Vitamin A is one of the most important essential nutrients for our body. This vitamin is a great antioxidant, which gives us great health benefits. Although its best known benefit is the improvement of eye health, vitamin A has many other benefits, from cell growth and development to the prevention of certain types of cancer.
If you want to know the best benefits of this incredible vitamin and what foods are ideal to incorporate it into your diet, do not miss this article.
What foods contain more Vitamin A?
The precursors of vitamin A are retinol and carotene, which are found in a multitude of foods. Retinol is found in products of animal origin and carotene in those of plant origin.
Including them in your daily diet will not only ensure you do not suffer from any vitamin A deficiency, but you will also benefit from all its health properties.
Below you will find a list of the foods richest in vitamin A:
Milk and its derivatives (cheese, butter, cream, etc.)
Meat of chicken, turkey and veal
Liver (pork, veal and even pate or foie gras)
Eggs (especially the yolk)
Fish: eels, elvers, conger eel, clams, cockles and blue fish in general (salmon, tuna, sardine, mackerel, etc.)
Vegetables: carrots, spinach, broccoli, turnip greens, sweet potatoes, cabbage, kale and tomatoes
Fruits: Melon, apricots, mango and papaya
10 Benefits of Vitamin A
Vitamin A has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunopotentiating properties, in addition to providing many other benefits for our general health.
Improves eye health: Vitamin A is a fundamental part of the rhodopsin molecule, which is activated when light shines on the retina and sends a signal to the brain, which results in vision. That’s why this vitamin is so important for eye health. In addition, beta-carotene plays an essential role in the prevention of macular degeneration, the main cause of visual problems and age-related blindness.
Improves bone growth: Vitamin A is essential both for the growth of bones and teeth and to maintain its good condition over the years. Therefore, although children require more vitamin A to promote growth, in adulthood we should not neglect the intake of this vitamin. Its habitual consumption will be important to maintain a good bone density, thus preventing the appearance of osteoporosis.
Improves muscle development: Thanks to its antioxidant power, vitamin A is essential in the growth and regeneration of cells. This implies that this vitamin is very important for muscle development, especially in children. A deficiency of this vitamin in the early age could cause muscular dystrophy.
Strengthens the immune system: Several functions of the immune system depend on sufficient intake of vitamin A. That’s why this vitamin is essential to fight serious diseases and autoimmune diseases, but also milder illnesses like the flu or the cold. Beta-carotene is also a powerful antioxidant that can help stimulate the immune system and prevent various chronic diseases.
Prevents cancer: Vitamin A has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals in the body that cause cell degeneration and damage. This can lead to cancer, so taking enough vitamin A could prevent it. In addition, retinoic acid that contains vitamin A can prevent cancers of the lung, prostate, breast, ovary, bladder, mouth and skin.
Protects the heart: Vitamin A helps reduce levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol accumulates in the arteries, reducing the passage of blood to the heart. This, in turn, increases blood pressure, something very dangerous for both the heart and the kidneys. That’s why, thanks to vitamin A, you will reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or other heart problems.
Protects the digestive tract: Vitamin A protects the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. This means that this vitamin is able to promote digestion and avoid problems such as diarrhea or vomiting.
Combat inflammation: The anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin A contribute to reduced levels of inflammation, both local inflammation and inflammation caused by chronic or autoimmune diseases. It also helps to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. On the other hand, vitamin A can also help reduce the risk of developing certain types of food allergies, as it helps prevent the exaggerated inflammation that our body provokes as a reaction to these foods.
Take care of the skin: Thanks to its great antioxidant power, vitamin A is essential for the healing of wounds and the regeneration of the skin. In addition, it will also help you maintain a more toned and flexible skin, which will delay the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging, keeping your skin looking younger. In this aspect, vitamin A is also very effective in treating skin conditions, such as eczema, dermatitis or acne.
It is essential in pregnancy: As I commented, vitamin A is essential in the growth and development of cells and tissues. For this reason it will be important for the correct development of the fetus during pregnancy. A deficiency of this vitamin could cause malformations or congenital defects in the future baby.
What Causes Vitamin A Deficiency?
As vitamin A is an essential nutrient for our body, its deficiency or deficiency can lead to various health problems. Among the most common we find:
Eye problems and even blindness
Dryness and peeling of the skin
Sensitivity or gluten intolerance
Leaky gut syndrome
Inflammatory bowel disease
Disorders of the pancreas
Risk in pregnancy (especially in the last trimester)
Finally, it should be noted that excessive consumption of vitamin A can cause jaundice, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, irritability, hair loss, congenital defects, a decrease in bone density and liver problems.
However, it would be practically impossible to ingest such amounts of vitamin A only by consuming food. To suffer these side effects it would be necessary to take an excess of vitamin supplements. Therefore, it is very important not to take any vitamin supplement on our own, always consult a specialist doctor and follow your instructions to the letter. Do not play it!