Vitamin A Sources For A Plant-Based (Vegan) Diet

Vitamin A Sources

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. [3] 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.

Related: List Of Foods High In Iron For A Plant-Based Diet

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.

butternut squash

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 [1]


 

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. [2]

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 [4]

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


There are so many ways you can incorporate more Vitamin A sources into your diet. Are you as amazed about the high amount of Vitamin A in kale as I am? I love to add some kale and spinach to my salads. Top it with some tomatoes and walnuts and you have a bowl full of Vitamin A!

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!

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/supplement-guide-vitamin-a#1
  2. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/supplement-guide-vitamin-a#2
  3. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/487510
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a-deficiency-symptoms

Vitamin A Sources For A Plant-Based Diet

Vitamin A Sources for a plantbased diet
Vitamin A Sources For A Plantbased Diet


 

Thanks for sharing!

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