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Most people aren’t really aware of the benefits of vitamins other than the basic ones we hear about all the time. The famous vitamin D which we get from the sun exposure and the vitamin C which is found in citrus fruit.
But what about all of those other vitamins we can’t live without?
Where can we find them?
Vitamin A is one of those vitamins that doesn’t get enough attention.
But why do we need it and how does it benefit us?
Read on to find out more!
What are the Benefits of Taking Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is a vitamin important for healthy vision, bones, tissues and skin. It’s fat-soluble and works as an antioxidant. The main role of vitamin A is basically to heal and help cells grow. But it has many other important roles as well, starting from the health of heart, kidneys, lungs and many other organs.
You can find two types of vitamin A. One is called retinol and is often found in animal products while the other is called pro-vitamin A and it’s found in plant products. The most common of the latter is beta-carotene which is also very popular and important. Find in in bright orange fruit like cantaloupe, apricots, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, dark leafy vegetables and so on.
Vitamin A comes with numerous health benefits. Starting with retinol, it can create pigments in retina and it’s crucial for good vision. It can help form a better night vision and it’s necessary for overall vision.
Another function of vitamin A is in helping skin repair. This is why you can see so many product nowadays with Retin-A vitamin. It signals to the cells to grow faster and brings young skin to the surface. You shouldn’t use it in excess because it can cause irritation.
Other uses include formation of teeth, bones, blood cells, helping better immune system and so on. It’s also an antioxidant which protects cells from damage and it can prevent cancer.
Vitamin A deficiencies are possible and so are overdoses. However, these cases can be rare.
Which Foods are High in Vitamin A?
Getting appropriate amounts of vitamin A is important. You can get plenty of it from your diet and it can prevent hair loss, skin issues, infections and dry eyes. Deficiency is quite rare, especially in developed countries but it’s still possible. The recommended daily intake is 900 mcg for men, 300 to 600 mcg for children and 700 mcg for women.
Since retinol can only be found in animal foods, here are some of the main sources of retinol:
Beef Liver – 1 Slice contains 6 421 mcg of vitamin A
Liver Sausage – 1 Slice contains 1 495 mcg of vitamin A
Lamb Liver – 1 Ounce contains 2 122 mcg of vitamin A
Cod Liver Oil – 1 Teaspoon contains 1 350 mcg of vitamin A
King Mackerel – Half a fillet contains 388 mcg of vitamin A
Salmon – Half a fillet contains 229 mcg of vitamin A
Bluefin Tuna – 1 ounce contains 214 mcg of vitamin A
Goat Cheese – 1 slice contains 115 mcg of Vitamin A
Butter – 1 tbsp contains 97 mcg of vitamin A
Various Cheeses – 1 slice usually contains around 90 mcg of vitamin A
Boiled eggs – 1 egg contains 74 mcg of vitamin A
Provitamin A is a vitamin found in plants. Beta and alpha carotenes are known as Pro-vitamin A. Your body can build vitamin A from these carotenoids.
Here are some of the plants that contain high amounts of vitamin A.
Sweet Potato – 1 cup contains 1863 mcg of vitamin A
Winter Squash – 1 cup contains 1144 mcg of vitamin A
Kale – 1 cup contains 885 mcg of vitamin A
Collards and Turnip Greens – 1 cup can contain between 700 and 500 mcg of vitamin A
Carrots – One carrot can contain around 400 mcg of vitamin A
Sweet Red Pepper – One pepper can contain 257 mcg of vitamin A
Swiss chard, Spinach and Romaine Lettuce – One leaf of each can contain about 140 mcg of Vitamin A
Fruit isn’t as high in vitamin A as vegetables are but here are a few fruits that provide decent amounts of pro-vitamin A:
Mango and Cantaloupe – 1 fruit contains around 180 mcg of vitamin A
Grapefruit – One fruit contains 143 mcg of vitamin A
Watermelon and Papaya – One wedge/one piece contains about 80 mcg of vitamin A
Apricot, Tangerine and Nectarine – One piece of fruit contains around 20-35 mcg of vitamin A
Guava and Passion Fruit – One piece of fruit usually contains from 10-20 mcg of vitamin A
You can easily intake enough vitamin A by eating food listed above. Many foods have added vitamin A which is why you can fill your daily requirements without needing any supplements.
The Early Signs of Vitamin A Deficiency
Since vitamin A is so crucial to our well-being and easy to find in food, it’s very rare that someone in developed country would have Vitamin A deficiency. However, people in developing countries often don’t get enough of vitamin A. At risk are also pregnant women, breastfeeding women and babies.
Here is how you can recognize vitamin A deficiency:
Dry skin – Since vitamin A has an important role for skin health and skin repair, the deficiency can lead to dry skin. It can also lead to eczema, inflammation and other skin problems.
Dry eyes – Vitamin A is important for the eyes and a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to dry eyes, blindness and so on. The person with deficiency wouldn’t be able to produce tears.
Night blindness – Another eye-related issue, night blindness appears as a result of lack of vitamin A.
Infertility – Since it’s necessary for reproduction and proper fetus development, lack of vitamin A can lead to infertility and troubles with getting pregnant. Deficiency can also lead to miscarriages.
Delayed growth – Children with vitamin A deficiency can experience slower growth in terms of height and weight.
Throat and chest infections – If you have frequent infections in the throat and chest, this can mean that you have vitamin A deficiency.
Slow wound healing – If you have trouble healing, this can be a sign of vitamin A deficiency.
Acne and frequent breakouts – Frequent acne signal that you can have vitamin A deficiency. However, this doesn’t have to be the cause so check with your doctor.
What are the 10 Essential Vitamins?
If you are not a nutritionist, you might have issues recognizing which vitamins you need to consume, where you can find them and understanding what they mean. Most people do. However, vitamins are extremely important and for this reason, you need to have a better understanding of them.
Here are the most important vitamins that your body needs:
This one is good for the eyes, skin healing and growth as well as overall growth, healthy teeth and good skin. Find it in animal products as well as in brightly colored fruit and vegetables like carrots, sweet potato and so on.
These are necessary for energy, immunity and absorbing iron. You can get them in whole grains, potatoes, bananas, chili peppers, beans, yeast, lentils and so on.
This vitamin is necessary for making blood vessels stronger, skiin healthier and the antioxidant and iron absorption abilities.You can get it in citrus fruit, peppers, kiwi, brussels sprouts and so on.
This vitamin is necessary for healthy bones. You can get it by spending time in the sun and eating eggs, fish and mushrooms.
This vitamin is necessary for circulation and protecting the body from free radicals. You can get it from almonds, nuts, sunflower seeds and tomatoes.
This vitamin is necessary for blood coagulation and you can get it from leafy greens.
Crucial for maintaining a healthy metabolism and appetite. Get it from nuts, seeds and legumes.
Also known as riboflavin, it supports vision, healthy skin and metabolism. Get it from lean meats, poultry, dairy and so on.
Essential for healthy metabolism, you can get it from egg yolk, soybeans, legumes and so on.
Also known as folate or folic acid, this vitamin is necessary for pregnant women because it makes DNA, RNA and so on. Get it from leafy greens, citrus fruit, legumes, liver, yeast and so on.
Vitamin A is a necessary vitamin in our bodies, just like many others. You should make sure that you take necessary amounts of it through brightly colored food – orange in this food often comes from carotenoids that build vitamin A – and meats. Liver is often a good source and so are dairy products. You can intake enough for your daily dosage through your regular diet. Make sure you eat a balanced diet to get enough of other vitamins as well.
Are you stocked up on vitamin A foods? Feel free to share your fave vitamin A rich foods down below!