Lately Vitamin D has been getting a lot of media time. Though it is true that vitamin D is very important for bone health during these dark and cold winter months “vitamin A” should be getting noticed too.
During the winter months, “vitamin A” is an important fat-soluble vitamin that assists with night vision. There are two forms of this antioxidant vitamin and two sources on how to obtain it. The two forms are retinol and beta-carotene. Retinol is a true form of “vitamin A” best found in cod liver oil, egg yolks, butter and whole milk products.
“Right after the holidays, I found myself craving pumpkins. I was making pumpkin soup and smoothies. Now I know why – pumpkin is a great source of “vitamin A.”
Vitamin Sources For Winter
Sources of beta-carotene come from those colourfully rich vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, and spinach. It is the small intestine’s job to convert beta-carotene into a usable “vitamin A” where it will get stored in the different vital organs until needed. The trouble is that stress, including exercise, alcohol consumption, vitamin E deficiency, and cortisone medication can reduce the body’s ability to convert this carotenoid into a functioning “vitamin A”.
Also, diabetics or individuals with low thyroid function have trouble converting beta-carotene to a functioning vitamin A. A balanced diet with “vitamin E” and zinc can help the conversion. Having a daily green drink helps balance these nutrients and they are better absorbed.
Vitamin A is needed through the winter months to help the eyes produce rhodopsin to allow us to see at night. It also helps the immune system, dry skin, tissue healing, and as an antioxidant it reduces the risk of cancer.
The only side effect of overconsumption of beta-carotene would be the skin turning a little orange. However, too much retinol can have a more serious effect, like brain swelling, headaches, vomiting, and dizziness.
Before the winter is over, take time to prepare “vitamin A” rich foods to support your eyesight, immune system and have radiant skin.
Trivia Time: “vitamin A” received its name because it was the first vitamin discovered way back in 1912.
Post your comments on Facebook, about how you are getting your “vitamin A” this winter.
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