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Food & Snack Sources of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is not actually a single compound but a group of fat-soluble molecules. The vitamin supports important physiological processes and is an essential part of a balanced diet. Choosing foods and snacks that contain vitamin A will help maintain these processes and help support your overall health.

What Does Vitamin A Do?

Vitamin A consists of several molecules within the retinoid class, including retinol, retinyl esters, and retinal (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2016). This vitamin is necessary to promote the health of skin, teeth, soft tissues, and mucus membranes (Wax, 2015). One of the most critical roles of vitamin A is to help form the compound rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is a protein found in the retinas of the eyes. It is important for vision, particularly in low light.

Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is one of four fat-soluble vitamins used by the human body (the others are D, E, and K). This means that the body stores excess vitamin A in fat deposits. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, which are simple excreted when found in excess, it is technically possible to overdose on vitamin A. In practice, this is highly unlikely among people following typical diet plans.

The units of vitamin A are typically listed as micrograms (mcg) of retinol activity equivalents, or RAEs. This is because different forms of vitamin A differ in their activity. All vitamin A sources are eventually metabolized into retinol, making this an easy way to assess daily intake.

Adult men need 900 mcg RAE per day, while women need 700 mcg RAE. During pregnancy, women should aim to get 770 mcg RAE. While breastfeeding, their need increases sharply; lactating women should try to get 1,300 mcg RAE per day.

Foods that Are Good Sources of Vitamin A

Fruits, vegetables, and other foods make good sources of vitamin A. Eating a varied and healthy diet will ensure you naturally get enough of this important nutrient. Some good sources of vitamin A include (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2016):

  • Sweet potatoes (1,400 mcg RAE per sweet potato)
  • Spinach (573 mcg RAE per ½ cup)
  • Cantaloupe (135 mcg RAE per ½ cup)
  • Beef liver (6,500 mcg RAE per 3 ounce serving)
  • Carrots (459 mcg RAE per ½ cup)

The type of vitamin A depends on whether the food is a plant or animal source. Animal sources primarily contain preformed vitamin A, while plant-based sources tend to have vitamin A precursors. Both of these forms are a good way to get vitamin A into your diet.

Best Ways to Ensure Vitamin A Absorption

Because vitamin A is fat soluble, it is best absorbed when taken with dietary fats. Some foods rich in vitamin A, such as beef liver, naturally contain fats. Alternatively, it can be helpful to eat vitamin A-rich foods with nuts, seeds, flaxseed oil, or olive oil.

Recipes Rich in Vitamin A

If you’re looking for meals or snacks that ensure you consume sufficient amounts of this essential nutrient then look no further than to our compilation of recipes below. Each of these delectable dishes offers a superb supply of the vitamin to help you meet your nutritional needs.

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

Get a whopping 191% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A before lunch with a serving of this palatable pumpkin pudding. The low-calorie meal is also rich in protein and fiber!
Ingredients: Milk, pumpkin puree, chia seeds, maple syrup, pumpkin spice, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, fresh blueberries.
Total Time: 10 minutes | Yield: 4 188-gram servings

Protein-Packed Detox Smoothie {vegan}

Protein-Packed Detox Smoothie Recipe {vegan}

This super smoothie is rich in vitamins and minerals, offering even more of the nutrient than our pudding with 150% of the DV for vitamin A in each serving! The smoothie also serves up iron, calcium, potassium, protein and fiber in abundance.
Ingredients: Almond milk, frozen banana, spirulina, hemp protein powder (optional), fresh mint, chia seeds, hemp hearts.
Total Time: 5 minutes | Yield: 2 399-gram servings

Pumpkin Granola Bars {gluten-free}

Pumpkin Granola Bars Recipe {gluten-free}

Another recipe that makes use of redolent, vitamin-rich pumpkin, these granola bars provide a perfect snack for anytime. Each bar also offers a hearty supply of iron, protein and fiber.
Ingredients: Gluten-free rolled oats, pumpkin puree, cashew butter, honey, maple syrup, dark chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin spice.
Total Time: 45 minutes | Yield: 8 bars

Quinoa Veggie Wrap {vegan}

Quinoa Veggie Wrap Recipe {vegan}

Each of these simple vegan wraps contains 90% of the DV for vitamin A in addition to 11 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein. Pack these palatable portions for a readily portable treat you can bring anywhere.
Ingredients: Tortilla wraps, quinoa, hummus, fresh spinach, sun-tomatoes, shredded carrots.
Total Time: 30 minutes | Yield: 4 wraps

Farro Vegetable Salad

Farro Vegetable Salad Recipe

This scrumptious salad serves up a moderate amount of the vitamin, along with other essential vitamins and minerals. Add this delicious dish to your repository of recipes for a well-balanced delight that pairs with any plate!
Ingredients: Organic farro, sun dried tomatoes, frozen corn (thawed), scallions, black olives, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, salt, fresh dill, fresh mint, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar.
Total Time: 1 hour | Yield: 6 254-gram servings

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers {gluten-free}

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Recipe {gluten-free}

A perfect plate for supper, these peppers are packed with a plethora of wholesome ingredients, which together offer more than a third of the DV for vitamin A, 27 grams of fiber, and 30 grams of protein among other copious quantities of essential vitamins and vitamins.
Ingredients: Quinoa, green bell peppers, canned lentils, fresh spinach, feta cheese, frozen corn (thawed), salt, black pepper.
Total Time: 40 minutes | Yield: 6 259-gram servings (8 half-peppers)

Snack Sources of Vitamin A

Searching for easy ways to add vitamin A to your diet with relatively little effort? Check out the suggestions below for snacks and ingredients that are packed with this needed nutrient.

References

Office of Dietary Supplements (2016). Vitamin A. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/

Wax, E. (2015). Vitamin A. Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002400.htm