The Importance of Vitamin A
By Amy Silva
A diet that includes protein, dairy, and fruit and vegetables is important for overall health, but also for getting important nutrients, minerals and vitamins, such as Vitamin A. We don't need much Vitamin A in our diets, but our bodies do have a minimum requirement to keep us at our best. It's fairly simple for the average person to hit the recommended daily intake if their diet has a variety of healthy, natural foods, and most people don't have to make any dietary changes since only a small amount is needed daily. For those who have trouble getting enough from foods due to sensitivities, type of diet, health issues or otherwise, it's also available in a supplement form.
How Much Vitamin A is Needed?
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin A for women is 700-800 micrograms and 900-1,000 micrograms for men. However, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding will need to consume a bit more, and children need even less. If we consume too little, we could have issues with our skin, hair and eyes. Getting too much Vitamin A over a period of time isn't good either. It may lead to having pain in the bones, being fatigued, and nausea, among other issues.
Health Benefits of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an important antioxidant that helps protect against free radicals. It allows our organs to function properly and is important for hair and skin. Vitamin A aids in growth and development and may even reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as lung, colon and prostate cancers.
Foods That Are a Good Source of Vitamin A
There are a wide range of foods that either naturally contain Vitamin A or have pigments, such as beta-carotene, that convert to it once consumed. Vegetables and fruit are an example of the latter. While the Vitamin A content may not be as high as other foods, some fruits, such as watermelon, grapefruit and apricots, are a good source. Other foods include:
- Protein - Fish such as salmon, trout and tuna, eggs, and liver from various animals
- Dairy - Cream cheese, cheddar cheese, butter, and soft cheeses including feta and bleu
- Vegetables - Spinach, sweet potato, red pepper, kale and collard greens
Vitamin A is likely already included in your diet. It's a necessary vitamin that's important for our bodies and is found in a variety of foods, making it easy to reach the recommended daily amount. It's also available in supplement form.
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