Vitamin A is one of the more important nutrients your body needs on a daily basis, being responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your skin, teeth, and soft tissues. Vitamin A deficiency causes your body to be more prone to infectious diseases, and vision problems can emerge or worsen. On the flipside, too much Vitamin A can result in problems as well. We can get sick or experience changes in skin color, and women can bear children with birth defects. Thyroid dysfunction is another problem associated with severe deficiency.
What is it?
There are two types of Vitamin A that are commonly found in every day food items – preformed vitamin A is found in animal products, such as meats, fish, poultry, and dairy foods. Pro-vitamin A is found in plant based foods – fruit, vegetables, etc. The biggest difference between the two is how each is metabolized in the body. Pro-vitamin A is ingested and then metabolized and supplied only if there is a demand for it in your body; it’s created as your body needs to use it. Preformed vitamin A, on the other hand, is the more beneficial of the two, but is considered fat-soluble and can be stored in your body. This means it’s entirely possible to take in toxic amounts of Vitamin A, which can have some of the adverse effects mentioned above.
As with most other vitamins, you can also find it in supplement form. Retinyl Acetate and Retinyl Palmitate are two of the more common preformed dietary supplements, while beta-carotene is the most accessible pro-vitamin.
How do I get it?
It’s highly recommended that get your supply of Vitamin A daily via eating a wide range of colorful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dried beans, and dairy. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends the following dosage for daily consumption:
Infants (average intake)
- 0 – 6 months: 400 micrograms per day (mcg/day)
- 7 – 12 months: 500 mcg/day
- 1 – 3 years: 300 mcg/day
- 4 – 8 years: 400 mcg/day
- 9 – 13 years: 600 mcg/day
Adolescents and Adults (RDA)
- Males age 14 and older: 900 mcg/day
- Females age 14 and older: 700 mcg/day
Of course, if you consider yourself to be under unique circumstances (such as being pregnant), you need to consult a medical professional to develop a plan for your specific needs.
If you want to get the appropriate daily intake of Vitamin A, foods containing a dense amount of the nutrient are a good place to start. But before you head to the grocery store, you should consider adding Dr. Willard’s Water® to your routine, and here’s why. Not only does it increase nutrient absorption, which means you’re able to raise the percentage of Vitamin A you’re pulling from the food you eat (increasing efficiency), it removes wastes away from the cells and out of the body. Instead of eating more Vitamin A-rich food, which can put you at risk of hypervitaminosis (overconsumption of vitamin A), simply eat the same amount but get more out of it. Dr. Willard’s Water® is also ideal for supplemental use, making pro-vitamin A all that more appealing.
With that in mind, here’s a great list of foods high in Vitamin A density. Feel free to compare different cooking methods and serving sizes by following the links to each of the foods listed!
- Liver (Veal, cooked)
- Spices (Paprika, Cayenne, Chili Powder)
- Sweet Potato (Cooked)
- Carrots (Cooked)
- Kale (Frozen, cooked)
- Dried Apricots
- Butternut Squash (Cooked)
- Dried Herbs (Mint)
- Cos or Romaine Lettuce
- Fresh Herbs (Parsley)