Vitamins in Carrots: Which Vitamins You Get From Carrots
Carrots are one of nature’s more nutrient-rich foods. They provide vitamins A and C, and provide a generous helping of fiber. They can be a side dish, a seasoning or a snack. The orange carrot we eat today was developed in Holland during the Middle Ages, derived from the native Middle East carrot, which was purple on the outside and yellow on the inside. Carrots are so rich in vitamin A that you can satisfy your daily requirement for it with just one tablespoon of cooked carrots.
To get as much vitamin A as there is in one medium carrot, you’d have to eat nine broccoli spears. Vegetable sources of vitamin A contain the beta carotenes, which are converted in your body to the vitamin. The vitamin is important for vision and for maintaining the health of epithelial cells, which are found in skin and the lining of some organs.
What’s in a Carrot?
One seven-inch carrot has about 200 percent of your needed daily requirement for vitamin A. You can satisfy the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A with just one tablespoon of cooked carrots or two or three carrot sticks. You would have to eat nine broccoli spears to get as much vitamin A as there is in one carrot. Vitamin A isn’t the only vitamin in carrots. One medium carrot provides about 10 percent of daily vitamin C requirements and about 8 percent of fiber needs. All this and one medium carrot has only 35 calories. Of course, carrots are fat free.
What’s Vitamin A?
Your body uses vitamin A for vision and for maintaining the health of epithelial cells, which are found in skin and in the lining of your lungs, intestinal tract, urinary tract and vagina. The vitamin A in vegetables is from a precursor called beta carotene, which your body converts to the vitamin. Animal sources provide a form called retinol, which is about six times more potent than carotene.
Too Much Vitamin A
You can get too much of a good thing. Eating more than three carrots a day is likely to saturate your body’s ability to store vitamin A, and over time, your skin could take on an orange-yellow tint. Overdoses of the vitamin don’t come from eating healthy food. Overdoses are caused by taking too much in vitamin supplements, in amounts of more than 100 times the government’s Dietary Reference Intakes guidelines. Common initial signs of vitamin A toxicity include dry lips and dryness of the nasal mucosa and eyes.
Carrots in History
Carrots are native to the Middle East, and during the 7th Century they had purple exteriors and yellow flesh. During the Middle Ages, the orange carrot we eat today was developed in Holland. The Greeks used carrots as a love medicine, believing it made men more ardent.