By Dr. Atli Arnarson
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in maintaining vision, body growth, immune function and reproductive health.
Getting adequate amounts of vitamin A from your diet should prevent the symptoms of deficiency, which include hair loss, skin problems, dry eyes, night blindness and increased susceptibility to infections.
Deficiency is a leading cause of blindness in developing countries. In contrast, most people in developed countries get enough vitamin A from their diet.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 900 mcg for men, 700 mcg for women and 300–600 mcg for children and adolescents.
The RDA provides enough vitamin A for the vast majority of people.
Put simply, a single daily value (DV) of 900 mcg is used as a reference on nutrition labels in the U.S. and Canada.
This article lists 20 foods that are rich in vitamin A, plus an additional 20 fruits and vegetables rich in provitamin A (1).
20 Foods High in Vitamin A
Vitamin A1, also known as retinol, is only found in animal-sourced foods, such as oily fish, liver, cheese and butter.
1. Beef Liver—713 percent DV per serving
1 slice: 6,421 mcg (713 percent DV)
100 grams: 9,442 mcg (1,049 percent DV)
2. Lamb Liver—236 percent DV per serving
1 ounce: 2,122 mcg (236 percent DV)
100 grams: 7,491 mcg (832 percent DV)
3. Liver Sausage—166 percent DV per serving
1 slice: 1,495 mcg (166 percent DV)
100 grams: 8,384 mcg (923 percent DV)
4. Cod Liver Oil—150 percent DV per serving
1 teaspoon: 1,350 mcg (150 percent DV)
100 grams: 30,000 mcg (3,333 percent DV)
5. King Mackerel—43 percent DV per serving
Half a fillet: 388 mcg (43 percent DV)
100 grams: 252 mcg (28 percent DV)
6. Salmon—25 percent DV per serving
Half a fillet: 229 mcg (25 percent DV)
100 grams: 149 mcg (17 percent DV)
7. Bluefin Tuna—24 percent DV per serving
1 ounce: 214 mcg (24 percent DV)
100 grams: 757 mcg (84 percent DV)
8. Goose Liver Pâté—14 percent DV per serving
1 tablespoon: 130 mcg (14 percent DV)
100 grams: 1,001 mcg (111 percent DV)
9. Goat Cheese—13 percent DV per serving
1 slice: 115 mcg (13 percent DV)
100 grams: 407 mcg (45 percent DV)
10. Butter—11 percent DV per serving
1 tablespoon: 97 mcg (11 percent DV)
100 grams: 684 mcg (76 percent DV)
11. Limburger Cheese—11 percent DV per serving
1 slice: 96 mcg (11 percent DV)
100 grams: 340 mcg (38 percent DV)
12. Cheddar—10 percent DV per serving
1 slice: 92 mcg (10 percent DV)
100 grams: 330 mcg (37 percent DV)
13. Camembert—10 percent DV per serving
1 wedge: 92 mcg (10 percent DV)
100 grams: 241 mcg (27 percent DV)
14. Roquefort Cheese—9 percent DV per serving
1 ounce: 83 mcg (9 percent DV)
100 grams: 294 mcg (33 percent DV)
15. Hard-Boiled Egg—8 percent DV per serving
1 large egg: 74 mcg (8 percent DV)
100 grams: 149 mcg (17 percent DV)
16. Trout—8 percent DV per serving
1 fillet: 71 mcg (8 percent DV)
100 grams: 100 mcg (11 percent DV)
17. Blue Cheese—6 percent DV per serving
1 ounce: 56 mcg (6 percent DV)
100 grams: 198 mcg (22 percent DV)
18. Cream Cheese—5 percent DV per serving
1 tablespoon: 45 mcg (5 percent DV)
100 grams: 308 mcg (34 percent DV)
19. Caviar—5 percent DV per serving
1 tablespoon: 43 mcg (5 percent DV)
100 grams: 271 mcg (30 percent DV)
20. Feta Cheese—4 percent DV per serving
1 ounce: 35 mcg (4 percent DV)
100 grams: 125 mcg (14 percent DV)
10 Vegetables High in Provitamin A
Your body can produce vitamin A from carotenoids found in plants.
