Vitamin A is an essential antioxidant that benefits several areas of health. First, it's a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it remains in your tissues longer once absorbed. It’s also known for supporting the health of your immune system, brain, bones, skin and eyes, as well as overall wellness.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is 3,000 IU for men and 2,300 IU for women. Pregnant women should strive for 2,600 IU, while lactating women should get 4,300 IU daily. It’s important to check with your healthcare practitioner to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A.
Vitamin A comes from retinoids and carotenoids. You can get retinoids from animal sources such as kidney, liver, eggs and dairy, whereas carotenoids come from plant sources such as fruits and vegetables.
While some people need supplements to obtain the RDA of certain vitamins and minerals (think vitamin D due to lack of sunlight in some areas), the RDA of vitamin A can typically be achieved by eating a healthy diet including a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables.Check out a few foods with high amounts of vitamin A, below:
Top Foods Rich in Vitamin A
1Sweet potato, medium: 28,058 IU
At the top of the list, sweet potatoes have a whopping 28,058 IU of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. Just one potato equals more vitamin A than you need for an entire week. You’ll also get about half of the vitamin C and manganese you need daily.
2Beef liver, 3 ounces: 22,175 IU
While eating any kind of liver may not sound appealing to you, beef liver certainly comes with a lot of health benefits. Three ounces deliver 22,175 IU of vitamin A along with high amounts of B-12, B-6 and iron.
3Spinach, ½ cup frozen: 11,458 IU
If you’re not a big fan of spinach, the nutrition content alone should make you consider adding it to your favorite salad, egg scramble or smoothie. Just ½ cup of frozen spinach has 11,458 IU of vitamin A. It’s also packed with vitamins C and K, iron, calcium and manganese.
4Carrots, ½ cup: 9,189 IU
Carrots are well known for supporting vision health due to their carotenoid content. One serving delivers 9,189 IU of vitamin A. Carrots are also a good source of fiber, magnesium and vitamins C, B and K.
5Cantaloupe, ½ cup: 2,706 IU
Cantaloupe is oftentimes found in fruit cup mixtures, and for good reason. This delicious melon has 2,706 IU of vitamin A per serving. Add this sweet fruit to your morning meal or enjoy it as a snack or dessert. I recommend trying it with cottage cheese.
6Red pepper, ½ cup: 2,332 IU
Peppers are another healthy snack food that can be eaten plain or with dip. A half-cup serving gives you 2,332 IU of vitamin A along with high amounts of vitamin C and lycopene, which is also good for eye health.
7Mango, medium: 2,240 IU
Mangoes are a delectable fruit that make a good addition to desserts, smoothies and other recipes that deserve a boost of sweetness. A medium mango will deliver 2,240 IU of vitamin A along with other key nutrients.
8Dried Apricots, 10 halves: 1,261 IU
Dried apricots can be found in many trail mixes, but they also taste great alone and help boost energy. Just 10 dried apricot halves deliver 1,261 IU of vitamin A. Who knew that snacking came with such nutritious rewards?!
Need more ideas? Some additional foods for vitamin A intake include milk, eggs, beans, fish, cheese and other fruits and vegetables. As always, check with your doctor and read food labels to make sure you’re getting enough of all essential vitamins and minerals.
What are some of your favorite food sources of vitamin A?