Vitamin Guide from A to Zinc: Vitamin A

carrotsIf you have ever heard the suggestion to eat your carrots for good vision, you were actually being told to eat a food high in vitamin A.

Vitamin A not only helps with vision but it is an antioxidant, which means that this substance can prevent damage to our bodies’ cells and also help with repairing damage. Additionally, vitamin A helps with maintaining our skin tissue and it is necessary for our cell growth. It also helps fight off infection, which in addition to the benefits listed above, makes vitamin A essential for our bodies.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Fat-soluble means that it does not dissolve in water and therefore our bodies don’t tend to get rid of it through urine as we do with the water-soluble vitamins such as the B vitamins. This is important to note as too much vitamin A in the system can be toxic. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for men is 1000 micrograms and for women it is 800 micrograms per day. You should consult your doctor to ensure you are getting the amounts that are right for you.

The best sources for getting vitamin A in your diet are through vegetables and fruits that are deep orange and dark green in color such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, spinach, bok choy and mustard greens. When Vitamin A is obtained through these kinds of plant sources, it is referred to as beta-carotene, which then gets converted into vitamin A in the liver. Other good sources of this vitamin are milk, milk products and eggs.

Stay tuned next week, December 4th, as the vitamin guide continues with the B vitamins, focusing on vitamin B12.

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