Vitamin A belongs to the family of fat-soluble nutrient. Vitamin A is a group of antioxidant compounds required for keeping the body healthy. It helps your body form healthy teeth, skin, soft tissues, and bones. A diet rich in vitamin A can help you ward off bacterial and viral infections, prevent night blindness, dry eyes and keep your hair and nails healthy.
Vitamin A also helps bone growth, keeps the immune system strong and maintains a vigorous reproductive system.
Types of Vitamin A
There are 2 main types of vitamin A
Vitamin A derived from animal sources is known as retinol. This “pre formed” vitamin can be used directly by the body. The sources of retinol are
- turkey liver
- whole milk and cheese.
2. Provitamin Carotenoids:
Provitamin Carotenoids is gained from colourful vegetables and fruits. The carotenoids are converted to retinol by body soon after the food is digested. The best sources of carotenoids are sweet potatoes
What is a deficiency of vitamin A?
A deficiency in vitamin A is rare, but it is often seen among the poor in the developing countries. Deficiency of vitamin A can lead to blindness, retinal damage and corneal ulcer. Increased viral infections and respiratory illness are also possible health risks related to vitamin A deficiency.
What are the signs and symptoms of vitamin A deficiency?
The symptoms and conditions of Deficiency of vitamin A including:
- Night blindness or potentially blindness if left untreated — changes in vision are some of the 1st symptoms to arise due to vitamin A deficiency
- Thickening of the cornea
- Dry eyes, dry mouth and dry hair
- Many skin problems, which are skin flaking, cystic acne, or formation of dots, dry scalp/dandruff
- Higher chance of having fertility problems or complications during pregnancy
- Disturbances in fetal growth and poor development in children
How much vitamin A do you need each day?
- The quantity of vitamin A you need depends upon your age, health and reproductive status.
- The recommended daily amount for vitamin A is 900 micrograms a day for adult men and 700 micrograms a day for adult women.
- Recommended ingestion of vitamin A for women who are pregnant or nursing ranges between 1,200 and 1,300 micrograms per day, since developing fetuses need vitamin A for proper growth.
- Not only do people get vitamin A from foods in their diets, but may also get some provitamin A from dietary supplements, usually in the form beta-carotene, which must be converted once consumed.
Top 22 Vitamin A Foods
1- Bell Peppers
Bell pepper also include in the list of vitamin a foods. it is another excellent source of vitamin A. one cup chopped red bell peppers can give 4665 IU of vitamin A, almost 100% of the daily recommended value. Green bell peppers provide 12 % and yellow bell peppers can help you meet 7% of the day-to-day value of vitamin A. Bell peppers are also rich in antioxidants like lycopene, phytochemicals, vitamin C and calcium. So, add a few slices of bell pepper to your dishes to increase its nutritional value and taste. This versatile vegetable can be enjoyed in salads, eggs, and pizza and pasta dishes.
Broccoli is a total winner when it comes to vitamin A. The fibrous veggie packs in 3,788 IU per bunch, plus it’s also high in vitamin C, protein, and calcium.
it is another excellent source of vitamin A. A 100 grams can help you get 90% of the daily vitamin A need. Beef is also rich in zinc, a mineral that helps the body to absorb antioxidant and fight some diseases. Make sure you pick the leanest meat from the grocery to reduce the total amount of saturated fat in your diet.
Carrot is the first food that arises to our mind when we talk about vitamin A foods. The vitamin A in carrot comes in the form of beta-carotene. Eating plenty of carrots each day can increase your vision greatly. One carrot will deliver 7835 IU of vitamin A and 100 grams serving provides 17033 IU of this essential vitamin. Carrots are also a great source of vitamin B, C, K, fiber and magnesium as well. You can eat the carrots frozen, cooked or raw to obtain its benefits.
Cantaloupe is a low-calorie vitamin A foods. 100 grams of cantaloupe can help you meet 68% of the day-to-day value of vitamin A. It holds around 3382 IU of vitamin A. A medium cantaloupe has 23 calories and just 0.1 grams of fat. This juicy melon will pair best with ricotta cheese. Enjoy this succulent fruit in salads, as an evening snack or for an after dinner dessert.
6- Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil supplements are generally taken as a source of vitamin D. However, it is an outstanding source of vitamin D as well. Cod liver oil is available in both oil and capsule form. Take a teaspoon of cod liver oil daily to meet 280% of the daily value of vitamin A.
