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The best sources of vitamin A

Thursday, 21 Oct 2010 04:29 PM

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is essential for normal growth and development of human beings.

·       
It is essential for healthy vision and helps your eyes to adjust to light changes when you come in from outside. 

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It also helps to keep your eyes, skin and mucous membranes moist.

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It boosts the immunity of the body and helps it fight illnesses off viral infections and illness like measles and pneumonia

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This vitamin promotes the formation of strong bones and can improve skin conditions like acne or psoriasis. Vitamin A is well known as a wrinkle eliminator.

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A form of vitamin A called beta-carotene has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals.

 Vitamin A mostly comes from animal foods. Some plant-based foods supply beta-carotene, which your body then converts into vitamin A. Plant sources include both fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin A, while animal sources include meat and poultry-derived foods.

Animal Sources: In animal foods, vitamin A is found as retinol, one of the most important forms of vitamin A. It is usually converted into retinal and retinoic acid. Some important sources of this include

1.    
Animal Liver, including cod liver oil

2.    
Beef

3.    
Chicken

4.    
 Eggs,

5.    
Fish

6.    
 Cheese

Plant Sources: In plants, vitamin A is found as provitamin A carotenoids. Some important carotenoids are carotene (alpha and beta carotene) and cryptoxanthin. 

Some of the fruits that are rich in vitamin A are

1.    
Apricot

2.    
Cantaloupe

3.    
Mango

4.    
Orange

5.    
Apple

6.    
Watermelon

7.    
Plum

8.    
Blackberries

9.    
Peaches

10. 
Kiwi

 Vegetable sources: Among the vegetable sources of vitamin A are

1.    
Carrots

2.    
Pumpkin

3.    
Broccoli leaf

4.    
Peas

5.    
Spinach

6.    
Sweet potato

7.    
Turnip

8.    
Tomatoes

9.    
Wheat germ

10.  
Escarole

11.  
Collards

12.  
Mustard green and aloe vera are rich sources of vitamin A.

However, cooking and storing of these vegetables and fruits may result in substantial loss of vitamin A.
Amongst the various benefits of Vitamin A are: it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect your cells against cancer and other diseases. It also improves your vision and prevents night blindness.

Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States but it can cause night blindness, eye inflammation, diarrhoea and other problems. Overconsumption of vitamin A can cause nausea, irritability and blurred vision in its mild form.

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