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Vitamin A is a fat- soluble vitamin, which is essential for maintaining vision, cell growth, immune system and reproductive health. Apart from its important role in vision, it has also role in bone formation and gene expression. Vitamin A is a group of nutritional organic compounds, which includes retinol, retinal, retinoic acid and carotenoids. To maintain proper functioning and health, one must know about the Vitamin A rich foods.
15 Healthy Vitamin A Rich Foods
Vitamin A family also includes the provitamin carotenoids, which are present in a variety of plants. The most important provitamin quantitatively is Beta- carotene (responsible for the orange colour of the carrots). Carotenoids are widely known to protect human health. The intake of carotenoid rich fruits and vegetables provides protection from some forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related macular degeneration. Retinols derived from ingested carotenoids, along with that ingested as such, is stored in the liver and secreted into the bloodstream when needed. The daily requirement of vitamin A is 3500 IU (International Units) for men and 2500 IU for women.
Deficiency of Vitamin A can cause dry eyes, night blindness, dysfunctions of gonads, skin problems etc. Excessive Vitamin A results in toxicity such as deformities in fetuses etc. Normally, toxicity results from the indiscriminate use of pharmaceutical supplements, and not from the consumption of usual diets. Here are the 15 Vitamin A rich foods which you should include in your diet.
The liver of meat animals is the a rich source of Vitamin A, because it is the main storage site of the vitamin. Beef liver, lamb liver, pork, chicken meat etc contain significant quantities of Vitamin A. 100 grams serving of beef liver contains approximately 700% of daily recommended value. Liver of meat animals are beneficial for vision, muscles, nervous system and blood.
2. Milk and milk products
Milk is one of the best nutrient rich, easy to digest drink globally. Whole milk and milk products such as butter, cheese are important dietary sources of various vitamins and minerals. The nutrient contents of milk vary depending upon the source. Milk contain vitamin A as a consequence of the animal converting ingested provitamin A carotenoids to retinol. Margarine is fortified with vitamin A to make it nutritionally equivalent to butter. Milk and milk products are very beneficial for bone health, heart and also provide protein to the body.
Fish is a low-fat, protein rich food. The edible portions of fatty fish such as- herring, mackerel, sardines, pilchards and tuna contains moderate amounts of Vitamin A. 100 grams serving of fatty fishes contain 20-40% of daily recommended value. White fish contains only trace amounts of Vitamin A. Fishes have well known beneficial effects on heart and lower the risk of heart attacks. They are also important for growth and development.
Eggs are inexpensive super-foods, and rich source of proteins and vitamins. Carotenoids are also present in egg yolk and 100 grams of hard- boiled egg contains 8-10% of daily recommended value. Eggs are beneficial for skin, hair and provides good stamina.
Most of us have grown up being urged to eat fresh carrots by our parents, saying that it is good for our eyes. Carrots are the best source of Vitamin A for vegetarians. Beta- carotene is the predominant provitamin A found in carrots and imparts the orange colour. Beta- carotene possesses 100% Vitamin A activity. One large carrot contains almost double of the daily recommended value of Vitamin A. The best way to get most of the nutrients from it is to have it raw, sliced and tossed in salads or juiced.
6. Green leafy vegetables
Spinach, methi leaves, kale, mustard greens, lettuce, turnip greens are some of the green leafy vegetables rich in Vitamin A. Green leafy vegetables also contain other essential nutrients and antioxidants. They are more beneficial if cooked less, keeping the crunch texture. 100 grams of cooked kale contains approximately 75%, 100 grams of raw spinach contains 50% of the daily recommended value. These vegetables have beneficial effects on our eyes, boost our immunity to fight against various infections, maintains muscle health and bone health. Green leafy vegetables also reduce cancer risk. Thus green leafy vegetables are a whole host of benefits for our health.
7. Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are large, starchy, root vegetable. One can also use shoots and young leaves of sweet potatoes. Sweet potato contains almost 100% of daily recommended value. Sweet potatoes can be used as steamed and sprinkled with spices and lemon, wafers and wedges. Sweet potatoes are beneficial for regulating blood sugar, immunity, and vision.
Tomatoes are a very well- known source of antioxidant lycopene, which is helpful in reducing cancer and heart disease risk. Tomatoes are also good source of Vitamin A and other vitamins. The mature tomatoes are usually red in colour, other variety includes green, purple, orange and yellow colours. Carotenoids are responsible for their colour along with chlorophyll. They are one of the main ingredient of Indian cuisine. They provides the nutrients best when consumed as raw or as in salads.
Apricots, the yellowish- orange fleshy fruits are one of the healthiest fruit with lots of benefits. They can be used as raw, cooked or dried. The dried apricots are also loved globally. Apricots are good source of Vitamin A along with Vitamin C, iron and potassium. They enhance the vision, boost the immunity, reduce the chances of anemia, and also beneficial for digestion. 100 grams of apricot fulfils around 10% of daily recommended value.
These nuts healthy and also super- healthy loaded with nutrients. Apart from their use in garnishing sweets and savouries, they make for a great in- between snacks. They are high in beta- carotene, healthy fats and low in calories. Pistachios are beneficial for heart, gut and of course vision. Therefore, nuts especially pistachios should be a part of our daily snacks.
Pumpkin is one of the widely grown vegetable, rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and low in calories. Pumpkins are power- house of vitamin A, C and E. Pumpkin seeds and juice are also widely used. Dieticians recommend pumpkins for weight loss and cholesterol control. 100 grams of cooked pumpkin provide almost 200% of the daily recommended value. Pumpkins are beneficial for eyes, heart, diabetic patients. They also offer protection against ageing and asthma. Pumpkin seeds are rich in dietary fibers and helps in lowering the blood cholesterol levels.
12. Red bell pepper
Bell- pepper or capsicum are of different colours, red, yellow, orange, green, white and purple. They are also known as sweet- peppers, because they lack capsaicin. Capsaicin causes strong burning sensation to mouth. Red bell pepper contain carotenoids and antioxidants. It can be used as salads or stir- fried with other vegetables. One large pepper provides almost 100% of the daily recommended value. Along with their beneficial effects on eyes and vision, they help in preventing anemia. Their lycopene antioxidant rich property also reduces cancer risks.
Mangoes are also known as the king of fruits. They are one of the most popular fruit worldwide. Along with their great taste, mangoes have lots of health benefits too. Mangoes are rich sources of Vitamin A, C, dietary fibers and minerals. One medium sized mango provides almost 20% of the daily recommended value. Mangoes improve digestion, boost immunity and also lower the risk of heart disease.
14. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are the most complex fruits in terms of the number of carotenoids found. In ripening fruits, there is an increase in the concentration of carotenoids. This class of fruits includes oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes etc. They are rich sources of Vitamin C, A, various essential minerals and antioxidants. They are beneficial for immune system, skin, digestive health and heart health.
The popular belief for watermelons is that it just contains water and sugar, but actually it is rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 90% of watermelon is just water, but rest of it contains Vitamin A, C and some minerals. It is a low calorie containing fruit, which is good for hydration (to combat heat), digestion, skin and heart.
These 15 Vitamin A rich foods, one must add to their diet. The deficiency of Vitamin A is very dangerous and can even lead to blindness. Vitamin A deficiency also causes various problems related to skin, reproductive health and development. In order to live a very healthy life, you must know about the various Vitamin A rich foods and you should also include it into your daily diet. Without doctor’s advice you should not be use Vitamin A supplements, as excess of it leads to its toxicity and various ill- effects. Include Vitamin A rich foods to your diet for healthy life.