Taking foods that are high in vitamin A instead of using supplements is a more healthy approach. Vitamin A is important to maintain your physical health, improve vision, stimulates the production of White Blood Cells, enhance skin glow, and help combat stress . It is an essential micronutrient that cannot be synthesized by your body; rather, you obtain it through diet or prescribed supplements to meet the demands of your body.
The deficiency of vitamin A in the body may cause certain health complications, therefore, everyone should take an optimum amount of this valuable nutrient for a healthy and fit life. Let’s have a look at the sources of vitamin A rich foods obtained from plant or animal sources and their nutritional content!
Major Forms of Vitamin A
Preformed Vitamin A
Preformed vitamin A includes retinol and retinyl esters. These are obtained form animal sources and supplements. It is more readily available to be absorbed and utilized in the body than provitamin A carotenoids.
Provitamin A or Carotenoids
It includes carotenoids such as beta-carotene. Provitamin A is obtained from plant foods and contains only 1/6th of the biological activity of vitamin A. An enzyme in the body converts beta-carotene to retinol.
Health Benefits of Vitamin A in the Body
The human body stores vitamin A in the liver, till it is needed to perform specific functions. Whenever the body demands, it moves to that specific area by binding with required proteins. Vitamin A carries out major physiological and biochemical processes of the body such as:
- Improves growth and developmental processes in the body
- Controls proper functionality of organs like liver, kidneys, lungs, and heart
- Boost Sexual performance
- Improves vision
- Enhance immune system and cellular signaling
- Elevate natural skin glow and radiance
We have reported here, 12 best foods rich in Vitamin A with a detailed description of their nutritional content and recommended daily intake.
List of Foods that are High in Vitamin A: Vegetable, Fruit, & Animal Sources
Basically, vitamin A is obtained from two main sources; plants and animals. Retinol is found in foods obtained from animals while plant foods contain vitamin A as carotenoids.
In the case of plant sources, your body needs to convert carotenoids into retinol during the digestion process. This conversion is necessary to assimilate or absorb vitamin A in the body.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it needs a good fat source to be absorbed and assimilated in the body.
Hence, the best way to enhance its absorption and assimilation is by sprinkling oil on vitamin A-rich foods.
1. Beef Liver
Just like humans, beef also stores its vitamin A in the liver. So, beef liver is the richest source of vitamin A, B2, B12, folate, iron, and protein. A 3 ounce pan-fried beef liver contains 6582 mcg of vitamin A is equal to 731% of the recommended Daily Value (DV).
Liver sausages and lamb liver are rich sources of vitamin A.
2. Cod Liver Oil
It is an excellent source for preformed vitamin A, D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil provides multiple beneficial such as prevents inflammation, protects from eye diseases, boost immunity, and strengthens nails and hair.
One teaspoon of cod liver oil supplies approximately 1350 mcg of vitamin A.
However, in ancient times, cod liver oil was given to kids due to its role in preventing rickets caused by vitamin D deficiency.
However, you have to be much careful in taking the right amount of cod liver oil as excessive intake may result in hypervitaminosis A that can prove to be detrimental.
3. Fortified Skim Milk
Milk is an amazing nutrient-rich diet containing different fat and water-soluble vitamins. The whole milk is rich in nutrients and vitamins so it is a more healthy and energetic option for kids and adults. Skim milk is prepared by removing fat from whole milk and consuming one cup of fat-free milk provides 149 mcg of vitamin A
Research suggests that vitamin A content reduces significantly from 208.83μg/L in whole milk to 35.85μg/L in skim milk. So, there is an intense need of using fortified skim milk in developing countries to avoid diseases linked to vitamin A deficiency.
4. Hard-boiled Egg: A Rich Source of Vitamin A
A boiled egg is an exceptional source of protein, calcium, vitamin A, B2, B12, D, and iron. A major portion of vitamin A is present in egg yolk.
Research suggests that eggs along with vitamin A help improve the level of hemoglobin in the body; hence can be a best source to increase Hb in dialysis patients.
One hard-boiled egg provides 74.5 mcg of vitamin A.
Raw carrot is an amazing budget-friendly nutritious food. It is also an ideal food to improve your gut health and make you energetic. It also contains a lot of fiber and nutrients so, helping relieve constipation.
