Vitamin A Deficiency? Top 20 Vitamin A Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements
What is Vitamin A?
You may often hear that vitamin A is good for your eyes, but there is more to this truth that many people may not know. So what really is vitamin A? It is a fat-soluble vitamin that can also be identified as an antioxidant. Vitamin A is very important for maintaining optimum health of your vision, skin, bones, neurological function, and reproduction. It can facilitate cell differentiation, protect the mucous membranes of the digestive system, protect the urinary tracts from infection, and support immune function. It can also help your heart, kidneys, lungs, and other organs to work properly. Vitamin A is identified as an antioxidant because it has the ability to reduce inflammation by destroying free radicals. By having a diet full of antioxidants, you are essentially slowing down your aging process. Vitamin A is very important for maintaining your overall health condition. Without vitamin A foods in your diet, you can suffer from many health problems.
In 2 minutes or less, you can get the diet plan that will turn your body into a fat burning machine.
2 Types of Vitamin A
There are two types of vitamin A. The first type is the preformed vitamin A, which is found in meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products. The second type is called the provitamin A, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products. The most common type of provitamin A is beta-carotene, which you can also find in fruit juices and supplements.
Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency
People who lack the proper dose of vitamin A in their diet can develop symptoms of vitamin A deficiency. Another reason for a vitamin A deficiency is the malabsorption of vitamin A, caused by common health problems such as inflammatory bowel disease, gluten sensitivity issues, pancreatic disorders, and a leaky gut syndrome and auto-immune responses. If you consume too much alcohol, you are also susceptible to vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency is very dangerous, especially for children, because it can cause severe visual impairment and blindness. Children will also have a higher risk of having infections such as measles and diarrheal disease. Here are some of the most common symptoms of vitamin A deficiency.
Poor Vision and Eye Health
One of the most common symptoms of vitamin A deficiency is poor vision and eyesight. Lack of vitamin A can lead to the thickening of the cornea and may even result to complete blindness. The condition called Keratomalacia comes from severe vitamin A deficiency, and it affects both eyes. The early symptoms of Keratomalacia include extreme dryness of the eyes and night blindness. The deficiency may be the result of your daily intake of vitamin A and your body’s ability to absorb it. Other symptoms may include cloudiness, wrinkling, and softening of the corneas. If this is not treated immediately, it may lead to infection, rupture, and blindness.
Premature Skin Damage
Not getting enough of the recommended daily dose of vitamin A can lead to dry, scaly, and damaged skin. This type of vitamin deficiency is one of the most common causes of skin aging, pigmentation irregularities, and skin cancer. If you are always exposed to the sun, you need to consume more vitamin A to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays. It is very important to replenish vitamin A in your cells every day to help avoid any skin damages.
Vitamin A deficiency can cause weaker immune system. When your immune system is weak, your body is prone to respiratory infections. This type of symptom is most severe for younger people who lack vitamin A. If you are having problems with your respiratory system, you should check your diet and find out if you are getting enough vitamin A every day. Vitamin supplements are much recommended if you think that you’re diet is not giving you enough vitamin A.
Night Blindness for Pregnant Women
Pregnant women, who are in their last trimester, essentially need more vitamin A. This is the stage where many pregnant women suffer from vitamin A deficiency. The most common symptom of vitamin A deficiency for pregnant women is night blindness.
Other Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency
- Night blindness or impaired dark adaptation
- Keratomalacia, which is corneal erosions and ulceration
- Hazy vision or bitot spots
- Xeropthalmia or dry and thickened cornea and conjunctiva
Keratinising Effect on the Skin and Mucous Membrane
- Dry lips and thickened tongue
- Keratinization of the respiratory, urinary, and gastrointestinal tract
Health Benefits of Vitamin A
Protects and Improves the Health of Your Eyes
Vitamin A is a very important part of the rhodopsin molecule, which is activated when the light reflects on the retina, and it sends a signal to the brain that results in vision. If your diet is high in beta-carotene, it can help prevent macular degeneration, which is an age-related blindness disease. A study was conducted regarding people who regularly take daily multiple vitamins that include vitamin A, and found that there was a 25% reduced risk of advanced macular degeneration.
As mentioned earlier, vitamin A is considered as an antioxidant, which can fight the free radicals in your body that causes tissue and cellular damage. When your immune system overreacts to the food proteins, it can cause food allergies that can result in inflammation. With a proper dose of vitamin A every day, you can lower the risk of food allergies by preventing the overreaction.
