Keep an eye out for the best Vitamin A foods for skin, eyes, and more

  • 1 Minute Read
Brenda Braslow
Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Check out our "A-listers" of the best Vitamin A foods for skin, eyes, teeth, and more.

Vitamin A foods for skin

If you want healthy skin and more, look to Vitamin A. The best Vitamin A foods for good vision, especially at night, are the best vitamin A foods for skin, too! Other benefits of vitamin A include healthy teeth, optimal reproductive function, protection from infections, and antioxidant power that could reduce the risk of cancer and other age-related diseases. An essential nutrient, Vitamin A is a fat-soluble compound that cannot be produced in the body.

Sources of Vitamin A Foods for Skin and Much More

Found in animal and plant sources, vitamin A (aka retinol) is found most concentrated in animals. In fact, in ancient Egypt, night blindness was treated by daily ingestion of ox or rooster liver. Other animal sources include egg yolks, milk, and fish oil. The plant source versions, carotenoids, convert into vitamin A in the body. Carotenoids are found in red, yellow, orange, and dark green leafy vegetables. One of more than 500 known carotenoids, beloved beta-carotene protects cells from damage, a key benefit to keeping your skin and complexion healthy. These plant sources increase your vitamin A intake and contribute to your five daily servings of fruits and veggies, as well. Look for more intensely-colored fruits and vegetables to maximize vitamin A content.

How Much Do We Need?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin A for males, 14 years and older, is 900 mcg RAE/day. For females, 14 years and older, the RDA is 700 mcg RAE/day. For other age groups and categories, go here. About half the RDA can be easily obtained by simply eating five servings of fruits and veggies daily. Some foods come fortified with it, like low-fat milk and cereal.

Some of the best vitamin A sources

What about vitamin A supplements?

Most multivitamin supplements contain 700-3000 mcg retinol activity equivalent (RAE) vitamin A. Unless you have been diagnosed with a vitamin A deficiency or have a digestive disorder or a very poor diet, there is no need to take an additional vitamin A supplement. The body transports and stores retinoids so that proper amounts are available to body tissues despite variations in daily vitamin A intake. Also, since vitamin A builds up in the body, high doses of vitamin A above the tolerable upper limit (TUL) of 3,000 mcg RAE per day risk becoming toxic. Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include dry skin, joint pain, vomiting, headaches, and confusion. The beta-carotene supplement form, in high amounts, won't make you sick but will turn your skin orange, probably not a preferable skin color unless it is Halloween.

More colorful is key

Look for opportunities to choose vitamin A by being selective with food choices. The color gives it away, so the darker and more colorful, the better. For example choose a sweet potato over a white potato, carrots instead of chips, kale instead of iceberg lettuce. Your body will reward you with increased defenses and healthy rejuvenation.

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Updated: June 3, 2020

Foods & Recipes->Red Meat Nutrients->Vitamin A & beta-carotene
Jun 5, 2020

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