Benefits of Vitamin A

Benefits of Vitamin A

Vitamin A has a host of benefits that everyone should seek to take advantage of, but particularly those in search of healthier skin. Topical vitamin A has received mixed reviews and the jury is out as to whether it helps improve scar appearance. However, oral vitamin A provides several benefits in terms of general health and skin health. Oral vitamin A appears to protect the cardiovascular system, boost the immune system, and can also promote wound healing. Vitamin A can also protect your skin against harmful UV radiation.

These are just some of the benefits that vitamin A has to offer, so it’s easy to see why you should be taking steps to increase vitamin A consumption as part of a healthy diet.

Fall is the perfect time to step up your vitamin A intake, because pumpkin is a terrific source of this powerhouse vitamin. Canned or cooked pumpkin provides whopping per-serving doses of vitamin A, so you have an excuse now to indulge in the pumpkin pies and other delicious holiday recipes. Or, eat it plain for very few calories and great flavor. Don’t stop with pumpkin, though – other winter squashes also contain lots of vitamin A, so try a variety.

Carrots also contain a lot of vitamin A. The vitamin A in carrots is in the form of beta carotene, which has extremely healthy antioxidant properties. Eat carrots raw or cooked, or drink their juice; just remember that organic carrots are your best bet, because conventionally-grown carrots have been shown to have high levels of pesticide residue – something you should steer clear of when possible. However, keep in mind that if you can’t buy organic for any reason, conventional produce is better than none.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are something else you should be striving to eat a lot of. Baked whole or in strips (a la “sweet potato fries”), cut into cubes and sautéed, or mashed and incorporated into other recipes, sweet potatoes are delicious and great for your health and scar healing.

Leafy Greens
While you’re sautéing those sweet potatoes, add some spinach to the pan. Or add it to your salads, sandwiches, or juicing recipes. Spinach contains large amounts of vitamin A, as do other leafy greens like collards, kale, and turnip greens.

Beef and liver are great ways to get your needed vitamin A. Look for local grass-fed beef to limit the environmental impact of raising livestock while getting the health benefits you need. Liver and other organ meats are great sources of vitamin A, too. Try steaming or frying just about any liver with onions and herbs for a flavorful, healthy meal. If liver isn’t your thing, try taking Cod liver oil for some of the same benefits.

Finally, if you want a sweeter treat, try dried apricots. Portable, sweet, and unique, dried apricots provide large amounts of vitamin A. Fresh apricots are good sources, too, as are cantaloupe and other orange or yellow melons.

 Do you include these delicious vitamin A foods into your diet?

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photo credit: Sister72 via photopin cc

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