Vitamin A is well known as the Vitamin that keeps our eyesight keen. But, many people may not know that besides great eyesight, Vitamin A boosts immunity, keeps the bones healthy and is a powerful antioxidant that destroys harmful free radicals floating in the blood.
Although all nutrients may be taken in through food supplements, taking in vital nutrients through natural food sources is the recommended way to supply what the body requires.
Benefits of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin. It influences growth, reproduction, immunity and bone development. It boosts the activity of white blood cells and makes the body more responsive to antigens.
Deficiency of Vitamin A is indicated by viral infections in childhood, night blindness, loss of appetite and bone abnormalities. this deficiency may also lead to hair loss.
Food sources of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is found in animal as well as vegetarian sources. Animal protein contains Vitamin A in its processed form (Retinol). In its raw form, this vitamin A is also known as beta-carotene.Vitamin A is fat soluble. Therefore, food sources do not lose substantial amounts of this vitamin when they are cooked.
Since the liver is responsible for storing Vitamin A, it is a rich source of this vitamin. Organ meats contain high amounts of Vitamin A (almost 9,000 mg of vitamin) and it is also found in abundance in beef. The leaner version of beef ensures that you get vital nutrients without taking in harmful fats.
Among the vegetarian sources of Vitamin A, the reliable carrot is well known. The advantage of taking in carrots is that it contains Vitamin A in the beta-carotene form which has high antioxidant activity.
Sweet potatoes also contain high amounts of Vitamin A. Only remember to eat them with their peel to make sure you get the vitamin dose you want.
Other sources include pumpkins, spinach, collards, beets, cantaloupe, Chinese cabbage and red pepper. Turnip greens also contain Vitamin A. These greens may be taken in through salads. Mustard and dandelion greens are also rich in this vitamin.
Among fruits, winter squash contains high amounts of vitamin A and is much more palatable than turnip or beet greens.
Vitamin A deficiency upsets many mechanisms in the body. It can lead to anemia because insufficient dosage of this vitamin impacts the metabolism and absorption of iron within the body. On the other hand, sufficient amounts of Vitamin A could be one of the factors that protect the body from several diseases like AIDS, cataracts, diabetes, dry eyes, osteoarthritis and psoriasis. Thus, it pays to ensure that your diet is replete with Vitamin A food sources.