that high consumption of carrot may decrease the risk of breast cancer (11). Furthermore, a study revealed that carrot consumption could be inversely correlated with the odds of prostate cancer (12). Parsnips may also play a role in the prevention of cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, parsnips contain cancer-fighting folate (13). The smaller the parsnip, the more the antioxidant level (14). Moreover, vitamin C is an antioxidant with free-radical scavenging activity. Thus, it protects from cancer. The fact that parsnips are rich in vitamin C may indicate their role in cancer prevention. A study showed the possible chemoprotective effects of polyacetylenes extracted from carrot and parsnip and their cytotoxic activities (15). Therefore, to a certain extent, parsnips and carrots may have chemoprotective and cancer-preventing effects.

HEALTH RISKS

ALLERGY

There have been reports of phytophotodermatitis when picking parsnips (16). Phytophotodermatitis (PPD) is a skin-related inflammatory response that occurs as a result of a class of compounds known as furanocoumarins reacting in the presence of light causing skin rashes (17). PPD can be also caused by many vegetables of the carrot family (17). A study showed that carrot extract containing sunscreen may lead to PPD (18). A study has confirmed the allergenicity of carrots by means of a double-blinded placebo-controlled food challenge (19). 

TOXICITY

Carrots are rich in vitamin A. Overconsumption of vitamin A may lead to toxicity as this vitamin is a fat-soluble one. It’s important to note that the toxicity is mainly triggered by the overuse of vitamin A supplementation and not by the overconsumption of the carrot itself.

SUMMARY

Both carrots and parsnips are rich in biologically active substances that contribute to one’s health. Parsnips are richer in minerals. Carrots are recommended for people following a low fat, low carb, low calorie, or low glycemic index diets. These foods have been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects. In a nutshell, these foods are great inclusions in one’s diet.

SOURCES

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123849472007145
  2. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.313409
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3192732/
  4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/26517170
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8520706/
  6. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/folic-acid-a-b-vitamin-lowers-stroke-risk-in-people-with-high-blood-pressure-201503187810
  7. https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6879
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6047871/
  9. https://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/diaclin/25/3/104.full.pdf
  10. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/2/362#
  11.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6156046/
  12. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260149876
  13. https://www.aicr.org/resources/blog/the-joy-of-parsnips/
  14. https://sites.udel.edu/chs-udfoodlab/2017/03/13/march-parsnips/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15796588/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1343418/pdf/jaccidem00033-0059.pdf
  17. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1119566-overview
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29469776/
  19. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091674901421269
Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian
Profession: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Last updated: February 22, 2021

Infographic

Carrot vs Parsnip infographic
Copy infographic link

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Carrot
0
:
Contains more Iron +96.7%
Contains more Potassium +17.2%
Contains more Magnesium +141.7%
Contains more Copper +166.7%
Contains more Zinc +145.8%
Contains more Phosphorus +102.9%
Contains less Sodium -85.5%
Equal in Calcium - 36
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 12% 10% 29% 9% 15% 7% 15% 9%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 23% 11% 34% 21% 40% 17% 31% 2%
Contains more Iron +96.7%
Contains more Potassium +17.2%
Contains more Magnesium +141.7%
Contains more Copper +166.7%
Contains more Zinc +145.8%
Contains more Phosphorus +102.9%
Contains less Sodium -85.5%
Equal in Calcium - 36

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Carrot
4
:
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +16%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +40.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +53.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +188.1%
Contains more Vitamin E +125.8%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +36.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +119.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +70.5%
Contains more Folate +252.6%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 20% 1003% 14% 0% 17% 14% 19% 17% 32% 0% 33% 15%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 57% 0% 30% 0% 23% 12% 14% 36% 21% 0% 57% 51%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +16%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +40.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +53.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +188.1%
Contains more Vitamin E +125.8%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +36.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +119.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +70.5%
Contains more Folate +252.6%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

Summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfils human daily needs, the more the summary score is
Vitamin Summary Score
98
Carrot
25
Parsnip
Mineral Summary Score
13
Carrot
22
Parsnip

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Protein
6%
Carrot
7%
Parsnip
Carbohydrates
10%
Carrot
18%
Parsnip
Fats
1%
Carrot
1%
Parsnip

Comparison summary table

Pay attention at the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Carrot Parsnip
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sugars ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable in case of diets?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Carrot Parsnip
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Parsnip
Parsnip contains less Sodium (difference - 59mg)
Which food is cheaper?
Parsnip
Parsnip is cheaper (difference - $0.4)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Parsnip
Parsnip is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Sugars?
Carrot
Carrot contains less Sugars (difference - 0.06g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Carrot
Carrot is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.013g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Carrot
Carrot is lower in glycemic index (difference - 58)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be definitely stated which food is richer in vitamins. See charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

In the column "Opinion" we made some assumptions which could be controversial. For instance we are assuming that less saturated fats is good for you. Please ignore this column if you have your own opinion.We marked the nutrients, comparison of which we considered as not meaningful, as "N/A"
Nutrient Carrot Parsnip Opinion
Calories 41 75 Parsnip
Protein 0.93 1.2 Parsnip
Fats 0.24 0.3 Parsnip
Vitamin C 5.9 17 Parsnip
Carbs 9.58 17.99 Parsnip
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 0.3 0.59 Parsnip
Calcium 33 36 Parsnip
Potassium 320 375 Parsnip
Magnesium 12 29 Parsnip
Sugars 4.74 4.8 Carrot
Fiber 2.8 4.9 Parsnip
Copper 0.045 0.12 Parsnip
Zinc 0.24 0.59 Parsnip
Starch 1.43 Carrot
Phosphorus 35 71 Parsnip
Sodium 69 10 Parsnip
Vitamin A 16706 0 Carrot
Vitamin E 0.66 1.49 Parsnip
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.066 0.09 Parsnip
Vitamin B2 0.058 0.05 Carrot
Vitamin B3 0.983 0.7 Carrot
Vitamin B5 0.273 0.6 Parsnip
Vitamin B6 0.138 0.09 Carrot
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 13.2 22.5 Parsnip
Folate 19 67 Parsnip
Trans Fat 0 0
Saturated Fat 0.037 0.05 Carrot
Monounsaturated Fat 0.014 0.112 Parsnip
Polyunsaturated fat 0.117 0.047 Carrot
Tryptophan 0.012 Carrot
Threonine 0.191 Carrot
Isoleucine 0.077 Carrot
Leucine 0.102 Carrot
Lysine 0.101 Carrot
Methionine 0.02 Carrot
Phenylalanine 0.061 Carrot
Valine 0.069 Carrot
Histidine 0.04 Carrot
Fructose 0.55 Carrot

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented seperately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links of the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Carrot - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170393/nutrients
  2. Parsnip - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170417/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.