With the proliferation of processed, ready-made foods, vitamin A deficiency is increasing world-wide—though its incidence in the United States is less common than in developing countries.
A necessary nutrient and effective antioxidant for organ health and the immune and reproduction systems , many of the fresh foods we eat contain vitamin A.
Here are some of the best sources.
1. Animal liver and other organ meats
These are rich in vitamin A, as are eggs, salmon, shrimp, and cow’s milk. You can do without the animal products if you prefer and get what you need strictly from plant sources.
Probably the best-known source of vitamin A, carrots and other orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in beta-carotene . Not only for vision, carotenoids have been shown to support male fertility. What’s up, Doc?
3. Sweet potatoes
Like carrots, these orange root vegetables aren’t really potatoes and are carotenoids. One ounce of sweet potato contains all of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin A. With fiber and vitamin C, sweet potatoes are more nutritious than their distant white and yellow cousins as well as the yam with which it’s often confused. Yams and sweet potatoes come from different plant families. Yams are not easily found in North America; what you get at the supermarket are sweet potatoes, whether yellow- or orange-fleshed.
This pretty vegetable is so good for you, it’s almost silly. Don’t relegate it to being just a garnish on the plate; with gobs of vitamins A and K, in addition to iron, potassium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and many other nutrients, it deserves a prime spot. Try it dried slowly in a warm oven, sprinkled with lemon juice or olive oil and nutritional yeast—crunchy, it’s better than cheese puffs and incredibly nutritious—on salads or by the handful.
One of the oldest and richest food sources on the planet, chlorella is a green algae that grows on fresh water. High in vitamin A, it also contains zinc, which helps your body to absorb the nutrients. You can get chlorella in capsule, tablet, or powder form but mind the source: there is no producer of chlorella in North America and what comes from China is likely to contain contaminants . Taiwan and Korea are better sources.
With 12,000 IU (international units) of vitamin A per ounce, this food comes in second only to chlorella. It is as its name implies: grass from the wheat family. You can grow your own from seed in small batches and use in smoothies. Alternatively, you can buy wheatgrass powder. With other antioxidant vitamins C and E, wheatgrass maintains eye health and can help prevent macular degeneration .
Go get your vitamin A and see you later.