⚠️There are two primary sources of 𝐕𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐧 𝐀.
✅𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐞, or 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘯 𝘈:
▶️All mammals get two-thirds of carotenoids from beta carotenes.
▶️Yellow, red and green (leafy) vegetables (spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers)
▶️Yellow fruit (mango, papaya and apricots)
✅𝐀𝐧𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐥 𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐞, or 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘝𝘪𝘵 𝘈:
▶️Fortified low-fat spreads
▶️Milk and yoghurt
▶️Liver and liver products such as liver pâté (don’t eat more than once a week, and pregnant women should avoid them altogether)
❇Examples of low concentration of Vit A (𝘪𝘯 𝘮𝘪𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘮𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 % 𝘰𝘧 𝘥𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘷𝘢𝘭𝘶𝘦).
➡️Peppers, sweet, red, raw, ½ cup (117/13)
➡️Mangos, raw, 1 whole (112/12)
➡️Black-eyed peas, boiled, 1 cup (66/7)
➡️Apricots, dried, 10 halves (63/7)
➡️Broccoli, boiled, ½ cup (60/7)
➡️Pistachio nuts, dry roasted, 1 ounce (4/0)
➡️Egg, hard-boiled, 1 large (75/8)
➡️Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 3 ounces (59/7) ➡Yoghurt, plain, low fat, 1 cup (32/4)
➡️Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained solids, 3 ounces (20/2)
➡️Chicken, breast meat and skin, roasted, ½ breast (5/1)
‼️Though most get their Vit A from plant sources, in reality, its absorption is not great.
🔸️When we eat beta carotenes, only 𝟺𝟶 𝘵𝘰 𝟼𝟶% 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘴𝘰𝘳𝘣𝘦𝘥.
🔹️In contrast, between 𝟾𝟶 𝘵𝘰 𝟿𝟶% of retinol from animal proteins will be absorbed.
❗To make the matter a bit more complicated, 𝘥𝘦𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘻𝘪𝘯𝘤, 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘣𝘴𝘰𝘳𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 (conditions like abetalipoproteinemia) affect carotenoid absorption.
❎𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐢𝐝𝐬 are 𝘱𝘪𝘨𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴.
▶️They are the reason for the bright red, yellow and orange colours you see in plenty of fruits, vegetables, algae and bacteria.
▶️Their importance is related to their ability to help absorb light so that photosynthesis can be done.
They are also antioxidants.
You can take supplements, if you can't eat any of the above.
Dr Costa is a Consultant Paediatrician and fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.