Categories: General Health

The Health Benefits of Vitamin A – What is Vitamin A good for?

What is Vitamin A good for?

What is Vitamin A good for? Well, the health benefits of Vitamin A range from maintaining healthy vision, immune function, healthy skin and cell communication.

Vitamin A, is a group of fat-soluble compounds and is a powerful antioxidant, which reduces inflammation and free radical damage.

By filling our diet with antioxidants that Vitamin A help supply the aging process can be slowed naturally.

Two Types of Vitamin A

There are two types of vitamin A…

1. Retinoids – comes from animal food types

2. Carotenoids comes from plant foods. Beta-carotene is amongst this type of vitamin A

The A vitamin is most important for strengthening our body’s immunity against infections, several of the immune system functions are dependant on getting sufficient Vitamin A.

The Health Benefits of Vitamin A

Here is some of the biggest health benefits of Vitamin A….

The immune system is boosted by the beta carotene contained in vitamin A, which as we have mentioned above, is a powerful antioxidant.

If there is a deficiency of vitamin A in the body respiratory infections can occur, common colds and flu as well as more serious illnesses like cancer and autoimmune diseases.

A vitamin A deficiency in children has been found to make them more vulnerable to infections like measles and diarrhoea.

This vitamin is critical for the normality and maintenance of organs and especially the heart, lungs and kidneys as it supports the cell growth in our bodies.

Eyesight

Vitamin A plays a crucial role in our vision as it contains a critical component which supports the normal functioning of the retina.

It also helps with vision in dim light.

A deficiency of vitamin A could lead to a thickening of the cornea and possible blindness.

Macular degeneration, (age related blindness) could be prevented by beta carotene.

The National Eye Institute sponsored a study into Age Related Eye Disease and found that persons at high risk of macular degeneration, who all took a multi vitamin that included vitamin A along with vitamin C and E plus zinc and copper over a 6 year period, had a 25% reduction in the risk of advanced macular degeneration.

Skin Care

Our skin is dependant on vitamin A by supporting the skin cells internally and externally thereby helping skin regrowth and the healing of wounds.

A deficiency of vitamin A would result in the scaling, thickening and drying of the skin.

Retinoids

Retinoic acid is a metabolite of vitamin A (retinol) that mediates the functions of vitamin A required for growth and development.

Research into retinoic acid, which is important in cell development, has found that the molecular mechanisms in the acid could control cancer cells.  More research is required, as so far the results are inconclusive.

Retinoids are used orally and in cream form for the treatment of acne and even wrinkles.

A review published in the Dermatologic Therapy put forward…

“Retinoids are capable not only of repairing photoaged skin at both the clinical and biochemical levels but their use may prevent photo aging.”

Poor complexion can result from a lack of vitamin A, the lines and wrinkles are kept at bay as this vitamin helps collagen production and even contributes to healthy hair.

Other Health issues

The mucous membranes of the respiratory, urinary and gastrointestinal tracts could also be affected by becoming hard and dry.

Studies have been carried out on vitamin A as a treatment for other conditions like HIV, cataracts and some forms of cancer.

The University of York have carried out a study say indications are, that vitamin A could help in the treatment of certain forms of cancer like lung, bladder, breast, prostrate and ovarian by controlling and suppressing malignant cells.

Most of us get enough vitamin A from our diets but if you suffer from a digestive disorder or your diet is poor a supplement might be required.

However, this is best to be recommended by a doctor as too much vitamin A can lead to a toxic reaction.

Foods rich in Vitamin A –  Retinoid & Bete-Carotene

Now you know the health benefits of Vitamin A, it’s time to make sure vitamin A is included in your diet….

These foods will help do just that…

For the retinoid form of vitamin A include:

Dairy products

  • Cheese including blue cheese, cream cheese, Feta cheese, roquefort, cheddar, camembert, limburger and goats cheese.
  • Eggs (hard boiled)
  • Fortified spreads
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Yoghurt

Meat & Fish

  • Liver including goose liver pate, liver sausage lambs liver and beef liver.
  • Tuna, trout,
  • caviar, salmon and mackerel

For the Bete-Carotene form of Vitamin A include:

To make sure you are getting enough of the Bete-Carotene form of vitamin A make sure you eat these, although the vegetables are a richer form of beta-carotene the fruits will provide good amounts.

Fruit and Vegetables

  • By eating the Swiss chard, spinach red pepper, and romaine lettuce raw the amount of vitamin per serving is better.
  • Squash, winter squash and sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Red peppers
  • Kale, Swiss chard, spinach, turnip greens and collards
  • Cos or Romaine lettuce
  • Dried Prunes
  • Cantaloupe and water-melon
  • Mango, papaya, guava, passion fruit and apricots
  • Grapefruit, tangerine and nectarine
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4 Delicious Recipes packed full of Vitamin A

Here are six wonderful recipes that have ingredients from the vitamin A foods that are shown in the lists above….

1. Spinach and Feta Pie with an Oat crust

Picture: Green Kitchen Stories

You must try this lovely Spinach and Feta Pie with an Oat crust recipe from Green Kitchen stories.

It includes eggs as well as spinach and feta cheese.

2. Grilled Mediterranean Cedar Plank Salmon

Picture: Skinny Taste

Salmon is sooooo good for you and this deliciously simple recipe from Skinny Taste is packed full of flavour!

3. New & Improved Sweet Potato Brownies

Picture: Deliciously Ella

What better way is there to get children to eat vegetables than disguised as a cake!!

This superb recipe from Deliciously Ella for sweet potato brownies will have them fooled, and I am sure sweet toothed individuals will love them too!

4. Deviled Eggs

Picture: 101 Cookbooks

This egg recipe from 101 Cook books is for boiled eggs and includes yoghurt so just the thing to improve your vitamin A intake.

Let us know…

We hope you enjoyed reading about the health benefits of Vitamin A and some of the recipes mentioned above.

Now it’s time to go boost the amounts of vitamin A in your diet!

We’re sure you have lots of favorite recipes that you also use and would love to hear any ideas in the comments below….

Calm Happy Healthy

We exist to do all we can to help make life a richer, more inspiring and enjoyable experience, for you our reader. By aiming to help you realise that you have the power and ability to change what needs to be changed to improve your health, state of mind, diet, energy levels, reduce stress and do your bit to help look after the environment. Live a Calmer, Happier and Healthier life.

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