Supports the Immune System
Vitamin A is known as an immune-boosting vitamin. Vitamin A regulates the genes that are involved in immune responses, which means that it can help fight common illnesses, as well as serious diseases like cancer and autoimmune diseases. Vitamin A is also proven to help improve the immune system of children. By consuming the right amount of beta-carotene, it maintains the health of the immune system and prevents a variety of chronic illnesses. This vitamin also makes the children stronger against infections like diarrhea and measles. Read more – How to Boost The Immune System: Top 20 Immune Boosters
Better Skin Health
If you want to have beautiful and healthy skin, you should consume foods that are rich in vitamin A. It is proven that this vitamin can give you better complexion and fight acne. Your body also needs vitamin A for healing the wound and skin re-growth. It can prevent premature skin aging by getting rid of wrinkles and lines on your skin. Vitamin A can keep you looking younger because it helps in producing more collagen.
Vitamin A has the ability to control the harmful and malignant cells in your body. This makes vitamin An effective in preventing the development of several forms of cancer. Retinoic acid, which is a compound derived from retinol or vitamin A, is found to be helpful in treating cancer. Retinoic acid can suppress a variety of cancers such as breast, lung, bladder, ovarian, and skin cancers. New research has found that the molecular mechanism of retinoic acid may have a strong effect on the fate of the cancer cells.
Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin A
- 1 to 3 years old are required to have 300 mcg of vitamin A per day
- 4 to 8 years old are required to have 400 mcg of vitamin A per day
- 9 to 13 years old are required to have 600 mcg of vitamin A per day
- 14 years old and above is required to take 900 mcg of vitamin A per day
- 14 years old and above is required to take 700 mcg of vitamin A per day
- For pregnant women, they are required to take 750 to 770 mcg of vitamin A per day
- For breastfeeding women, they are required to take 1,200 to 1,300 mcg of vitamin A per day
Top 20 Foods Highest in Vitamin A
Here are some of the most nutritious foods that provide the highest amount of vitamin A. It is recommended to include these amazing Vitamin A foods in your daily diet to increase your vitamin A intake.
3 ounces of a beef liver can provide 14,363 IU or almost three times the daily required value of vitamin A. Beef liver is considered as one of the richest in terms of vitamin A and vitamin C. It is also considered as a great remedy for anemia. You only need 100 gram serving of beef liver to complete your daily intake of vitamin A. In fact, this amount is well over 300% of your daily required value of vitamin A.
1 cup raw sliced carrots can provide 21,384 IU or over 100% the recommended daily value of vitamin A. It is very true that carrots can help improve your vision and eye health. Carrots can also provide you with vitamins C, K, and B, and magnesium and fiber. Just one medium-sized carrot already contains 200% of the average person’s vitamin A requirement for one day.
1 whole sweet potato contains 18,443 IU or over 100% the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are widely enjoyed by many people because of its delicious taste and its rich nutritious content. It is also an ideal choice for people who are trying to lose weight because one medium-sized sweet potato only provides 103 calories.
1 cup of chopped Kale can provide you with 6,693 IU or over 100% the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Kale should be added to your daily diet because it is not only delicious but it is also packed with so much nutrition and it can help improve your health. You only need to consume 1 cup of chopped Kale to complete your daily vitamin A requirement.
Sweet Red Peppers
1 cup of chopped sweet red pepper contains 4,665 IU or 93% the recommended daily value of vitamin A. You should try to include sweet red pepper in your cooking as much as possible. It can improve the taste of your dish and it can also add so much nutrition.
1 cup of shredded Romain Lettuce can give you 4,094 IU or 82% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. If you love eating salad, you should always add Romain lettuce to it to give you a boost of vitamin A. It is very low in calorie but it is packed with so many vitamins and minerals that your body needs for the day.
1 cup of raw Spinach contains 2,813 IU or 56% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Spinach is another very nutritious vegetable that you should add to your diet. It can provide you with your much-needed vitamin A, plus vitamins C & K, and calcium, iron, and manganese. Try to consume just one cup of Spinach every day to maintain your health.
1 medium wedge of Cantaloupe Melon provides 2,334 IU or 47% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Cantaloupe is a favorite fruit because of its delicious taste. It is also packed with so much nutrition but very low in calories and fat. You can add it to your fruit salad or just enjoy it as your midday snack or dessert. Just one medium wedge of Cantaloupe is enough to give you almost half of your daily need of vitamin A.
3-ounce fillet of Tuna Fish can give you about 2,142 IU or 43% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. If you like seafood, you should definitely add tuna to your diet. It provides the needed vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay fit and healthy.
