Vitamin A is crucial for the proper health of our eyes and vision, immune system, and cellular growth and consuming foods with vitamin A prevents vitamin A deficiency and all the problems associated with it. There are two main vitamin A types. The first type is retinoids, which exist in animal-based sources and are the main and active form of vitamin A. The second type is carotenes. Beta-carotene, the main form of carotenes, exist in plant-based sources.
According to the American Heart Association, a well-balanced diet containing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides the body with all its needs including vitamin A. It is also better than taking supplements. More research about the benefits and risks of regular consumption of supplements such as vitamin A supplements can help us to make the best use out of these supplements.
Why Should You Consume Rich in Vitamin A Foods?
High levels of antioxidants such as vitamin A can cause lead to vitamin A toxicity. Therefore, it is better to get all the vitamin A you need from natural sources. Taking vitamin A via supplements, whether alone or as part of multivitamins, may increase the risk of death due to several causes, according to many meta-analyses and systematic reviews.
In this article, we will go through the best vitamin A food examples. Of course, you can increase your intake by taking supplements, but depending on vitamin A supplements alone can be dangerous.
Before starting, it is important to understand what the Daily Value (DV) means. The DV is a simple way that helps people to evaluate the foods they consume based on their nutrient contents. These percentages (DV%) are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are based on what you should intake from certain nutrients on a daily basis. In other words, The DV is the recommended daily intakes of essential elements.
Vitamin A Food Examples
If you are looking for the best food sources of vitamin A, animal livers are among the best options since animals keep their vitamin A stores in the liver as humans.
Consuming 85 grams of beef liver will provide your body with more than 6,580 micrograms of vitamin A, which is more than 730% of the recommended DV of vitamin A.
Besides, animal livers are organ meats, which means that they are rich in other nutrients as well including copper, iron, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, choline, and folate.
Finally, if you love liver sausage and/or lamb liver, they should be on your vitamin A food list.
Cod Liver Oil
People who love fish can increase their vitamin A intake by consuming more fish livers. They are among the richest sources of preformed vitamin A.
Cod liver oil is beneficial for many health conditions since it can provide the body with many nutrients. 1 cod liver oil tablespoon can provide your body with 4,080 micrograms of vitamin A.
Also, fish oils, including cod liver oil, are rich with omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for our heart health and can prevent many heart problems. They also fight inflammations, and some studies suggest that they play a role in treating and/or preventing many psychological problems including depression and anxiety.
Cod liver oil can also provide your body with its needs of vitamin D since 1 cod liver oil tablespoon contains 170% of the recommended DV of vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in enhancing immunity and maintaining bone health in addition to treating depression and anxiety.
Baking sweet potatoes in their skin is better than taking the skin off. It can provide your body with more than 1,400 micrograms of vitamin A, which is about 150% of the recommended DV.
Sweet potatoes belong to the root vegetable family. Beta-carotene is the active form of vitamin A that exists in sweet potatoes. Studies say that beta-carotene is one of the most effective compounds in protecting the eyes against age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
In addition, other studies show that beta-carotene can decrease the risk of several cancers including prostate cancer. However, we need more studies to verify these benefits.
Sweet potatoes have many other benefits. They are low in calories, rich in fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. They also have a low glycemic index, which is great in maintaining regular blood sugars.
If you want to make your potato sweet meal healthier, bake it in the skin in addition to a salad and a high-quality source of protein.
Carrots are well-known for their ability to maintain good vision because they are rich in beta-carotene. ½ cup of raw carrots can provide your body with 51% of the recommended DV of vitamin A since it contains more than 450 micrograms of it.
It is also one of the healthiest snacks since a large carrot contains only 29 calories, which makes it light but beneficial.
Beans are among the most important foods for vegetarians since they are one of the richest sources of proteins and fibers. People usually boil black-eyed peas. Each Cup can provide your body with 7% of the recommended DV of vitamin A since it contains 66 micrograms of it.
Besides, they are an excellent source of iron.
Studies show that many types of beans are great in improving overall heart health. For example, some studies show that consuming beans regularly can decrease the risk of heart problems and balance blood pressure. Another study has proven that beans are effective in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Black-eyed peas are one of the best ingredients you can use in soups, salads, and stews.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that contains a lot of important nutrients. ½ cup of boiled spinach can provide your body with 64% of the recommended DV of vitamin A since it contains more than 570 micrograms of it in addition to 17% of the recommended DV of iron and 19% of the recommended DV of magnesium. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for our body functions since it participates in more than 300 reactions and processes.
