If your childhood memories include your mother coercing you into eating more carrots for better vision, then it’s likely that you already know them Vitamin A rich foods. Broadly speaking, Vitamin A is made up of two major nutrient groups: retinoids, which is found in animal food sources and carotenoids, which can be sourced from plants.
The body uses these nutrients across various systems, such as immunity repair and cell development. Carotenoids are a rich source of antioxidants known to lower the risk of age-related muscular degeneration and cataracts.
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.
While severe deficiency of the vitamin A can lead to night-blindness, the more common repercussion include catching infections easily due to loss of immunity, skin ailments and irritation and even poor thyroid function when coupled with iron deficiency.
But 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. Here are 5 rich and easily-available sources of Vitamin A (apart from carrots) to include in your weekly shopping.
A hundred grams of pumpkin fulfils over 170% of your daily requirements, while also being a good source of potassium and Vitamin C. Rich in carotenoids and relatively low in calories, pumpkins can be used as a sweet or savory ingredient across curries, salads, stir-fries and desserts.
A cup full of red peppers, whether fresh or cooked, can cover your Vitamin A requirements easily. While low in calories, they contain essential carbs, vitamins and folate as well as dietary fiber. You can add sliced red peppers to your sandwiches and wraps, or roast them along with other vegetables.
Apart from being the go-to iron resource, spinach is also a great source of Vitamin A, with 100gms 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.
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.