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Vitamin A is very important and helps with the formation and maintenance of healthy skin, hair and mucous membranes. It helps to regulate the immune system and might help white blood cells, which fight off infections, work more effectively. This vitamin also is necessary in essential body functions such as bone growth, tooth development and reproduction. One of the usable forms of the vitamin is retinol, which is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for proper vision and bone development. There are many foods containing vitamin A, including animal products, fortified products and dark-colored fruits and vegetables.
Many animal products are common foods containing vitamin A. They include whole eggs, liver and milk products. Cow liver typically has the most amount of vitamin A, compared to other types of animal livers, such as chicken livers. Milk products with this vitamin include whole milk, butter, yogurt, cheese and ice cream, and cow milk tends to have more vitamin A than goat milk or soy milk.
Fortified products, such as cereals, are other types of foods containing vitamin A. People can receive this nutrient by incorporating whole grain cereal, oatmeal and fortified bread into their daily diets. Vegetarians and vegans who typically do not eat animal products can incorporate more fortified products to meet the daily nutrient requirements provided by this vitamin.
One of the easiest ways to ensure the intake of foods containing vitamin A is by eating lots of dark-colored vegetables and fruits. Some foods that have very high amounts of vitamin A include sweet potatoes, butternut squash, broccoli, spinach and kale. Fruits with high vitamin A content are apricots, mangos, cantaloupe, cherries and many types of berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. Apples also contain high amounts of this nutrient, but the peel must be consumed as well.
When planning meals with foods containing vitamin A, one typically needs to incorporate all different types of the food categories. For example, one should plan to eat a fortified cereal or toast with berries for breakfast, along with a glass of milk. This type of meal planning provides vitamin A as part of a well-balanced diet.
The daily requirements of vitamins usually are measured in international units (IU). Adult males need to consume a minimum of 3,000 IU of Vitamin A per day, adult females need to consume at least 2,333 IU, pregnant women should consume a minimum of 2,500 IU, and lactating women need to consume at least 4,000 IU. These requirements can be easy to meet, because one large carrot is estimated to contain more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A.
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