Besides, some studies say that spinach can help in decreasing high blood pressure and promoting heart health. Spinach can be part of many pasta dishes and soups. Also, sautéed spinach is a very popular and delicious side dish.
Broccoli is another vitamin A-containing food since a ½ cup can provide your body with 7% of the recommended DV of vitamin A since it contains about 60 micrograms of it in addition to fair amounts of vitamin C and vitamin K. Also, ½ cup of broccoli only contains 15 calories, which makes it a great way to suppress your hunger without consuming too many calories.
Since it contains vitamin K, it is worth mentioning that this vitamin is important for bone metabolism and blood clotting. Also, vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins for our immune system. Besides, it is a powerful antioxidant and has great anti-inflammatory properties.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable and the more you consume, the lower the risk of having several cancers. This is because it contains sulforaphane, a substance that plays a role in suppressing the growth of cancer cells.
You can do a lot of things with broccoli including roasting, steaming, or frying it. You can also add it to your salad or soup.
Sweet Red Pepper
Among the best foods with vitamin A is sweet red pepper. ½ cup of raw sweet red pepper can provide your body with 13% of the recommended DV of vitamin A since it contains about 117 micrograms of it.
The same ½ cup contains only 19 calories and is rich in folate, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
You can scramble bell peppers with eggs and eat them as part of your sandwiches. Sliced peppers are also a great option.
Cantaloupe is a summer fruit that can provide you with many great nutrients. ½ cup of it can provide your body with 15% of the recommended DV of vitamin A since it contains 135 micrograms of it.
It also contains a high level of vitamin C. Therefore, it can boost your immunity and protect your body against many diseases and infections.
You can either eat fresh cantaloupe or add it to your fruit salad or smoothie. It is one of the most delicious foods with vitamin A you can add to your diet.
What food is rich in vitamin A and works as a perfect snack? The answer is dried apricots, which are very rich in vitamin A.
5 whole dried apricots can provide your body with 7% of the recommended DV of vitamin A since they contain 63 micrograms of it. Besides, when you dry fruits, their concentrations of fibers and antioxidants increase.
On the other hand, dried fruits usually contain high levels of sugars and calories. Therefore, it is very important to consume them moderately.
Pumpkin pie is one of the richest treats that everyone loves. Just one piece of pumpkin pie can provide your body with more than 54% of the recommended DV of vitamin A since it contains 488 micrograms of it. It is an orange vegetable, which is famous for being rich in beta-carotene.
Pumpkin is also rich in antioxidants including lutein and vitamin C. Studies show that taking a high level of lutein is great for preserving your vision and preventing many eye diseases.
Of course, pumpkin pies contain high levels of sugar. Therefore, you should consume them or ear plain pumpkins instead.
¾ cup of tomato juice can provide your body with 5% of the recommended DV of vitamin A since it contains 42 micrograms of it.
Tomatoes are among the best foods with vitamin A. They also contain vitamin C and lycopene, which are powerful antioxidants.
Furthermore, tomatoes and tomato juices are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are great in preserving vision and preventing eye diseases.
Pickled Atlantic herring is the last item on our vitamin A food examples list. A 3-oz serving can provide your body with 24% of the recommended DV of vitamin A since it contains 219 micrograms of it.
Herring is also rich in vitamin D and protein. It is a fatty fish. Therefore, it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart and brain health. Since the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends consuming at least 2 servings of fatty fish weekly, herring can be a great option for you.
What are the Two Main Types of Vitamin A?
Vitamin A has two main types:
- Preformed Vitamin A (Retinol): You can find performed vitamin A in animal-based food sources such as meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products.
- Provitamin A (Carotenoids): The main type is beta-carotene. You can find it in plant-based food sources such as fruits and vegetables.
Consuming plant-based and animal-based foods with vitamin A is incredible to vary your intake.
Many Vitamin A foods from both plants and animals can provide you with your vitamin A needs.
Vitamin A deficiency is not common in most countries. If you consume a balanced diet, you do not have to worry too much about vitamin A deficiency. Just include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats in your diet.
Vitamin A supplements are also available if you suspect that you have vitamin A deficiency. However, it is better to consume vitamin A-containing foods.