This is the first post in a series I'm going to write on nutrition. I am going to do a separate post on each of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. I'll give a brief overview of the vitamin or mineral, how much the body needs, common food sources, and a brief recipe featuring that nutrient. Please note I am not a professional dietetic, though I passed my "Nutrition for Health Professionals" course with flying colors and am including my resources in each post so that you can verify the information for yourself.
Vitamin A consists of a group of fat-soluble retinoids (related chemical compounds). Vitamin A plays a role in vision, reproduction, cellular communication, and immune function. It also assists cell growth and differentiation (source).
There are two forms of vitamin A: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A carotenoids. Preformed vitamin A is ready to go and is found mainly in animal liver and fish oils. Preformed vitamin A is also the main component of vitamin A found in supplements. Provitamin A is found in plant sources and gets converted into vitamin A by the body after consumption. The most important provitamin A is the carotenoid beta-carotene (source).
Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States. Vitamin A is fat soluble, meaning it gets absorbed into the body alongside fats and oils. The body stores excess amounts in fatty tissues, especially in the liver. If levels accumulate too much it can be toxic to the body. Preformed vitamin A can cause significant toxicity known as hypervitaminosis A, while large amounts of provitamin A carotenoids have not shown major adverse effects. This means it is safer to get vitamin A from food sources rather than supplements (source).
Females aged 19-50 are recommended to consume 700 mcg of vitamin A each day. This amount varies depending on age and gender, so if you fall into another category please check out the table found here to see you recommended daily intake.
Vitamin A Food Sources
Food source references can be found here and here. A fun fact about vitamin A: vitamins will not be lost when the foods containing them are cooked! (source)
Sweet Potato (1 medium, 4 oz): 1096 mcg
Canned Pumpkin (0.5 c): 1007 mcg
Carrots, Cooked (0.5 c): 655 mcg
Butternut Squash (0.5 c): 604 mcg
Swiss Chard, Cooked (0.5 c): 566 mcg
Kale, Cooked (0.5 c): 470 mcg
Spinach, Cooked (0.5 c): 498 mcg
Lettuce, Romaine (1.0 c): 258 mcg
Lettuce, Red Leaf (1.0 c): 218 mcg
Red Peppers, Cooked (0.5 c): 106 mcg
Cantaloupe (0.5 c): 143 mcg
Goat Cheese (1-1/2 oz): 204 mcg
Ricotta Cheese (0.5 c): 145 mcg
Eggs (2, large): 200 mcg
Cod Liver Oil: 1,382 mcg
Bluefin Tuna (2-1/2 oz): 500 mcg
Animal Liver (2-1/2 oz): 3,222-15,859 mcg
A Recipe for Vitamin A
This is a recipe for roasted butternut squash, carrots, and sweet potato. Source.
Cube the squash and sweet potato and cut up the carrots. Mix them together in a large bowl with olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.
I enjoyed this recipe so much that I ate the whole pan in two days! The combination of honey and black pepper really made the flavors of the vegetables pop. This recipe is great to add to your collection with the fall season coming up. Additional recipes that work well with these veggies include balsamic glazed carrots, sweet potato fries, and penne with butternut squash.
Hi my name is Emilee and these are my adventures as a young adult living in Milwaukee. Here I will share my experiences as I navigate through college. Thanks for stopping by!