The word vitamin is based on the latin root vita, meaning life. While we may not think about them in our diet, our foods include varying levels of micronutrients. In fact, when you hear a trainer talking about eating “nutrient dense foods” that means they want you to eat foods that have more micronutrients packed in per calorie. A protein bar might have the same macronutrient and calorie makeup as an animal source, such as beef, but they will greatly differ in micronutrient (vitamin and mineral makeup)
Vitamin A is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins that is absorbed passively through the GI tract. We need fat in our diet in order to absorb and use this vitamin. Vitamin A and other fat soluble vitamins also live in our adipose tissue (fat tissue) and are stored. This means we don’t need to eat as much of it every day. Because, just like our fat tissue, we have a stored amount that we can use if needed!
So what does Vitamin A and carotenoids (provitamins) do? Well it’s involved in forming pigments in the eye for one. Did your mother ever tell you to eat carrots because they are good for your eyes? Well she was right! Now give her a hug and say thank you! Vitamin A is also involved in synthesizing proteins, which you can think of as your cells digesting and transforming the food we eat into something else on a micro level. If that wasn’t enough, Vitamin A also helps a variety of things in our body develope including; red blood cells, embryos, and stem cells. However, my favorite function of Vitamin A is that it helps with immune function and wound healing.
Without enough Vitamin A in our diet; we would have difficulty seeing in dim light as well as a chronic struggle with dry eyes. Not only would a Vitamin A deficiency result in dry eyes, but also rough, dry, and acne prone skin.
So instead of buying into the commercials that tell you you need a better facial cleanser for your acne. Take an assessment of your diet to make sure it includes the following Vitamin A rich foods.
- red/ orange/ yellow fruits and vegetables such as
- winter squash
- orange sweet potatoes
- orange melons
- dark leafy greens (such as spinach collards, kale, and mustard greens)
- liver and,
- egg yolks
Now if you are already eating a diet full of various and colorful fruits and vegetables, you might want to be careful about how much Vitamin A you are supplementing with. Too much Vitamin A can result in; nausea, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, dizziness, dry skin, and even birth defects. Talk to your doctor or Registered Dietitian about Hypervitaminosis if you are concerned that you are intaking too much of any vitamins.