Why do we need Vitamin A?
• Important in vision, helps prevent "night blindness" (difficulty seeing at night)
• Necessary for cell growth and maintenance of skin tissue
• Is an antioxidant (substance that may help the body fight diseases such as cancer and heart disease)
How can we get enough Vitamin A in our diets?
Good sources of vitamin A in the diet include fruits and vegetables, especially those that are deep orange or dark green in color. Carrots, spinach, cantaloupe, fortified milk, sweet potatoes, apricots, broccoli, mangos, tomatoes are all excellent sources. Vitamin A can also be found in dairy products, liver and egg yolks. Most healthy adults need between 800-1000 ug RE (microgram retinol equivalents) vitamin A per day
|1 medium baked sweet potato
|1 medium raw carrot
|1 cup cantaloupe pieces
|2 scrambled eggs
|1/2 cup cooked broccoli
|8 ounces low fat milk
|1 cup canned peaches in juice
What about Vitamin A supplements?
Since vitamin A helps to maintain skin, doctors often use it to treat acne and other skin conditions. Watch out, though! Excess amounts of a kind of vitamin A known as beta-carotene can turn your skin orange! High doses of vitamin A can even be toxic. That's because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and we don't tend to get rid of it in the urine like we do with some water-soluble vitamins. Instead, the extra gets stored in our liver or body fat. Before you take extra vitamin A, either by putting it on your skin or taking a pill, ask your doctor. He or she can help you determine the benefits of vitamin A for you.
Words to know
• Water-soluble vitamin - vitamin that dissolves in water: B vitamins, vitamin C
• Fat-soluble vitamin - vitamin that does not dissolve in water: vitamins A, D, E and K.
• Antioxidants - substances that have been shown to help the body cells fight diseases such as cancer and heart disease
• Beta-carotene - a form of vitamin A found in dark green or dark orange fruits and vegetables
• Toxic - poisonous