Fruits That Contain Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for the human body as it helps with vision, cell growth and division, immune function, bone growth and development, body tissue maintenance and wound healing. Vitamin A is a vital substance for the human body, and is necessary for good vision, healthy immune function, bone growth, tissue repair and more. Sources of vitamin A include cod liver oil, dark leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale, yellow fruits and orange veggies like cantaloupe or carrots. We will be discussing fruits that contain vitamin A in considerable amounts in this article.
What is vitamin A and why do we need it?
Vitamin A, along with other vitamins, minerals and other compounds, is an essential micronutrient. This means that our bodies cannot manufacture it and therefore it has to be included in our diet.
Vitamin A from food is stored in the liver until required by the body and is bound to protein before being transported to where it is needed.
Vitamin A is essential for many physiological processes, including maintaining the integrity and function of all surface tissues (epithelia): for example, the skin, the lining of the respiratory tract, the gut, the bladder, the inner ear and the eye. Vitamin A supports the daily replacement of skin cells and ensures that tissues such as the conjunctiva are able to produce mucous and provide a barrier to infection. Vitamin A is also essential for vision under conditions of poor lighting, for maintaining a healthy immune system, for growth and development and for reproduction. Vitamin A supports many systems in the body. For this reason, vitamin A deficiency is now referred to as vitamin A deficiency disorders. For simplicity, however, we will continue to use the older term vitamin A deficiency (VAD).
One of the main consequences of VAD is an increased risk of severe infection. Infection increases the body’s demand for vitamin A and so the deficiency gets worse. Children can therefore become involved in a vicious cycle of deficiency and infection, which is why vitamin A deficiency is such an important cause of child mortality.
Food sources of vitamin A
Fruits and vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables, for example amaranth (red or green), spinach and chard
Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
Liver, eggs, milk (including breast milk)
Red palm oil or biruti palm oil
Vitamin A, whether from plant or animal sources, is essential for health
Sources of vitamin A
There are two main sources of vitamin A: animal sources and plant sources. All the sources of vitamin A need some fat in the diet to aid absorption.
In animal sources, vitamin A is found as retinol, the ‘active’ form of vitamin A. Liver, including fish liver, is a very good source. Other animal sources are egg yolk (not the white) and dairy products such as milk (including human breast milk), cheese and butter. Meat, from the animal’s muscles, is not a good source.
Plant sources contain vitamin A in the form of carotenoids which have to be converted during digestion into retinol before the body can use it. Carotenoids are the pigments that give plants their green colour and some fruits and vegetables their red or orange colour.
Plant sources of vitamin A include: mangos, papaya, many of the squashes, carrots, sweet potatoes and maize (but not the white varieties). Other good sources of vitamin A are red palm oil and biruti palm oil. (Note: if these oils are boiled to remove their colour the vitamin A is destroyed.)
Some fruits and vegetables are easier to digest than others, and it has been shown that dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach or amaranth are harder to digest. Mashing these vegetables up after cooking makes them easier to digest. When mashed they can be added to staples, which also makes them easier to disguise – children the world over do not like green vegetables!
It is important that all sources of vitamin A are not overcooked, as this can reduce the vitamin A content. Ultraviolet light can also reduce the vitamin A content of food, so drying of fruits such as mangos should not be done in direct sunlight (see page 73).
Diets that rely heavily on local carbohydrates, such as rice, fufu, ugali, cassava, millet and sorghum, are very low in vitamin A, unless vitamin A-rich foods are added.
How much vitamin A does a child need?
Because children are growing, they need a relatively high intake of vitamin A; about half as much as an adult. Another reason for the relatively high intake is because children are prone to infection which increases the metabolic rate and hence the rate at which they use vitamin A.
Breast milk contains enough vitamin A for children up to six months of age, but after that complementary foods (the foods given in addition to breast milk) should include small amounts of vitamin A-rich foods.
For a young child, a balanced diet that is rich in vitamin A should include helpings of at least 2–3 vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables a day, plus a little bit of fat to aid absorption.
Young children are totally dependent on their mother or other carers for their diet, and so it is vital that mothers and carers of young children know what constitutes a healthy diet for their child.
Vitamin A-Vitamins and minerals
Vitamin A, also known as retinol, has several important functions.