These carotenoids include beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, which are collectively known as provitamin A.
Depending on your genetics, the following vegetables might provide considerably less vitamin A than indicated.
1. Sweet Potato (cooked)—204 percent DV per serving
1 cup: 1,836 mcg (204 percent DV)
100 grams: 1,043 mcg (116 percent DV)
2. Winter Squash (cooked)—127 percent DV per serving
1 cup: 1,144 mcg (127 percent DV)
100 grams: 558 mcg (62 percent DV)
3. Kale (cooked)—98 percent DV per serving
1 cup: 885 mcg (98 percent DV)
100 grams: 681 mcg (76 percent DV)
4. Collards (cooked)—80 percent DV per serving
1 cup: 722 mcg (80 percent DV)
100 grams: 380 mcg (42 percent DV)
5. Turnip Greens (cooked)—61 percent DV per serving
1 cup: 549 mcg (61 percent DV)
100 grams: 381 mcg (42 percent DV)
6. Carrot (cooked)—44 percent DV per serving
1 medium carrot: 392 mcg (44 percent DV)
100 grams: 852 mcg (95 percent DV)
7. Sweet Red Pepper (raw)—29 percent DV per serving
1 large pepper: 257 mcg (29 percent DV)
100 grams: 157 mcg (17 percent DV)
8. Swiss Chard (raw)—16 percent DV per serving
1 leaf: 147 mcg (16 percent DV)
100 grams: 306 mcg (34 percent DV)
9. Spinach (raw)—16 percent DV per serving
1 cup: 141 mcg (16 percent DV)
100 grams: 469 mcg (52 percent DV)
10. Romaine Lettuce (raw)—14 percent DV per serving
1 large leaf: 122 mcg (14 percent DV)
100 grams: 436 mcg (48 percent DV)
10 Fruits High in Provitamin A
Provitamin A is generally more abundant in vegetables than fruits. But a few types of fruit provide good amounts, as shown below.
1. Mango—20 percent DV per serving
1 medium mango: 181 mcg (20 percent DV)
100 grams: 54 mcg (6 percent DV)
2. Cantaloupe—19 percent DV per serving
1 large wedge: 172 mcg (19 percent DV)
100 grams: 169 mcg (19 percent DV)
3. Pink or Red Grapefruit—16 percent DV per serving
1 medium grapefruit: 143 mcg (16 percent DV)
100 grams: 58 mcg (6 percent DV)
4. Watermelon—9 percent DV per serving
1 wedge: 80 mcg (9 percent DV)
100 grams: 28 mcg (3 percent DV)
5. Papaya—8 percent DV per serving
1 small papaya: 74 mcg (8 percent DV)
100 grams: 47 mcg (5 percent DV)
6. Apricot—4 percent DV per serving
1 medium apricot: 34 mcg (4 percent DV)
100 grams: 96 mcg (11 percent DV)
7. Tangerine—3 percent DV per serving
1 medium tangerine: 30 mcg (3 percent DV)
100 grams: 34 mcg (4 percent DV)
8. Nectarine—3 percent DV per serving
1 medium nectarine: 24 mcg (3 percent DV)
100 grams: 17 mcg (2 percent DV)
9. Guava—2 percent DV per serving
1 medium guava: 17 mcg (2 percent DV)
100 grams: 31 mcg (3 percent DV)
10. Passion Fruit—1 percent DV per serving
1 medium fruit: 12 mcg (1 percent DV)
100 grams: 64 mcg (7 percent DV)
How Do You Meet Your Vitamin A Requirements?
You can easily meet your requirements for vitamin A by regularly eating some of the foods listed in this article. Many foods also contain added vitamin A, including cereals, margarine and dairy products.
Since vitamin A is fat-soluble, it is more efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream when eaten with fat. Most animal-sourced foods that are rich in vitamin A are also high in fat, but the same doesn't apply to most plant sources of provitamin A.
You can improve your absorption of provitamin A from plant sources by adding a dash of oil to your salad.
Because of this, vegans should take supplements or make sure to eat plenty of the fruits and vegetables listed above.
Fortunately, foods abundant in vitamin A are usually easy to come by and most are an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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