For years, Vitamin A has been known to promote healthy eyes and skin, but do you know what else it can do? Doctors have begun to see Vitamin A as a potential preventative medicine and a treatment for a variety of illnesses. By nourishing and strengthening cells (and not just skin cells), it makes them much less vulnerable to cancers and viruses. It may also slow down tumor growth by prohibiting the production of DNA in cancerous cells. Patients suffering from viral diseases such as measles, respiratory viruses, and even HIV are generally observed to have very low levels of Vitamin A in their blood, giving us good reason to believe that the vitamin aids in preventing and fighting off viruses.
Fortunately, Vitamin A is found in a large number of food sources. For a diet that boosts your body’s natural defenses, keep the following Vitamin A-rich foods in mind:
The form of Vitamin A absorbed from animal products is called retinol. The best (or most direct) source is liver. Beef, poultry, fish and pork livers are all extremely high in Vitamin A, averaging about 6,000 μg per serving. Eggs and dairy products, especially butter, are also excellent sources.
If you don’t eat meat, Vitamin A can be found in it’s secondary form, beta-carotine, in a variety of fruits and vegetables. The best vegetable source, containing 835 μg of beta-carotine per serving, is the carrot. Sweet potatoes, kale, collard greens, and spinach also provide a significant amount. Among fruits, you’ll get the most vitamin A from mangos, cantaloupes, papaya, tomatoes, and apricots.