Vitamin A is a nutrient that is of great value to our health. It is a fat soluble vitamin and is essential for healthy skin, stronger bones and better vision. Vitamin A is broadly divided into two main nutrient groups: retinoids, which is found in animal food sources and carotenoids, which can be sourced from plants.
Vitamin A aids in immunity repair and cell development because of which, in severe cases Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness. But if you are not getting enough of this vitamin then you will be prone to catching infections easily due to loss of immunity, skin ailments and irritation and even poor thyroid function when coupled with iron deficiency.
Vitamin A is also extremely essential during pregnancy as it is associated with organ development in the fetus. In children and adults, Vitamin A not only helps stem cells develop into specialized red blood cells, but also facilitates iron from the liver to be used for red blood production. Carotenoids and retinoids are a rich source of antioxidants known to lower the risk of age-related muscular degeneration and cataracts.
If you eat a nutrient-rich diet then it doesn’t have to come to this. Given how widely available Vitamin A is, simply eating balanced meals covering fruit, vegetable and protein groups can fulfill most of our daily requirements. To make your task easier, here are 5 rich and easily-available sources of Vitamin A (apart from carrots) to include in your weekly shopping.
Cod Liver Oil
Not only is fish oil packed with omega- 3 fatty acids, which make your heart stronger, clear up your skin and fight off Alzheimer’s amongst many other such benefits. But cod liver oil also a rich source of retinols and beta-carotenes that help you fight off infections and improve vision.
Remember as a child, your mom would chide you to plate up on those carrots? Well, that’s because carrots are one of the richest sources of carotenoids because of their intense hue. A bowl full of carrots exceeds the daily requirements of Vitamin A and improves overall bodily functions including immunity, eye sight, and reproduction.
The rich orange color of sweet potatoes indicates that they are high in carotenoids, which help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity. In fact, sweet potatoes are one of the richest sources of Vitamin A, known to be a powerful antioxidant that can help fight cancer and reduce the effects of aging. It helps accelerate wound healing, and produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity.
Apart from being the go-to iron resource, spinach is also a great source of Vitamin A, with 100 gm of spinach covering 187% of our daily requirements. It also provides Vitamin C, Vitamin K, manganese, iron, and calcium. Indian cuisine has several preparations using spinach, but you can also cook the leaves into omelettes, pastas, stir-fries and soups.
While many people shy away from the yolk because of the high cholesterol and fat content, it also contains most of the vitamins and nutrients. The yolk is where the good stuff is, that is if you’re looking to up your intake of vitamins A, B12, and D, as well as your daily calcium, folate, and Omega-3s.
Whether dried or fresh, apricots are loaded with benefits. One cup of dried apricot halves contains 94% of the recommended value of Vitamin A for the day along with potassium, protein and fiber. Delicious and healthy, they can be enjoyed as snacks, with cereal, or even used as ingredients for sauces and broths.
Though not an everyday option, chicken liver is an extremely rich source of Vitamin A (retinol), as well as vitamin B-12, riboflavin, folate and iron. One serving supplies more than 100 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin A, apart from being a rich source of protein with comparatively low fat content. To counter-balance the cholesterol content, you can use chicken liver in small servings of pates, spreads and dips.