Can You Get Enough Vitamin A From Eating Carrots?

Did you know that vitamin A deficiency can contribute to blindness? This fat-soluble nutrient supports eye health, and not getting enough of it may result in corneal ulcers and eventually vision loss, warns the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Diets low in vitamin A can also affect your skin and other tissues, reduce immune function, and increase the risk of infections, according to the Merck Manuals. What's more, low levels of this compound may slow children's growth and development.

Vitamin A deficiency is rare in high-income countries, but it may occur in people with intestinal inflammation, liver conditions, or problems affecting the pancreas. Individuals who've had bariatric surgery are at risk, too, says the AAO. Ideally, you should get at least 900 micrograms of vitamin A per day if you're a man, or 700 micrograms per day if you're a woman. Expecting mothers need at least 770 micrograms a day, while those who breastfeed should aim for 1,300 micrograms of vitamin A daily, suggests the National Institutes of Health.

This nutrient occurs naturally in beef liver, mangos, carrots, leafy greens, pistachios, and other foods. Carrots also provide a significant amount of vitamin A. These veggies fit into most diets and can make a healthy addition to smoothies, soups, salads, cakes, or pies. 

The real reason you should eat more carrots

You may have heard that carrots can improve eyesight, but that's just a myth. However, these veggies pack large doses of vitamin A and other nutrients that do support eye health. "Vitamin A will [help] keep your vision healthy; it won't improve your vision," ophthalmologist Rebecca Taylor told National Public Radio

A cup of chopped carrots provides nearly 120% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, reports MyFoodData. You'll also get 3.6 grams of fiber and doses of vitamin E, vitamin K, and potassium. Lutein and zeaxanthin, two of the most abundant antioxidants in carrots, may help protect against age-related macular degeneration, a risk factor for blindness, according to clinical research published in the journal Nutrients.

All in all, you can get enough vitamin A from carrots, but you might still need glasses or contact lenses. These root veggies, however, may improve your nutritional status and prevent vitamin A deficiency, a leading cause of blindness. Carrots may help people feel more satiated, suggests an earlier study featured in the British Journal of Nutrition. Plus, they're chock-full of carotenoids and other antioxidants that promote heart health and may reduce cancer risk, notes WebMD.