Nutrient of the Week: Vitamin A
If you frequently eat red, yellow, and orange peppers, kale, or exotic fruit, then you most likely have good levels of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient, which means it can only be absorbed if your diet contains fat. Vitamin A is found in two different forms. The first being retinol which is found in animal foods, and the second more popular form is beta-carotene which is seen in plant foods.
Why do I need Vitamin A?
Being deficient in any nutrient will inhibit your body’s ability to perform and recovery properly. However, overdosing on vitamins will lead to them to reach toxic levels, and can cause all sorts of damage including vomiting, nausea, and blurred vision. Also, your teeth and bones require appropriate levels of vitamin A, especially during childhood and puberty.
YES! Just like we just discussed how you need more vitamin A during infancy and puberty, research indicates you may need more vitamin A if you have diabetes, gout, or liver disease.
There are many foods that are either naturally high in vitamin A, and foods that have been fortified with vitamin A. Some of the best foods that naturally have vitamin A include: carrots, kale, peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe. Milk, margarine, and some cereals are examples of foods that are fortified with vitamin A.
The takeaway message here is to make sure you are consistently consuming some of the foods mentioned above to make sure you’re attaining the adequate amount of vitamin A per day. Lastly, make sure to store these types of foods in cool areas without a lot of light because heat and light can cause the vitamin A levels in foods to decrease.
Busch, F., Health and Wellness Reference Library. Smart Nutrition: The Essential Vitamin, Mineral & Supplement Reference Guide. 2002. Pages 32-35