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Curious about how to get the amount of vitamin A your body needs to keep important functions such as immunity and vision working? Here are the top food sources.
You might not realise it, but vitamin A is already part of your daily routine. Whether it’s in the form of the skincare hero, retinol, or in your favourite meals, this vitamin keeps our overall health in check and supports our immune system and vision, while taking care of our skin too.
With such a list of benefits, you’re probably already wondering where can you get this amazing nutrient from. Unfortunately, this is one of a handful of vitamins our body is unable to produce. But the good news is that we’ve got plenty of food sources that help us replenish our vitamin A stores: from meats and vegetables to dietary supplements, if you need a little boost.
Get your shopping list out, here are the best foods for vitamin A.
Did you know that most vitamin A is stored in the liver? This is true not only for humans, but also for animals. This is why liver is a great source of vitamin A. Beef liver and lamb liver can be paired with potatoes and mushrooms. And if you want to go for an even bigger dose of vitamin A with one meal, salads are a great addition, especially when the ingredients are vitamin-A-rich spinach, carrots or red peppers.
However, don’t go overboard either as too much vitamin A may affect our bones1. According to the NHS, if you eat liver or liver pâté more than once a week, you may be getting too much vitamin A. Because liver is such an incredibly rich source of vitamin A, be careful not to add it to your meals too often.
Leafy green vegetables seem to always make it to the top of the list when it comes to foods rich in nutrients. So, they’re naturally present here too, as one of the best food sources for vitamin A. Grab a handful of spinach and you’ll be holding in your hand over half of the recommended amount (600 micrograms for women and 700 micrograms for men2). Add this popular green veg to soups, salads or sandwiches and enjoy all the nutrients it has in store for us.
Vitamin A is available in its retinol form, but our bodies can also get the amount needed from beta carotene – a substance which gives some vegetables their vivid colours. So, if you’re looking for vitamin A foods, add red or orange vegetables to your meal for a constant supply of this precious nutrient. Sweet potatoes are one of the best choices. Once you bake them, the combinations are endless. You can stuff them with other vitamin-rich vegetables or turn them into a side dish with your favourite dressing.
Another gorgeous orange vegetable and a great food source of vitamin A, carrots are just as tasty in a soup, in a cake, roasted or enjoyed raw and dipped into hummus. This bright vegetable is so easy to incorporate into your daily meals and comes packed not only with vitamin A, but also with vitamin K, vitamin B6 and minerals such as potassium.
Low in calories, but big on nutrients, red peppers are one of the best food sources of vitamin A. Vitamin C and B6 can also be found in this eye-catching vegetable. So, if you want a food that delivers an unmistakable taste, adds an amazing colour to your recipes and is packed with nutrients, red peppers check all the boxes. Roasted, stuffed, caramelised or raw, this vegetable remains delicious no matter how you decide to enjoy it.
For fruit lovers, their dose of vitamin A comes straight from the Tropics. Mango is an excellent source of antioxidants and fibre and it offers a delicious way to get a bit of extra vitamin A too. There are so many incredible desserts you can prepare with this amazing fruit, but don’t forget that you can enjoy it on its own as well.
Dessert fans have a delightful food source for their vitamin A intake: pumpkin pie. This treat contains pumpkin, an orange vegetable and therefore a good source of beta carotene. But if you want to keep calories in check, plain pumpkin might be a better choice.
Vitamin A supplements
You should aim to take all the vitamin A your body needs from food sources. Thankfully, we’ve got plenty of delicious options to enjoy. But if you need a bit of extra help, vitamin A can be found in supplements as well. If you’re not sure what dose you need, check with your doctor. And make sure you’re not combining supplements with foods rich in vitamin A such as liver to avoid too much of this precious nutrient building up in your body.