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How Much Beta-Carotene Is in Carrots?

Carrots can be a nutritious addition to your diet because they are low in calories but provide important vitamins and minerals. Among the nutrients carrots provide is beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is classified as a carotenoid 2. This is a type of nutritional compound present not only in carrots, but also in squash, spinach, sweet potatoes and peppers.

What Is Beta-Carotene?

According to MayoClinic.com, beta-carotene is so named because it was first discovered in carrots 2. Beta-carotene is one of three known carotenoids, along with alpha- and gamma-carotene 2. These compounds help give foods their distinct colors and act as antioxidants, protecting your body from oxidative damage. Beta-carotene can also be converted into retinol, a nutrient essential for healthy vision, or vitamin A, which ensures proper bone development and reproductive system function 2.

Beta-Carotene in Carrots

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Carrots are a rich source of beta-carotene, as each 100 g serving of raw carrots provides 8,285 mcg of this nutrient 12. According MayoClinic.com, you need just 1,800 mcg daily to maintain healthy levels of vitamin A, so 100 g of carrots provides more than enough beta-carotene to do so 2. Beta-carotene is fat-soluble, meaning that you need to eat it with a source of fat in order for your body to properly absorb the carotenoid 2.

Beta-Carotene Benefits

MedlinePlus reports that beta-carotene has been suggested as a possible treatment for a wide array of conditions, although research indicates that it's not effective for all of these treatments 2.

Other Nutrients in Carrots

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Carrots provide a number of nutrients other than beta-carotene 2. Carrots are high in vitamin A and alpha-carotene, yet they are low in calories, as 100 g of raw carrots contain just 41 calories.

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