7- Dried Apricots
If you need something to eat on the go, dried apricots are a great choice: A cup will deliver you with 4,685 IU of vitamin A, as well as iron, vitamin B6, and magnesium.
8- Dried Herbs
Herbs are extremely useful. They are another great foods rich in vitamin A. You can add them in nearly all your savoury dishes. Marjoram herb is one of the best herbs for boosting your vitamin A levels. 100 grams of marjoram herb can deliver 8068 IU of vitamin A and 271 calories. A 100 grams serving of dried basil can provide 15% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin A. It provides 744 IU of vitamin A and 251 calories. Sprinkle the herbs over your foods for an easy and effortless boost in your vitamin A levels.
9- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Eating high amounts of green leafy vegetable is beneficial for some reasons. They are low in calories, high in nutrients. Green leafy vegetables like collard, spinach, mustard and dandelion green, and kale are some excellent sources of vitamin A. A cup of cooked kale delivers 17707 IU of vitamin A, while spinach delivers 377% of the daily value. Collards hold plenty of beta-carotene with just 31 calories a cup. A cup of chopped mustard greens can help you meet 118% of the daily value of vitamin A.
Grilled fish to get your daily dose of vitamins and other nutrients. Many studies have shown that including fish in your daily diet can take you miles ahead towards good health. Get past the scare of having to deal with the bones, because once you do, you will get hooked for life. Also, it is said that the more bones the fish has, the tastier it is.
11- Grape Fruit
Grapefruit is another great food in vitamin A foods. The pink or red variety holds 2,830 IU of vitamin A per fruit.
Lettuce is a common salad garnish food. Nutrient-rich, leafy vegetable deserves a solid place in your diet. The light green variety of iceberg lettuce is filled with high quantity of vitamin A. One cup of shredded iceberg lettuce delivers 361 IU of vitamin A and just 10 calories. A cup of Romaine lettuce delivers 8710 IU of vitamin A per cup. The other kinds of lettuce high in vitamin A are the red leaf, green leaf, chicory, and butterhead. Almost all the varieties of lettuce can help you meet more than half the recommended value of vitamin A. So add some lettuce to your salads and sandwiches to increase your vitamin A levels.
Mango also includes in the list of vitamin a foods. It is a sweet and juicy fruit that finds its place in both main dishes and dessert plate. This delicious tropical fruit is a storehouse of some important nutrients and can form an important addition to a healthy and balanced diet. A medium sized mango offers 3636 IU of vitamin A, equaling to 73% of the daily value.
one glass of milk a day can do wonders for your health. Not only it is the best source of calcium, but also comes loaded with vitamins.it also includes in the list of vitamin A foods.
Papaya is another food containing moderate amounts of vitamin A. A small papaya contributes 30% of the daily value of vitamin A. Papaya is also high in some vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants.
16- Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is enjoyed widely for its delightful taste and high nutrient content. It is the best source of vitamin A. 100 grams of sweet potato provides 19218 IU of vitamin A, amounting to a whopping 384% of the daily value. A cup of cooked, frozen sweet potato delivers 578% of the daily value of vitamin A, while canned sweet potato provides 444%. This low-calorie vegetable adds just 103 calories to your diet.
peas can do wonders to your health, including helping you meet your daily recommended amount of vitamin A. One serving of peas offers 134% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A with just 60 calories.
Tomatoes are low in calories and high in some vitamins and minerals. Just one medium-sized tomato can offer you with 20% of your daily value of vitamin A. Tomatoes are an outstanding source of vitamin C and lycopene as well.
This succulent fruit is rich in several important nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium. Moreover these nutrients, peaches also provide the body with 10% of the daily value of vitamin A.
Squash is an extremely flavorful and nutritious food. The vegetable is high in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. A half cup of canned pumpkin provides 953 milligrams of vitamin A and just 42 calories. 100 grams of cooked butternut squash provide 11155 UI of the daily value of vitamin A. Other squashes rich in vitamin A are Hubbard and pumpkin. Squash is also a good source of vitamin C, manganese, magnesium and fiber.
Author: Muhammad Parvaiz
Mr. Muhammad Parvaiz is a botanist by profession. He has published many review articles and research papers in well reputed national, international scientific impact factor journals, magazines and newspaper. He is also co-author of a book, i.e. “Introductory Plant Taxonomy”.