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Top list of foods rich in vitamin A

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Discover the top list of foods rich in vitamin A.

Vitamin A is essential for the maintenance of our skin and our vision. What are its actions on the body? Which foods should be favored to ensure good intakes?

The first vitamin identified by scientists, vitamin A was discovered in 1913. However, its functions were gradually demonstrated during the 1930s.

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Also called retinol, vitamin A is fat-soluble, that is, it dissolves in fat. It is essential for visual function and the renewal of skin cells.

It is present in several forms: in products of animal origin, and as a precursor in products of plant origin. For the latter, it is called beta-carotene and provitamin A.

To ensure sufficient contributions to our organization, here are the top 5 foods rich in vitamin A.

  1. Cod liver oil
  2. Liver

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  3. Cheese

  4. Crème fraîche

  5. Eggs

Fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids

1. Cod liver oil

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Cod liver oil, a natural source of retinol

The famous cod liver oil prized by our grandmothers contains vitamin A in large quantities: 30,000 µg of retinol per 100 g.

Recipe idea: to consume as is, a teaspoon in the morning to start the day. Or to incorporate creatively into a recipe that will cover its bitter taste.

2. Liver

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Calf’s liver is tasty and provides a good supply of vitamin A

Calf, heifer, or lamb liver is meat with a high retinol content. It is respectively 10,500 µg / 100 g for the first and 7680 µg / 100 g for the latter two. Foie gras, for its part, contains 1,430 µg / 100 g.

Recipe idea: cooked in the oven, grilled in a pan, and accompanied by small vegetables, it makes delicious dishes.

Foie gras is high in calories, it is preferable to consume it in moderation, only during festive meals for example.

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3. Cheese

Cheese and more particularly Parmesan, Roquefort, and Emmental contain retinol in its primary form:

• Parmesan: 345 µg / 100 g

• Roquefort: 295 µg / 100 g

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• Emmental: 265 µg / 100 g

Cheeses are part of dairy products. Also interesting for their calcium content, it is advisable to consume it every day.

Recipe idea: to easily integrate them into meals, eat them before dessert. Parmesan will accompany your pasta dishes.

4. Crème

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Crème is loaded with retinol, but it should be light and consumed in moderation.

Often considered too rich, crème can however be integrated into a balanced diet. Adding fresh cream to your dishes helps meet the body’s needs for retinol. Indeed, its vitamin A content is approximately 390 µg / 100 g.

Recipe idea: By choosing a light cream, containing less than 12% fat, you can cook dishes or light sauces. Be careful, however, to consume it reasonably!

5. Eggs

To consume no more than 5 times per week, the egg has a good supply of vitamin A

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Eggs are foods with many nutritional qualities. Indeed, rich in proteins and folic acids, they also contain vitamin A (their content is 235 µg / 100 g). But their cholesterol content limits consumption.

In addition to their nutritional benefits, eggs can be cooked in many ways and incorporate many recipes. Boiled, as an omelet, with dishes, scrambled or hard, they can be eaten at any meal, accompanied by a salad. They prove to be essential culinary and health allies.

Carrots and pumpkin contain a precursor to vitamin A, beta-carotene

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Rich in carotenoid pigments, these fruits and vegetables contain a significant amount of beta-carotene, a precursor element of retinol. These food sources should not be neglected, to optimize the possible intakes and ensure your daily needs.

• Carrots

• Salad

• Pumpkin

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• Yam

• Mango

• Apricots

• Melon

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What is vitamin A?

Retinol is found in animal products and the form of precursors such as beta carotene and provitamin A in plant products. These precursors are also called carotenoids (pigments).

The body can build up reserves of vitamin A. This is stored in the retina as retinol, in the bones and mucous membranes as retinoic acid, or the liver, like retinyl palmitate.

Vitamin A is good for the skin and the eyes, our body can also store it in the retina!

A balanced diet makes it easy to meet the daily intake of vitamin A. The intake of beta-carotene must be six times greater than that of retinol to ensure the same functions. 

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The benefits of vitamin A

Vitamin A is an active substance in the body. It plays an essential role in the functioning of several organs:

• Acts on vision

• Participates in cell renewal

• Acts on bone growth (because it is involved in cell differentiation)

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• Maintains healthy skin and mucous membranes

• Involved in the production and synthesis of proteins

• Participates in the functioning of the immune system

• Stimulates the absorption of iron by the body

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• Limits cellular aging, and therefore sagging skin, thanks to its antioxidant action

Did you know? Beta-carotene acts on the pigmentation of the skin. Its action promotes tanning.

Warning: to exert an effective action on our body, vitamin A must be combined with proteins and zinc (their rate must reach the recommended daily rates).

Signs of vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin A is generally rare in developed countries because food is usually enough to cover the needs of individuals.

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However, in some developing countries, lack of food and malnutrition can cause retinol deficiency, especially in children. This phenomenon exposes them to childhood infectious diseases, blindness, and the resurgence of eye diseases.

To eradicate these disorders, the administration of vitamin supplements has been introduced for children as part of public health prevention campaigns.

Vitamin A deficiency can be caused by digestive illnesses, such as Crohn’s disease or liver disease. Conditions that lead to fat malabsorption also lead to poor assimilation of retinol.

Vitamin A deficiency can also result from alcoholism or thyroid disease. Indeed, the thyroid is involved in the transformation of precursors into retinol.

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The different symptoms of vitamin A underdosing are:

• In children: growth retardation

• Eye disorders 

• Alteration of skin tissue and mucous membranes

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• Susceptibility to infectious diseases

Note: Vitamin A deficiencies can be asymptomatic and therefore more difficult to detect.

According to the disorders observed, it is imperative to consult a doctor, to set up a treatment. We do not recommend taking food supplements before medical advice.

Recommended daily intakes

The recommended nutritional requirements for vitamin A vary according to the stages of growth of the individual. They are more important in young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women.

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• Babies aged 0-6 months: 400 µg / day

• Babies aged 7 months to one year: 500 µg / day

• Children aged 1 to 3 years: 300 to 400 µg / day

• Children aged 4 to 6 years: 400 to 450 µg / day

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• Children aged 7 to 9 years: 500 µg / day

• Children aged 9 to 13: 600 µg / day

• Adolescents aged 14 to 18: 700 µg / day for girls, 900 µg / day for boys

• Women (> 18 years old): 650 to 700 µg / day

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• Men (> 18 years old): 750 to 900 µg / day

• Pregnant women: 700 to 770 µg / day

• Nursing women: 950 to 1,300 µg / day

During pregnancy, it is important to consume more foods rich in vitamin A, to meet daily requirements.

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Note: vitamin A and beta-carotene are better absorbed in the presence of fat. We, therefore, think of seasoning foods rich in vitamin A with olive oil for example.

Vitamin A Dangers, Adverse Effects, and Overdoses

The body builds up reserves of vitamin A, which is stored in the liver. Overdose is therefore possible.

Excess vitamin A can appear as a result of kidney disease, liver disease, excessive intake of food supplements, or simply excessive consumption of products containing retinol. It manifests itself by:

• Digestive disorders such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting

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• An alteration of the skin: skin dryness or irritation

• Liver damage (enlargement of the liver or hepatomegaly)

In children and pregnant women, overdoses of vitamin A can have disastrous consequences (thickening of the bones in children and the appearance of fetal malformations during pregnancy).

It is therefore important to be vigilant and attentive to the warning signs to prevent this disorder.

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