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Carrot vs Parsnip - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian by Christelle Tchakerian | Last updated on February 22, 2021
Education: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Carrot
vs
Parsnip

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 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.

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 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.

Nowadays, carrots and parsnips are becoming popular root vegetables with increased awareness about a healthy lifestyle. 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 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-calorie, low-fat, low-carb, and low glycemic index diets.

Nutrition

We will refer to the infographics below to compare the nutritional content of carrots and parsnips.

Minerals

The 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 mineral score of 8. Parsnip is richer in iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus. Parsnips contain 85.5% less sodium compared to carrots.

Both food items are equal in their calcium content.

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 Magnesium +141.7%
Contains more Phosphorus +102.9%
Contains more Potassium +17.2%
Contains less Sodium -85.5%
Contains more Zinc +145.8%
Contains more Copper +166.7%
Equal in Calcium - 36
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 10% 12% 9% 15% 29% 9% 7% 15%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 11% 23% 21% 31% 34% 2% 17% 40%
Contains more Iron +96.7%
Contains more Magnesium +141.7%
Contains more Phosphorus +102.9%
Contains more Potassium +17.2%
Contains less Sodium -85.5%
Contains more Zinc +145.8%
Contains more Copper +166.7%
Equal in Calcium - 36

Vitamins

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, 100g of carrots contains 16706 IU of vitamin A (provitamin A carotenoid), while parsnips contain none.

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 E +125.8%
Contains more Vitamin C +188.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +36.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +119.8%
Contains more Folate +252.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +70.5%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 1003% 14% 0% 20% 17% 14% 19% 17% 32% 15% 0% 33%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 30% 0% 57% 23% 12% 14% 36% 21% 51% 0% 57%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +16%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +40.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +53.3%
Contains more Vitamin E +125.8%
Contains more Vitamin C +188.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +36.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +119.8%
Contains more Folate +252.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +70.5%

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 300g of parsnips, while only 10% are covered by 300g of carrots.

Carrots contain fewer sugars. However, parsnips are 1.75 times richer in fiber than carrots.

Protein

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

Fats

Both foods are very low in fats.

Glycemic Index

Carrot has a notably lower glycemic index value compared to parsnip. The difference in glycemic index is 58 GI units.

Carrot is a low glycemic index food, while parsnips have a high glycemic index.

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. The results also showed the cardioprotective function of carrot juice by the mechanism of reduced lipid peroxidation (3).

Carrot extracts have been 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).


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 2 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 a 17% decrease in the risk of colorectal cancer given this high consumption.

A meta-analysis indicated that high consumption of carrots could 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 higher the antioxidant level (14). Moreover, vitamin C is an antioxidant with free-radical scavenging activity. Thus, it protects against 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.

Downsides and 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 and causing skin rashes (17).

PPD can also be caused by many vegetables of the carrot family (17). A study showed that sunscreen containing carrot extract might lead to PPD (18). A study has confirmed the allergenicity of carrots through 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 fat-soluble. 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.

References

  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. Folic acid, a B vitamin, lowers stroke risk in people with high blood pressure
  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
Education: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Last updated: February 22, 2021

Infographic

Carrot vs Parsnip infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to 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 Sugar ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Carrot Parsnip Opinion
Net carbs 6.78g 13.09g Parsnip
Protein 0.93g 1.2g Parsnip
Fats 0.24g 0.3g Parsnip
Carbs 9.58g 17.99g Parsnip
Calories 41kcal 75kcal Parsnip
Starch 1.43g g Carrot
Fructose 0.55g g Carrot
Sugar 4.74g 4.8g Carrot
Fiber 2.8g 4.9g Parsnip
Calcium 33mg 36mg Parsnip
Iron 0.3mg 0.59mg Parsnip
Magnesium 12mg 29mg Parsnip
Phosphorus 35mg 71mg Parsnip
Potassium 320mg 375mg Parsnip
Sodium 69mg 10mg Parsnip
Zinc 0.24mg 0.59mg Parsnip
Copper 0.045mg 0.12mg Parsnip
Vitamin A 16706IU 0IU Carrot
Vitamin E 0.66mg 1.49mg Parsnip
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 5.9mg 17mg Parsnip
Vitamin B1 0.066mg 0.09mg Parsnip
Vitamin B2 0.058mg 0.05mg Carrot
Vitamin B3 0.983mg 0.7mg Carrot
Vitamin B5 0.273mg 0.6mg Parsnip
Vitamin B6 0.138mg 0.09mg Carrot
Folate 19µg 67µg Parsnip
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 13.2µg 22.5µg Parsnip
Tryptophan 0.012mg mg Carrot
Threonine 0.191mg mg Carrot
Isoleucine 0.077mg mg Carrot
Leucine 0.102mg mg Carrot
Lysine 0.101mg mg Carrot
Methionine 0.02mg mg Carrot
Phenylalanine 0.061mg mg Carrot
Valine 0.069mg mg Carrot
Histidine 0.04mg mg Carrot
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0.037g 0.05g Carrot
Monounsaturated Fat 0.014g 0.112g Parsnip
Polyunsaturated fat 0.117g 0.047g Carrot

Which food is preferable for your diet?

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

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills 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 food.
Protein
6%
Carrot
7%
Parsnip
Carbohydrates
10%
Carrot
18%
Parsnip
Fats
1%
Carrot
1%
Parsnip

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 is lower in Sugar?
Carrot
Carrot is lower in Sugar (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 stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to 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.