How to Make Sure You Are Getting Plenty of Vitamin A
Beta-carotene is one type of carotenoid. Boy, are beta-carotenes popular. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. It's universally recommended that, depending on age, adults get 5,000 international units and children 1,000-3,000 IU of vitamin A each day.
Commonly comes in two form, retinol and carotenoids, vitamin A is one of the most well known fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin A makes frequent appearances on the cosmetics aisle of the local SuperMart, offered in the form of facial scrubs and skin care lotions with retinol. So what is vitamin A, and what role does it play in your skin and healthcare?
What Is Vitamin A?
Vitamin A's role in the beauty world is due to it's ability to generate the pigments in the retina in it's form as retinol. And thanks to vitamin A, carrots and beets aren't the only things that promote good vision.
Retinol is an active form of vitamin A, found in animal liver, some fortified foods and whole milk. Carotenoids don't start out as vitamin A, they're actually dark colored dyes found in plant foods that eventually morph into vit A. Beta-carotene is one type of carotenoid. Boy, are beta-carotenes popular. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant.
Antioxidants are that nutrients that create a barrier against some of the damage caused by free radicals, those are the by-products that result when our bodies transform food into energy. Too many free radicals floating around in the body speeds up the effects of aging and can even create medical problems, like cancer and heart disease. For smokers, antioxidants can be just the clean up your body needs after twenty years of puffing.
How Do I Get Vitamin A?
It's universally recommended that, depending on age, adults get 5,000 international units and children 1,000-3,000 IU of vitamin A each day. The best way to meet these requirements is through a balanced diet. Vitamin A is readily available in animal products, like eggs, meat, milk, cheese, liver, kidney, cod, and certain fish oils. Skim milk is an especially good source since it has been fortified in vitamin A.
It's also pretty easy to get a hold of vitamin A in the beta carotene form-and most of them are already in your fridge.
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squashes
- Pink grapefruit
- Many of the dark green, leafy vegetables