Vitamin-A

Vitamin-A ~ Vitamins

A pale yellow crystalline compound also known as retinol.

Why you need it: It preserves and improves your eyesight as well as fights viral infections.

We all know that vitamins serve an important function in the body.

They're essential to the metabolic processes in our body.

In simple terms, a vitamin is a small molecule needed by our bodies in order to carry out a certain chemical reaction.

Our bodies are made up of enzymes that help the cells carry out chemical reactions vital to living things.

Vitamins are needed in order to allow such chemical reactions to take place in an extremely sophisticated chemical machine that is our bodies.

Our bodies need the right amount in order to function at its healthiest.

One of these is the "A" vitamin.

Otherwise known as Retinol, it's a fat soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in the development of our vision, the maintenance of healthy skin, hair and mucous membranes as well as boost up the body’s immune functions.

One of this it’s main roles is in the production of retinal.

This substance is used within the rods and the cones in our eyes to sense light.

The body cannot produce retinal without the presence of vitamin A and without retinal, our eyes would not be able to see.

Vitamin A has been known for a long time to have an effect on our normal vision.

A deficiency in this vitamin would usually result in poor eyesight.

Vitamin-A, aside from its importance to the development of good vision, is also essential in the development of the eyes, lungs, ears and heart.

Vitamin A is also needed in order to maintain healthy skin and can even be used to treat a variety of skin diseases.

It also performs a very important function in the development of the fetus as it grows.

Vitamin A helps promote the healthy growth of the different organs of the fetus and a deficiency of the vitamin in these crucial stages can affect the child in the future.

Vitamin-A can come from a variety of sources.

Retinol, which is an active form of vitamin A, is rarely found in foods.

However, chemical compounds with similar structure and belonging to the vitamin A family of compounds can be found in food.

This compound can be processed in the body into vitamin A for use.

Different foods can supply you with different amounts of the vitamin.

Vitamin A can usually be found in green leafy vegetables and foods with a natural orange pigment.

This pigment is known as carotene.

This pigment is being processed by the body and transforms it into the vitamin-A that it uses.

Such food types would include carrots, kale, spinach, papaya, sweet potatoes and mangoes.

Vitamin-A can be lost during food preparation such as cooking and storage.

It is always wise to consume vitamin a rich foods in their raw and natural state in order to get the most out of it.

There are also a lot of processed foods available that have been fortified with this vitamin to compensate for the vitamin loss during processing.

Such examples would be fortified low-fat and skim milk as well as margarine, which have been fortified to contain an equal amount of vitamin A content with butter.

Even most ready to eat and instant cereals today are fortified with this vitamin in order to keep up with the body’s daily vitamin a needs.

Good Sources:

Raw carrots (1 cup, 53 calories) 686 percent daily value

Cooked spinach (1 cup, 41 calories) 294 percent d.v.

Baked sweet potato with skin (95 calories) 262 percent d.v.

Cooked turnip greens (1 cup, 28 calories) 158 percent d.v.

Baked winter squash (1 cup, 80 calories) 145 percent d.v.

Cooked collard greens (1 cup, 49 calories) 118 percent d.v.

Cantaloupe (1 cup, 56 calories) 103 percent d.v.

Romaine lettuce (2 cups, 16 calories) 58 percent d.v.

Steamed broccoli (1 cup, 43 calories) 45 percent d.v.

Cooked green peas (1 cup, 134 calories) 19 percent d.v.

So, if you're wondering how to get more into your diet, here's a great recipe to try;

Turkey Chef's Salad

Here's our take on a traditional chef's salad, which is anything but light fare when it's heaped with meats and cheeses.

Our version keeps the satisfaction factor with lean turkey breast and reduced-fat Swiss cheese and adds plenty of colorful vegetables to the mix.

Another bonus is that it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare!

Ingredients:

* 6 c. mixed, salad

* 1 c. shredded carrots

* 2 Tbs. red onion, chopped

* 1 English cucumber, sliced

* 1/4 c. dressing, such as Creamy Dill Ranch Dressing

* 2 tomatoes, sliced and halved

* 4 slices roast turkey breast, cut up (6 oz.)

* 2 slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese, cut up (2 oz.)

Preparation;

Toss greens, carrots, onion and dressing in a large bowl until coated.

Divide between 2 plates.

Arrange tomatoes, turkey and cheese on top of the salad.

Nutrition:

Per serving:

180 Calories;

4 g. Fat (1 g. Sat, 0 g. Mono);

27 mg. Cholesterol;

19 g. Carbohydrates;

21 g. Protein;

6 g. Fiber;

757 mg. Sodium;

956 mg. Potassium.

Nutrition Bonus:

Vitamin-A (290% daily value),

Vitamin-C (70% dv),

Folate (55% dv),

Calcium (40% dv).

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