Carrots are rich in beta carotenes (precursor of vitamin A), antioxidants, lycopene, vitamin C, K, choline, and potassium.
One cup of grated carrot provides around 3.08g of fiber and 918 mcg of vitamin A.
6. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell pepper is also a wonderful source of vitamins (A, B6, C), folate, antioxidants, and iron. It adds an amazing flavor to your food and boost your immune system; thus reducing the effects of reactive oxygen species.
One cup of chopped red bell pepper provides 144 mcg of vitamin A.
You can use this vegetable in salads, roasted chicken and meat items, or soups to get its maximum health benefits.
7. Spinach: An Amazing Vitamin A Rich Vegetable
This leafy green vegetable is rich in vitamins (A, B2, B6, and C, K), minerals, iron, phosphorus, and antioxidants. A half-cup serving of boiled spinach gives you 573 mcg of vitamin A that is 64% of the DV.
According to research work, spinach is rich in dietary nitrate content that helps control elevated blood pressure and minimizes the risk of cardiovascular problems.
Raw broccoli is an amazing food that contains 90% water, 3% proteins, and 7% carbohydrates. It is enriched with vitamins (A, C, E, and K), calcium, iron, thiamin, and antioxidants.
Being low in fat and calories, broccoli is an ideal choice to add to your daily diets such as salads, and soups.
Half cup of broccoli provides 60 mcg of vitamin A that is 7% of your DV.
9. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is a delicious food either taken in baked or roasted form. It contains provitamin A in the form of beta carotenes. The beta carotenes reduce the risk of muscular degeneration and eye-related disorders during aging.
This vegetable has fewer calories as well as a low glycemic index that controls the blood sugar level. It is rich in fibers, vitamin B6, C, and potassium. One whole sweet potato provides 1403 mcg of vitamin A that is 156% of the DV.
Tomato is a rich source of lycopene that is thought to be associated with preventing many health issues like cancer, cardiovascular and certain chronic diseases.
It has fewer calories, no fat, 95% water. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin A, C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and antioxidants.
A quarter-cup serving of tomato juice provides 42 mcg of vitamin A that is 5% of a person’s DV.
11. Mango: An Exceptional Vitamin A Source
Mango Mangifera indica L. is one of the most popular fruit throughout the world, especially the tropical regions. It is also popular by the name of ‘the king of fruits.
It is a fruit rich in vitamins (A, C, E, K), polyphenols, folate, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. Moreover, research indicates that 25 different carotenoids including provitamin A, α-carotene, and β-carotene are also present in mango.
A whole raw mango provides 112 mcg of vitamin A that is 12% of the DV.
12. Dried Apricot
This flavorful fat-free dry fruit is rich in potassium, fiber, vitamins, beta carotenes, iron, and antioxidants. Dry apricot strengthens your immune system and prevents common diseases.
10 halves of dried apricots provide 63 mcg of vitamin A that is 7% of a person’s DV.
Daily Requirement of Vitamin A: Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
According to the Food and Nutrition Board; Institute of Medicine; RDA is different for different individuals depending upon their age and health status. RDAs of vitamin A are expressed as retinol activity equivalents (RAE).
RDAs of Vitamin A per day are mentioned below:
|Up-to 6 months||400 microgram RAE||400 microgram RAE|
|7 to 12 months||500 microgram RAE||500 microgram RAE|
|1 to 3 years||300 microgram RAE||300 microgram RAE|
|4 to 8 years||400 microgram RAE||400 microgram RAE|
|9 to 13 years||600 microgram RAE||600 microgram RAE|
|14 to 18 years||900 microgram RAE||700 microgram RAE
Pregnancy: 750 micrograms RAE
Lactation: 1200 microgram RAE
|19 to 50 years||900 microgram RAE||700 microgram RAE
Pregnancy: 770 micrograms RAE
Lactation: 1300 microgram RAE
|More than 51 years of age||900 microgram RAE||700 microgram RAE|
Vitamin A can not be synthesized by your body. So, you have to take it through foods that are high in vitamin A and ALSO FROM supplements. Vitamin A rich foods provide remarkable health benefits and prevent various health complications. However, always prefer taking vitamin A through natural foods instead of supplements.