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25 Foods that are rich sources of vitamin A

Health and Nutrition
20.03.2020

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.

There are two different types of vitamin A, retinoids and carotenoids. The first type, preformed vitamin A, is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. The second type carotenoid also provitamin A, is found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products (1).

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

An adult required 600 ug of retinal or 2400 ug of B carotene per day. 4 ug of beta carotene is converted to 1 ug of retinal in the intestinal wall and liver (1).

Beta-carotene

Carotenoids are structurally and functionally a very varied group of natural pigments. Beta-carotene is a fat-soluble carotenoid and is a provitamin that can be converted to active vitamin A.  Dietary carotenoids exhibit antioxidant activity and protect against cancer, cardiovascular or photosensitivity (skin) disorders (2).

Antioxidant property of beta-carotene

It is a potent antioxidant and is the best neutralizer of singlet oxygen a free radical (3). All the beta-carotene consumed is not converted to vitamin A and performs other functions in the body. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids such as lutein and lycopene function as antioxidants and are also called nutraceuticals (1).

25 rich sources of vitamin A and beta-carotene (4)

  1. Cod liver oil

It is one of the richest sources of vitamin A. Cod liver oil (100 grams) contains 30000 ug of vitamin A. One tea spoon that is 5 grams has 750 ug of vitamin A.

  1. Liver

Liver of lamb 100 grams provides 7391 ug of vitamin A.

  1. Ghee

Clarified butter or ghee contains 840 ug of vitamin A in 100 grams.

  1. Butter

The vitamin A content of 100 grams butter is 684 ug.

  1. Egg yolk

The yolk of eggs 100 grams contains 381 ug of vitamin A.

  1. Cheese

Cheese is a good source of vitamin A. 100 grams of cheese contains 330 ug of vitamin A.

  1. Bluefin tuna

Rich source of vitamin A, 100 grams of Bluefin tuna contains 655 ug of vitamin A.

Beta carotene rich foods

  1. Paprika

It is a rich source of beta carotene, in 100 grams of paprika there is 2463 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Chilli powder

Though used in small quantities, it is used regularly therefore can be a good source of beta carotene. Contains 1483 ug of beta carotene per 100 grams of chilli powder.

  1. Rich chocolate powder

Chocolate powder 100 grams provides 1365 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Carrots

They have 835 ug beta carotene per 100 grams of carrots.

  1. Sweet potato

Sweet potato is a good source of beta carotene, 100 grams contains 709 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Kale

It is a green leafy vegetable belonging to cruciferous family. Kale 100 grams provides 500 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Spinach

A popular green leafy vegetable spinach 100 grams gives 469 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Basil

A popular culinary herb basil is also a medicinal plant. Basil 100 grams contributes 264 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Cilantro

Cilantro, an herb that contains 337 ug beta carotene per 100 grams of the herb.

  1. Bay leaves

These are used as whole leaves or in powder form and they have a strong aroma. Bay leaves 100 grams contains 309 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Rosemary

It is a fragrant herb 100 grams of which has 146 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Dill

It is a delicate aromatic herb and 100 grams of dill is a source of 386 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Cantaloupe melons

Melons 100 grams provide 169 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Apricots

Apricot fruit is a source of many essential nutrients including beta carotene. A 100 grams of apricot provides 96 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Prunes

Dried plums are prunes and 100 grams of prunes provides 88 ug of beta carotene.

  1. Plantains

These are cooked or when they are ripe they can be eaten raw. Beta carotene 56 ug is provided by 100 grams of plantain.

  1. Mangoes

A delicious fruit that also provides 54 ug of beta carotene per 100 grams of fruit.

  1. Papaya

Papaya 100 grams contributes 47 ug of beta carotene.

Vitamin A is one of the vital nutrients essential for growth, health and maintenance in the body (1). To prevent its deficiency, include vitamin A sources in your diet on a regular basis.

References

  1. Wildman, R. (2009) The Nutritionist-Food, Nutrition, and Optimal Health. Vitamins are vital molecules in food 191. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. Second Edition. New York and London.
  2. Fiedor, J. and Burda, K. (2014) Potential role of carotenoids as antioxidants in human health and disease, Nutrients. Vol. 6(2).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3942711/
  3. Pham-Huy, L. A., He, H. and Pham-Huy, C. (2008) Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health, International journal of biomedical science: IJBS. Vol. 4(2). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/
  4. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release, United States Department of Agriculture. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list

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