Tasty25’s Health Tip #4: Get Your Vitamin A!

We hear from doctors, fitness coaches, and even our friends & family that we need “vitamins and minerals”; but do we actually know what they do for our bodies? For Tasty25’s Health Tip #4, Tasty25’s CMO Jordan Bridges will start us off on vitamin & mineral health by highlighting the importance of a proper intake of Vitamin A!

 

 

Let’s get down to the basics. Listed below are some of the key functions of Vitamin A on the human body:

  • Vitamin A is involved in our immune function, reproduction, and cell communication,

  • Vitamin A is critical for the health of our vision,

  • And vitamin A supports cell growth and differentiation in our bodies.

Hopefully we can all agree that the above functions of Vitamin A are significant to the health of our bodies, and shows the importance of maintaining healthy levels of Vitamin A in our diets. So now you’re thinking, alright, vitamin A is great; but how much is enough? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Below, I’ve included a table from the National Institutes of Health‘s Office of Dietary Supplements that shows what the Daily Recommended Intakes are for Vitamin A.

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin A

Age

Male

Female

Pregnancy

Lactation

0–6 months*

400 mcg RAE

400 mcg RAE

7–12 months*

500 mcg RAE

500 mcg RAE

1–3 years

300 mcg RAE

300 mcg RAE

4–8 years

400 mcg RAE

400 mcg RAE

9–13 years

600 mcg RAE

600 mcg RAE

14–18 years

900 mcg RAE

700 mcg RAE

750 mcg RAE

1,200 mcg RAE

19–50 years

900 mcg RAE

700 mcg RAE

770 mcg RAE

1,300 mcg RAE

51+ years

900 mcg RAE

700 mcg RAE

These Recommended Dietary Allowances, or RDA’s, for vitamin A are given as micrograms (mcg) of retinol activity equivalents (RAE) to account for the different bioactivities of retinol and provitamin A carotenoids. (Because the body converts all dietary sources of vitamin A into retinol.)

The next table below suggests many dietary sources of vitamin A; yea, all kinds of foods perfect for making a great Tasty25 healthy & delicious recipe! The foods from animals contain primarily preformed vitamin A, the plant-based foods have provitamin A, and the foods with a mixture of ingredients from animals and plants contain both preformed vitamin A and provitamin A.

Table 2: Selected Food Sources of Vitamin A

Food

mcg RAE per

serving

IU per

serving

Percent

DV*

Sweet potato, baked in skin, 1 whole

1,403

28,058

561

Beef liver, pan fried, 3 ounces

6,582

22,175

444

Spinach, frozen, boiled, ½ cup

573

11,458

229

Carrots, raw, ½ cup

459

9,189

184

Pumpkin pie, commercially prepared, 1 piece

488

3,743

249

Cantaloupe, raw, ½ cup

135

2,706

54

Peppers, sweet, red, raw, ½ cup

117

2,332

47

Mangos, raw, 1 whole

112

2,240

45

Black-eyed peas (cowpeas), boiled, 1 cup

66

1,305

26

Apricots, dried, sulfured, 10 halves

63

1,261

25

Broccoli, boiled, ½ cup

60

1,208

24

Ice cream, French vanilla, soft serve, 1 cup

278

1,014

20

Cheese, ricotta, part skim, 1 cup

263

945

19

Tomato juice, canned, ¾ cup

42

821

16

Herring, Atlantic, pickled, 3 ounces

219

731

15

Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin A, ¾–1 cup (more heavily fortified cereals might provide more of the DV)

127–149

500

10

Milk, fat-free or skim, with added vitamin A and vitamin D, 1 cup

149

500

10

Baked beans, canned, plain or vegetarian, 1 cup

13

274

5

Egg, hard boiled, 1 large

75

260

5

Summer squash, all varieties, boiled, ½ cup

10

191

4

Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 3 ounces

59

176

4

Yogurt, plain, low fat, 1 cup

32

116

2

Pistachio nuts, dry roasted, 1 ounce

4

73

1

Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained solids, 3 ounces

20

65

1

Chicken, breast meat and skin, roasted, ½ breast

5

18

0

*DV = Daily Value. DVs were developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers compare the nutrient contents of products within the context of a total diet. The DV for vitamin A is 5,000 IU for adults and children age 4 and older. Foods providing 20% or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Nutrient Database Web site [8] lists the nutrient content of many foods and provides a comprehensive list of foods containing vitamin A in IUs and foods containing beta-carotene in mcg.

Follow both of the above tables as guides to help you get a better understanding about your daily vitamin A intake! And remember this: Vitamin A is fat-soluble. So if your supplementing your vitamin A intake with a multivitamin or supplement,  be careful of the potential toxicity risks. Always remember to stay food conscious, and consult your doctor or physician before you make any drastic changes to your diet. Much love, and Happy Cooking! -Jordan Bridges

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