Vitamin A Food Sources and Health Benefits
Most of us are well aware that we need to get more nutrients and vitamins into our bodies. With all of the stress we face on a daily basis, we feel rundown, ragged, and even depleted.
In order to feel better, we need to make sure we are supporting our bodies as much as we are supporting our responsibilities. This means we need to get the vitamins our bodies and our cells need in order to produce energy and to repair damage. Vitamin A is one of the vitamins most of us are lacking in.
Because it's primarily found in natural sources, if we're not consuming a healthy and balanced diet, we might not be getting the recommended daily allowance. Here's what you need to know in order to begin to add Vitamin A to your life.
What Is Vitamin A and How Much Do You Need?
Vitamin A is more commonly referred to as beta carotene. This is a vitamin that can be found in multiple forms – retinoid and in retinol. Vitamin A is a naturally occurring vitamin in nature, providing coloring to some vegetables – most notably to carrots.
Vitamin A Recommended Daily Amount (RDA)
The Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin A will vary from one age group and gender to the next. Small children and infants should consume around 400IU per day, while adult males should take in around 900IU per day and adult women should take in 700IU per day.
The total can come from a combination of supplements as well as natural food sources or just from food sources alone. One thing to keep in mind when it comes to Vitamin A is that it is a fat-soluble vitamin so any excess does get stored in the body – and this can cause damage.
It's recommended that people take no more than 3000IU per day. Signs of toxicity include nausea, jaundice, vomiting, headaches, muscle pain, stomach pain, fatigue, and altered mental status. Conversely, those who do not have enough of this vitamin in their lives can have troubles with their vision, even leading to blindness in severe cases.
The Health Benefits of Vitamin A
While we might not think of Vitamin A immediately when it comes to our health as other vitamins have gotten more attention in the media, this vitamin does play an important role in our bodies.
First of all, Vitamin A is linked with vision. When the body has enough Vitamin A, the eyes are able to function as they should, focusing on objects near and far away. This vitamin is also responsible for helping the immune system function which helps the body fend off illnesses and to fight down illnesses that have already begin to take hold.
There is some scientific research that is showing the Vitamin A is also able to prevent heart disease and other free radical damage. As an antioxidant, this vitamin interrupts the process of oxidation when the body comes into contact with pollution and other free radicals.
Vitamin A is also involved in the process of gene transcription which allows the body to continue to produce healthy DNA strands. This is especially important when someone is trying to become pregnant or when someone is concerned about genetic malformations in their body. Though Vitamin A can not undo the DNA damage that might have been done, it can help to ensure future DNA transcription is done right.
Foods Sources of Vitamin A
There are a number of foods that contain Vitamin A as a part of their nutritional content. Two of the best sources of this vitamin are carrots as well as liver. Eating these two foods regularly will help to give a person their RDA of Vitamin A with just one serving. But there are other sources of this vitamin that you can choose to consume:
List of Vitamin A Food Sources:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
Adding these foods to your diet will help to ensure you are getting adequate Vitamin A, while also helping to create a healthy overall diet. Supplements are also readily available and most multivitamins include Vitamin A as a part of their composition. Of course, when taking a multivitamin, it's a good idea to reduce your dietary consumption of some foods so as not to overdose on the vitamin in question.