Carrots, along with other orange and red vegetables are a source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is actually a group of compounds that support a number of important body functions, including immunity, eye sight and reproduction. One cup of carrots provides ample amounts of vitamin A, far exceeding the daily value.
Vitamin A is essential to your cell's ability to divide and reproduce. You need vitamin A to help protect good vision. Vitamin A is also intrinsic to fetal development. In addition to these primary roles, vitamin A plays a role in proper growth and development and immune health. A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to night blindness, diarrhea and skin problems. High doses of vitamin A can cause toxicity. Knowing how much vitamin A carrots provide can help you escape either extreme.
Vitamin A is available in both animal and plant products. The type found in carrots is called provitamin A carotenoids. The body can use this compound to form retinol, one of the types of vitamin A found in animal products. Other sources of carotenoids include winter squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe and peaches.
Amount in Carrots
One cup of cooked carrots provides over 26,000 international units of vitamin A. Raw carrots provide slightly less per cup, just over 21,000 international units. International units measure the effect of a compound, rather than the weight. Carrots are a very effective supplier of vitamin A given the average adult woman needs about 2,300 international units daily and the average man needs about 3,000 international units.
Although one cup of carrots exceeds the recommended doses for vitamin A, the type of vitamin A found in carrots is not associated with toxicity complications. While eating too many carrots may bring an orange hue to your skin, you are not likely to suffer adverse health effects as a result. Consuming carotenoids may help you ward off certain diseases, including cancer, but research is insufficient to draw a direct conclusion.