Yes, carrots are good for you. But there is one downside of overconsumption.

While many grocery stores in the United States usually carry just one type of carrot, there are actually more than 500 different varieties of the vegetable available worldwide. In Canada and Australia, Nantes carrots are one type that's commonly offered in markets and grown in local gardens. Kuroda carrots are the variety sold in Africa and Asia; and Chantenay carrots are the most popular type offered across many parts of Europe. In the U.S., the most commonly sold carrot varieties are Danvers and Imperator carrots - both of which resemble the other.

Carrots aren't always orange, either. Though that is their most typical color, some variants are purple, white, red, and yellow. And while the origin of carrots is not universally known, the oldest documented instance of the vegetable's existence dates back to Iran, some 1,200 years ago.

No matter where carrots got their start or which variety you prefer, the vegetable offers a host of health benefits.

Are carrots good for you?

For starters, carrots contain protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamin C, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Carrots also contain beta-carotene, which helps the body create vitamin A," says Amber Schaefer, a registered dietitian nutritionist for Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She explains that vitamin A is important for good vision, reproductive health, skin health and for the development of bones.

A medium carrot also contains about 195 milligrams of potassium, "which helps with muscle contraction and nerve function," says Kristina Cooke, a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Carrots are also a good source of antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and boost one's immunity. And they contain luteolin, which can help with cognitive function.

Perhaps best of all, carrots "are rich in dietary fiber, with a single medium carrot containing nearly 2 grams," says Dr. Uma Naidoo, director of nutritional and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist behind “Calm Your Mind with Food." She explains that fiber is important for digestive health and can promote regular bowel movements and stave off constipation and bloating. It can also help with blood sugar control and improved heart health.

Dietary fiber: Are you getting enough of it and did you know it helps control cholesterol?

The fiber content of carrots is also helpful with healthy weight management as a single carrot contains only 25 calories, but still leaves one with feelings of satiety or fullness.

What are carrots good for?

Beyond their health benefits, carrots are also popular because of their versatility, accessibility and affordability, says Naidoo. "And they are a vegetable that is great both raw and cooked," she adds. Cooke praises the fact that carrots are one vegetable that's available year-round, "and can be found fresh, frozen or pickled."

And their unexpected sweetness - a medium carrot contains close to 5 grams of natural sugars - means that carrots can be included as easily in a cup of chicken noodle soup as in a slice of carrot cake, says Schaefer.

Some other popular recipes or dishes that utilize carrots include roasted or glazed carrots, carrot hummus, raw cut carrots dipped in salad dressing, carrot wellington, carrot slaw, carrot-ginger soup, carrot muffins and cupcakes, spicy Asian pasta, carrot fries, or as a green salad topping or side dish alongside steak, chicken or a Crock Pot chuck roast. "Carrots are also easy to drink as a juice or in a smoothie," adds Schaefer.

Are there any downsides to eating carrots?

But it isn't all good news. The beta carotene in carrots is what gives the vegetable their color, but it can also affect people. "Consuming too many carrots may cause your skin to turn orange in color over time - a condition called carotenemia," says Schaefer. "This can be reversed by reducing how often you eat foods containing carotene in your diet." She also adds that this is a more common occurrence in infants and young children, and its happening, "is not a sign of toxicity."

People allergic to carrots or birch, mugwort, ivy or celery need also be careful; and people with diabetes need to avoid overconsumption of the vegetable because of its high sugar content.

Aside from such considerations, most people benefit greatly by including carrots and plenty of other vegetables in their regular diet, which can be done a variety of ways. "Get creative when cooking carrots," recommends Cooke. "You can enjoy them as a snack with a dip, cooked, added alongside your favorite dishes, or even as an ingredient in favorite desserts."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Are carrots good for you? Yes, but be careful not to eat too many