Foods with vitamin A: what it is, benefits for the body and recommended doses. What happens in case of a deficiency and which foods contain a higher intake of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is essential for the health of our body and therefore must not be missing in our diet. In case of severe deficiency, it is necessary to supplement this vitamin with ad hoc medical prescriptions. In the case of vitamin A deficiency, various health complications can occur such as night blindness or vision problems in the dark, but also an imbalance in the functioning of the immune system.
The daily dose of vitamin A to be taken changes according to age. The daily requirement for vitamin A ranges from 200 μg to 400 μg but in the case of pregnancy and breastfeeding the requirement reaches up to about 800 μg.
Vitamin A, benefits
It is known that the main function of vitamin A concerns sight but perhaps not everyone knows that this vitamin is essential for maintaining the health of our immune system, for cell growth and reproduction. Vitamin A also promotes the proper functioning of certain organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs!
It promotes the health of the skin and mucous membranes (in particular eyes, respiratory tract, urinary tract, intestine), which represent our first line of defense against viruses and bacteria. Vitamin A is essential for cell growth and differentiation, as it participates in the transcription of some genes and in the synthesis of some proteins. It also promotes the absorption of iron and seems to have relevance in the regulation of inflammatory responses.
Types of Vitamin A
According to the Nemours foundation, vitamin A comes in two different forms: the active form which is retinol and the precursor which is carotene
- Retinol, whose name derives from the retina (eye membrane) is the form of vitamin A found in products of animal origin; it is found in meat, fish and milk and derivatives
- Carotenes are the form of vitamin A contained in products of plant origin; it is found in yellow-orange fruits and vegetables, but one of the most concentrated food sources is the very green spinach
PLEASE NOTE: in general, carotenes do not present the risk of overdose. Retinol when taken in excess during pregnancy can compromise the health of the baby. In this regard, it is recommended that women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not take high doses of vitamin A supplements and avoid eating liver which can contain a large amount of vitamin A
Foods with vitamin A, what are they
Of course, there are many foods in the fridge that contain vitamin A. However, we must learn to recognize them in order to consume them consciously. Here's how to take this micronutrient and which foods have the greatest contribution.
- The liver, in particular that of beef and pork
- The carrot is rich in vitamin A, above all thanks to the beta-carotenes contained in it and to which its characteristic color is due
- The sweet potato, also known as the American potato, has a good amount of beta-carotenes. In the pulp there is also a high content of potassium and mineral salts, which make this food a real source of well-being
- Some tropical fruits with their characteristic orange color are excellent sources of vitamin A. Examples are cantaloupe melon, papaya and mango. A fresh fruit salad with mango, papaya and cantaloupe melon is an excellent option for breakfast or dinner.
- Broccoli has a high content of vitamin A and are also excellent anticancer and antioxidants.
- Cabbage, belonging to the Cruciferous family, is among the vegetables rich in vitamin A. To avoid losing its properties, it is preferable to also cook the leaves and avoid a very long cooking at high temperatures.
- Chilli, in addition to having antibacterial, analgesic and anticancer properties, is an excellent source of vitamin A.
Other foods with vitamin A
As already mentioned, vitamin A is present in many foods of both animal and vegetable origin. Among the foods we mention tomatoes, garlic and onion, spinach, turnips, cereals, oily fruits, vegetable oils, whole milk and derivatives such as cream and butter, fish liver and especially the yolk of 'egg. Furthermore, Vitamin A is also widely present in citrus fruits such as lemon and orange, in red fruits such as raspberries, currants, blackberries.