About Vitamin A
The term Vitamin A is used to refer to a group of compound necessary for growth, immune system, reproductions, and vision.
There are two types of Vitamin A-
- Preformed Vitamin A – found in animal products.
- Provitamin A Carotenoids – found in plants.
Provitamin A carotenoids can be converted to Vitamin A. Beta-carotene is the most known of these carotenoids and the most active. Carotenoids have a wide spectrum of colors, such as yellow, red, and orange hues.
However, the can also be found hidden under the dark green chlorophyll color within leafy greens.
These carotenoids are potent antioxidants. Lypocene, one of the most powerful antioxidants found in the carotenoid family, is known to treat and prevent prostate cancer.  It’s also been found effective for heart disease, age-related macular disease (the leading cause of vision loss), and other cancers.
If you want to enhance the ability of your lypocene, try cooking it.
More Vitamin A Benefits
Other carotenoids, zeaxanthin and lutein, are associated with reducing the risks of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Also found in leafy green, these carotenoids need to be paired with fat for absorption.
Therefore, try eating your leafy greens and tomatoes with some sort of healthy fat, like nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Beta-carotene cooperates with Vitamin E to support health protection. High doses can lead to a harmless condition in which the skin becomes a bit yellow.
However, when high doses are consumed via supplements, beta-carotene can have negative effects on the body. It can increase the risk of cancer and heart disease in those who drink alcohol and smoke excessively.
Luckily, there are many Vitamin A sources that come directly from plants, such as butternut squash, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, and more listed down below.
How Much Vitamin A Do You Need?
The necessary intake for Vitamin A depends on the stage of life each individual is currently in.
1-3 years: 300 micrograms per day
4-8 years: 400 micrograms per day
9-13 years: 600 micrograms per day
14 years+ (males): 900 micrograms per day
14 years+ (females): 700 micrograms per day
Pregnant women: 770 micrograms per day
Nursing women: 1,300 micrograms per day 
Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency
Beta-carotene (Vitamin A from plants) do not have a restricted limit on intake. Retinoids, however, do. Too much Vitamin A from meat can be dangerous. Vitamin A in high doses has been linked to lower bone density, liver problems, and birth defects. 
This means taking Vitamin A supplements should be avoided and only taken if absolutely necessary.
But if you’re on a plant-based diet, there is no need to worry about that because the provitamin A carotenoids are safe in any amount! Plus, they’re incredibly abundant so a deficiency is nowhere on the radar for you (just be sure to eat a balanced diet and pair with some healthy fats!).
Yet, here are some symptoms of a Vitamin A deficiency:
- Dry eyes
- Dry skin
- Delayed growth
- Respiratory infections
- Night blindness
- Infertility and trouble conceiving
- Poor wound healing
- Acne and breakouts 
Vitamin A Sources From Plants
|Kale ½ cup||2443 mcg|
|Sweet potatoes, ½ cup||1291 mcg|
|Pumpkin, canned ½ cup||953 mcg|
|Carrots, ½ cup||665 mcg|
|Butternut squash, ½ cup||572 mcg|
|Spinach ½ cup||472 mcg|
|Dandelion green ½ cup||365 mcg|
|Beet green ½ cup||276 mcg|
|Mustard greens ½||221 mcg|
|Bok choy ½ cup||180 mcg|
|Papaya, 1 medium||167 mcg|
|Collard greens ½ cup||148 mcg|
|Cantaloupe, ½ cup||135 mcg|
|Apricots, raw 3||101 mcg|
|Mango, 1 medium||80 mcg|
|Tomato 1 medium||76 mcg|
|Broccoli ½ cup||60 mcg|
|Nectarine, 1 medium||50 mcg|
|Tomato juice ½ cup||28 mcg|
Not to mention carrots are a great snack for children and adults! You can use this list whenever you like to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin A in your diet.
Also, there’s a wonderful app called Cronometer that I definitely recommend. All you have to do is enter the foods that you’ve eaten throughout the day and it will tally up all the nutrients you’ve received. Plus, it will show you if you’re lacking in any area. It’s a must have if you’re just beginning your plant-based journey.
I hope you found this list of Vitamin A sources helpful! Please share with everyone who is beginning their plant-based journey. I love to help people feel confident in going plant-based. I know you can do it and you can thrive!