- helping your body’s natural defence against illness and infection (the immune system) work properly
- helping vision in dim light
- keeping skin and the lining of some parts of the body, such as the nose, healthy
Good sources of vitamin A
Good sources of vitamin A (retinol) include:
- oily fish
- fortified low-fat spreads
- milk and yoghurt
- liver and liver products such as liver pâté – this is a particularly rich source of vitamin A, so you may be at risk of having too much vitamin A if you have it more than once a week (if you’re pregnant you should avoid eating liver or liver products)
You can also get vitamin A by including good sources of beta-carotene in your diet, as the body can convert this into retinol.
The main food sources of beta-carotene are:
- yellow, red and green (leafy) vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers
- yellow fruit, such as mango, papaya and apricots
How much vitamin A do I need?
The total vitamin A content of a food is usually expressed as micrograms (µg) of retinol equivalents (RE).
The amount of vitamin A adults aged 19 to 64 need is:
- 700 µg a day for men
- 600 µg a day for women
You should be able to get all the vitamin A you need from your diet.
Any vitamin A your body does not need immediately is stored for future use. This means you do not need it every day.
What happens if I take too much vitamin A?
Some research suggests that having more than an average of 1.5 mg (1,500 µg) a day of vitamin A over many years may affect your bones, making them more likely to fracture when you’re older.
This is particularly important for older people, especially women, who are already at increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones.
If you eat liver or liver pâté more than once a week, you may be getting too much vitamin A.
Many multivitamins contain vitamin A. Other supplements, such as fish liver oil, are also high in vitamin A.
If you take supplements containing vitamin A, make sure your daily intake from food and supplements does not exceed 1.5 mg (1,500 µg).
If you eat liver every week, do not take supplements that contain vitamin A.
If you’re pregnant
Having large amounts of vitamin A can harm your unborn baby. So if you’re pregnant or thinking about having a baby, do not eat liver or liver products, such as pâté, because these are very high in vitamin A.
Also avoid taking supplements that contain vitamin A. Speak to your GP or midwife if you would like more information.
What does the Department of Health and Social Care advise?
You should be able to get all the vitamin A you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.
If you take a supplement that contains vitamin A, do not take too much because this could be harmful.
Liver is a very rich source of vitamin A. Do not eat liver or liver products, such as pâté, more than once a week.
You should also be aware of how much vitamin A there is in any supplements you take.
If you’re pregnant or thinking of having a baby:
- avoid taking supplements containing vitamin A, including fish liver oil, unless advised to by your GP
- avoid liver or liver products, such as pâté, as these are very high in vitamin A
Women who have been through the menopause and older men, who are more at risk of osteoporosis, should avoid having more than 1.5mg of vitamin A a day from food and supplements.
- not eating liver or liver products, such as pâté, more than once a week, or having smaller portions of these
- taking no more than 1.5mg of vitamin A a day in supplements (including fish liver oil) if you do not eat liver or liver products
- not taking any supplements containing vitamin A (including fish liver oil) if you eat liver once a week
Having an average of 1.5mg a day or less of vitamin A from diet and supplements combined is unlikely to cause any harm.
Vitamin A In Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits & Vegetables that are High in Vitamin A
Fruits and vegetables that contain 1000 International Units (IU) or more of vitamin A per reference amount (20% of the Daily Value per reference amount) qualify to carry the label “high in vitamin A.”
Fruits and vegetables that contain 500 IU to less than 1000 IU of vitamin A per reference amount (10-19% of the Daily Value per reference amount) qualify to carry the label “good source of vitamin A.”
10 foods that are rich in vitamin A
We all know that vitamin A plays an important role in maintaining our vision, but, apart from that it is also essential for boosting the immune system and keeping our reproductive system healthy! The breezy season has arrived and with that comes a variety of diseases like cold, flu, fever, etc. To keep these diseases at bay, we need to have a very strong immune system but how do we achieve that? It’s very simple, just eat foods which have high vitamin A content!
Vitamin A deficiency can make you blind, cause various hair and skin related issues as well as it can also increase your chances of falling sick. On the other hand, if you consume it above the recommended level, it can cause nausea, irritability, loss of appetite and jaundice. So, you must have a diet that is rich in vitamin A but moderation is always the key to good health. Here, in this article, we have compiled a list of 10 vitamin A-rich food items. Read on to find them out!
Now you know why we eat gajar ka halwa in winters! Carrot is an excellent source of vitamin A and it comes in the form of beta-carotene, which is a very healthy antioxidant. If you eat it daily, it will improve your vision and boost your immunity! One carrot has 7835 IU of vitamin A and one serving(100 grams) has 17033 IU of vitamin A.
If you love spinach then, you are in luck! A cup of spinach provides a whopping 2,813 IU of vitamin A. So, have spinach soup this winter and get a stronger immunity instantly!