1 cup of sliced mango is equal to 1,785 IU or 36% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Mango is a widely known fruit all over the world because of its sweet and delicious taste. You can add it to your main dish or enjoy it as a dessert. Try to have at least one cup of sliced mango to give you a boost of vitamin A.
1 cup of cubed Papaya provides 1,531 IU or 31% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Papaya is a tropical fruit that is very rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that improve your health. You can add Papaya to your salad or you can make a delicious Papaya Smoothie. Just one small Papaya can already give you a rich amount of vitamin A. Read more – Top 10 Papaya Health Benefits
1 whole Apricot contains about 674 IU or 13% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. If you want a diet that is rich in vitamin A, you should definitely include apricots. It is rich in antioxidants that can fight free radicals that cause damage to your body. Aside from vitamin A, apricots can also give you a boost in energy.
1 cup of raw Broccoli can provide 567 IU or 11% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Broccoli is another amazing vegetable included in this list that is densely packed with so much nutrition. It can be added to your everyday salad dishes to give it a boost of vitamin A and other essential nutrients.
1 cup of cubed Winter Squash contains 514 IU or 10% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Winter Squash is high in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A when consumed by your body. It also provides other important minerals and fiber that your body needs to maintain your overall health.
1 tablespoon of butter provides 355 IU or 7% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Include butter in your dishes to add more vitamin A to your diet. You can also enjoy butter every day during breakfast. Just one tablespoon can already give you a good amount of vitamin A.
1 extra large egg can give you about 302 IU or 6% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Eggs are a good source of protein and vitamin A. This is good news for those who love eating eggs in the morning. You can also include eggs in your other dishes to add more vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
1 tablespoon of Paprika contains about 3,448 IU or 69% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. This wonderful red spice can be used in many dishes to add more delicious flavor, especially if you are fond of cooking Indian, Spanish, and South American cuisines. You only need at least one tablespoon of Paprika to get more than half of your vitamin A needs.
1 cup of Whole Milk can provide 395 IU or 8% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Whole milk is much preferred over skim milk because it has more nutrients and offers a richer taste. You only need one cup of whole milk to enjoy its full benefits of vitamin A and D. It is also a good source of calcium, magnesium, and protein for your overall health. However, whole milk is a little bit high in fat so you have to drink it in moderation, or you can switch to skim milk if you are trying to lose weight.
1 cup of chopped Mustard Greens can give you 5,880 IU or 118% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A. Mustard greens can be eaten raw or cooked, and you will still get its nutritional benefits that include vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, protein, folate, calcium, manganese, and fiber. Look for healthy recipes where you can incorporate mustard greens.
100 gram serving of Dried Basil provides 744 IU or 15% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. The 100-gram serving means that it is a lot of dried basil, but you don’t have to eat it all in one meal. Basil is a versatile ingredient in many dishes, so you can always incorporate it whenever you are cooking your lunch or dinner. You can also just sprinkle some dried basil on your food to maintain your daily boost of vitamin A.
You can also check out these other vitamins A foods:
- Turnip Greens – it is a leafy vegetable that is low in calories but high in nutrients. You can cook it or steam it to allow your body to effectively absorb its nutrients. One cup of chopped turnip greens can provide 6,737 IU of vitamin A or 127% DV.
- Tomatoes – it is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and lycopene. They are also low in calories, which is perfect your weight loss diet. One medium sized tomato already contains about 1,025 IU or 20% DV of vitamin A.
- Peaches – it is a favorite fruit for many people because of its rich taste. Peaches are rich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus. One medium-sized peach can provide about 489 IU or 10% DV of vitamin A.
- Dried Marjoram – it is a dried herb that is used for its unique flavor. You can incorporate this herb into your dishes throughout the week. 100 gram of dried marjoram provides 8,068 IU or 161% DV of vitamin A.
- Dandelion Greens – it is a perfect addition to your salad or smoothie. Dandelion greens are rich in iodine, calcium, and antioxidants. Just one cup of dandelion greens can provide you with 5,589 IU or 112% DV of vitamin A.
- Peas – it is a great addition to many delicious lunch or dinner meals. Aside from vitamin A, sweet green peas are also rich in vitamins C, K, and B. Only ½ cup of green peas can already give you 1,680 IU or 134% DV of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is an essential component in the proper development and functioning of your body’s major organs such as your eyes and immune system. It is fortunate for all of us to know that this very important vitamin can be found in so many fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, and seafood. It is recommended to include some of these Vitamin A foods in your daily diet for better vision and overall health.