We all know that Vitamin A is good for us but what exactly are the benefits of vitamin A?
Before getting to all the good stuff about what Vitamin A can do for you, a more interesting question might be – ‘how was Vitamin A discovered?
I know you may not care about that, but the history of Vitamin A goes back a long way and I love it when history breeds wonderful discoveries, especially when it brings new health to those that suffered before the discovery was made.
Vitamin A was so named because it was the first vitamin to be discovered; so why not give it the first letter of the alphabet. Although the actual discovery of Vitamin A happened over 100 years ago in 1907, its use as a “cure” for certain ailments like “night blindness” goes back over 3500 years ago by the Egyptians. Other cultures since then have reaped the health benefits of vitamin A.
If you’re interested in reading more on the history of this vitamin check out The Saga of Vitamin A. The authors, Sally Fallon and Marry G. Enig, Phd say it well
Vitamin A is a fat soluble organic compound that your body needs in tiny amounts to help the body with certain crucial functions to maintain optimal health. The thing is, Vitamin A cannot be manufactured in your body, so you need to be its constant supplier by eating foods that contain vitamin A…(as well as other vitamins and minerals)
Before you go off and start eating anything and everything that has vitamin A in it…
Vitamin A CAN BE TOXIC TO YOUR BODY IF YOU’RE NOT CAREFUL! You need to be aware of not only what kind of Vitamin A you are consuming but also how much.
There are two types of Vitamin A that you can find in food and one type is better than the other.
1 – Retinoids comes from animals and is the most concentrated form of Vitamin A. Although you may be tempted to eat the food that has the most Vitamin A, retinol based animal foods should only be consumed in moderation. Too much animal sourced food will only reverse any health benefits you are trying to achieve.
A little vitamin A from retinol may be good for your eye site, but too much may kill you by giving you a heart attack. In fact just a small threegram portion of liver will give you enough vitamin A to last the whole day.
Fat soluble Vitamin A from animal sourced based foods can’t be excreted from your body through your urine, so taking too much can affect your health negatively.
2 – Carotenoids come from plants making this the preferred type of vitamin A that you should be consuming.
What Food Sources of Vitamin A are there?
Animal Sources: (Retinoids)
Plant Sources: (Carotenoids – beta-carotene)
Vitamin A from plant sources can be found in many yellow, orange and green fruits and vegetables such as:
- raw spinach
- red bell peppers
- sweet potato with skin
- fruits (apricots, cantaloupe and bananas