3. Sweet Potatoes
This root vegetable is enjoyed widely in this cold season because everyone likes the way it tastes like! But, do you know that 100 grams of sweet potato can provide you 19218 IU of vitamin A, which is 384% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A. This vegetable is also low in calories and gives only 100 calories per serving, so if you want to lose weight or just wish to eat healthy, have it!
Want a low-cal vegetarian source of vitamin A? Eat cantaloupe! 100 grams of cantaloupe contains 3382 IU of vitamin A, which can help you meet 68% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A.
Lettuce is a yummy leafy vegetable which tastes amazing and can instantly enhance the taste of any dish! This food definitely needs a place in your daily diet! You get 361 IU of vitamin A in one cup of shredded iceberg lettuce.
6. Bell Peppers
Have it raw in a salad or cook it with something, that’s your choice! But, do you know that one cup of chopped bell peppers can provide you 4665 IU of vitamin A, which is almost the complete daily dosage of vitamin A.
This flavourful, delicious and nutritious vegetable is one of the best vitamin A-rich foods. If you have 100 grams of cooked butternut squash, you get 11155 UI of vitamin A. So, have it now to get various health benefits!
If you want to have something yummy and refreshing then, reach for a grapefruit! The red or pink variant of this fruit contains about 2,830 IU of vitamin A. So, what are you waiting for? Give your immunity an instant boost with this fruit!
When it comes to vitamin A-rich foods, we just can’t miss this vegetable! Broccoli is a great source of vitamin A that provides 3,788 IU per bunch. So, include it in your diet to stay healthy this winter!
Do you like papaya? If yes, then it is great for you! A small papaya contains about 30% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A. Add it to your smoothies or eat them raw, it will surely make your skin and vision healthy!
Foods high in vitamin A
- Vitamin A helps to keep your body cells healthy and maintain a healthy immune system.
- Fruits and vegetables — especially orange, red and yellow ones — are an excellent source of vitamin A and carotenes.
- Maintaining a balanced diet is the best way to get the nutrients you need for good health.
Why should I include vitamin A in my diet?
Vitamin A helps to keep your body’s cells healthy and maintain a healthy immune system.
Vitamin A is considered an essential vitamin. This means that your body cannot produce it. Your body relies on a diet that includes vitamin A. Some fruits and vegetables contain provitamin-A carotenoids, including beta-carotene. These undergo a reaction in your body to form vitamin A. This conversion doesn’t happen with animal sources of vitamin A.
What are the natural sources of vitamin A?
Fruit and vegetables
Sometimes the colour of a food can indicate its nutrients. Eating different coloured fruits and vegetables increases the variety of vitamins you get. Fruits and vegetables — especially red, orange and yellow ones — are excellent sources of vitamin A and carotenes.
Vitamin A is most concentrated in liver and fish oils. Milk, cheese and yoghurt have many health benefits, including calcium and protein. They are also rich in fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin A.
Eggs, particularly egg yolks, are another excellent source of vitamin A.
Full-fat dairy foods are a good source of vitamin A. But the Australian Dietary Guidelines state that choosing full-fat varieties can increase the saturated fat and energy (kilojoule) content in your diet.
What if I’m on a restrictive diet?
The best way to give your body enough vitamins is to eat a varied diet. If you are on a vegan, vegetarian or other diet that restricts the range of foods you eat, you may need to take vitamin supplements to avoid deficiency and stay healthy.
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Take care when taking a particular vitamin as a supplement, since this might mean your body has a lot of this vitamin and not enough of other essential nutrients.
Vitamin-rich food has other nutrients, which help your body to absorb and use the vitamins.
The way you prepare your food also affects how well vitamins are absorbed. For example, cutting up or cooking vitamin A-rich food will help you get the most out of it.
What is a balanced diet?
To maintain a balanced diet, it’s important to monitor what you eat and drink. You should have a variety of nutritious foods from all five food groups every day.
The 5 food groups are:
- vegetables and legumes/beans — at least 5 serves daily
- fruit — 2 serves daily
- lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans — 1 to 3 serves a day, depending on your age (and during pregnancy, 3-4 serves a day are recommended)
- milk, yoghurt cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat — at least 2-3 serves daily, with the minimum amount varying based on your age, sex and life stage
- grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties — the number of daily wholegrain cereal serves you need varies based on your age and life stage, ranging from 4 serves daily for children to 6 serves daily for adult males under 70 years and adult females under 50 years of age