Food High in Vitamin A: Best Sources of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is essential for eye health. While developing a Vitamin A deficiency doesn’t happen all that often, eating more of this vitamin can support your eyesight. It can also reduce your risk of developing certain diseases that may affect your vision.
In this post, we’ll look at foods high in Vitamin A you can eat every day. But first, let’s see why Vitamin A is so important for eye health.
Why Is Vitamin A Important for Eye Health?
Vitamin A nourishes different parts of the eye. It’s a key constituent of the protein rhodopsin, which occurs in the rod cells in the retina and enables vision in low light.
It also keeps the cornea healthy. The cornea is the transparent part of the eye that covers the iris and pupil. Without this vitamin, the cornea dries and becomes cloudy, causing vision loss.
Your tear glands also need Vitamin A to produce the tear film that lubricates and protects the surface of the eyes. A 2019 study on male patients with dry eye found that a daily dose of 5,000 IU of Vitamin A improved tear quality after just three days.
Symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency can include problems with night vision, dried conjunctiva, and corneal ulcers and scarring. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness, dry eyes, and damage to the immune system. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, it is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children.
Vitamin A Foods You Can Eat for Healthier Eyes
The human body converts the plant pigment beta carotene into Vitamin A. Colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in beta carotene, making them some of the best sources of Vitamin A. They are readily available, so it’s only a question of choosing them over less healthy foods.
Vitamin A is best absorbed by the body when eaten with fat. Think healthy fats like olive oil, avocado oil, or all-natural peanut butter.
Good to know: The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A is 900 and 700 micrograms (ug) a day for men and women respectively.
Here are Vitamin A rich foods you want to eat more often.
Goji berries top the list of Vitamin A fruits. Just one tablespoon of goji berries helps you meet the daily value of Vitamin A. Plus, they have many other health benefits about which we’ve written here. Add them to your cereal bowl, eat them in granola bars, or snack on them with nuts and other fruits. Goji berries are a healthy feast for your eyes.
Sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of Vitamin A. One whole sweet potato baked in its skin provides 156% of the daily recommended value for an adult according to the US National Institutes of Health. You can also boil and blend sweet potatoes into creamy soups.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Love them or hate them, leafy green vegetables are one of the best sources of Vitamin A. They have other nutrients good for the eyes, including the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Leafy green foods high in Vitamin A include spinach, kale, collards, and mustard green.
Good to know: One cup of cooked spinach alone provides the daily recommended value of Vitamin A.
No list of Vitamin A vegetables would be complete without carrots. According to the same source, half a cup of raw carrots supplies half of the daily value of Vitamin A.
The best part is that cooking carrots will make them release even more Vitamin A. That’s because Vitamin A is fat-soluble and stable at high temperatures. Never make a soup or stew without them!
When it comes to the best sources of Vitamin A, we can’t leave out pumpkins. One slice of pumpkin pie has over 50% of the daily value of this vitamin, according to the US Office of Dietary Supplements.
Adding bell peppers to dishes is a good idea. A cup of cooked red bell peppers has around 20% of the daily value of Vitamin A. Orange and yellow bell peppers are also good sources of Vitamin A. By contrast, green bell peppers, which are harvested sooner, provide significantly less of this vitamin.
One medium mango will give you 20% of your daily value of Vitamin A. So, next time you head over to the supermarket, don’t forget to grab one. Or a few.
Pink and red grapefruits are Vitamin A fruits you can eat raw and in salads. You can also blend them into smoothies. To eat a grapefruit the easy way, you can cut it in half and then cut it again into wedges or scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
Fact: A medium grapefruit has more Vitamin A (about 16% of the daily value) than a watermelon wedge.
Cod Liver Oil
One teaspoon of cod liver oil has 150% of the daily value of Vitamin A. Vitamin A from animal sources is called retinol or Vitamin A1. You may be familiar with it from skincare products, in which it’s used to make the skin look younger by stimulating the production of collagen.
Salmon, king mackerel, and bluefin tuna are notable sources of Vitamin A. A serving of any of these oily fish can help contribute to your daily intake of Vitamin A. Of these, king mackerel is the richest, 100 grams providing 28% of the daily value.
When it comes to Vitamin A sources from animal-derived products, it's worth mentioning cheese. Some cheeses have more of this vitamin than others. Goat cheese, cheddar, camembert, and Roquefort provide from 33% to 45% of the daily value per serving of 100 grams. But don’t forget that cheese is also high in fat, so it’s best to eat it as a complementary Vitamin A source rather than a main one.
Don’t Forget About Vitamin A Supplements
Taking most of your Vitamin A from healthy food sources is ideal. But if you have a busy schedule, you may not always have time to prepare healthy meals that contain foods high in Vitamin A. Dry eyes is often one of the first signs that you’re not getting enough of this critical eye health vitamin.
An eye health supplement can help. One of the key ingredients in SightC, our full-spectrum vision health supplement, is goji berries, which are one of the richest natural sources of Vitamin A. Our supplement is also a source of beta carotene, lutein, and other antioxidants and phytonutrients that support eye health.
Customers who’ve tried it so far love it. Learn more about SightC.