Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Give ‘Em Your A Game

I wasn’t exactly the bravest little girl, OK, I was a scaredy-cat, especially of the dark. If I would have known then that vitamin A can help your eyes adjust better when going from light to dark, I would have never left all those carrot sticks on my dinner plate!

Why Have You Done a Good Thing?

Vitamin A (AKA pro-vitamin A, Retinol-which comes from animal sources, & Beta-carotene-which comes from plant sources) helps with:

  • Vision (protects against night blindness)
  • Growth and development in children and adults
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Can decrease severity of measles and diarrhea
  • Often helps fight a certain leukemia called APL
  • Treats certain skin diseases such as psoriasis

What Has Vitamin A?

  • Deep green leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard, peas,broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as squash, peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, peaches, mangos, apricots, cantaloupe-Eggs
  • Liver
  • Fortified milk & some milk products
  • Vegetable oils (palm oil)

How Much Vitamin A Should You Have Per Day?

  • 700-900 ug/day (more if breast feeding)

No need for vitamin supplements, How Can You Up Your Vitamin A INTAKE?

  • Include dried apricots or mangoes in your next trail mix
  • Make an apricot glaze using apricot preserves for chicken, turkey, or pork
  • Switch your salad greens for spinach leaves
  • Snack on carrots sticks or peppers with hummus or peanut butter
  • Experiment with dark leafy greens, using them in healthy dips, omelets, side dishes
  • Eat a hardboiled egg for a snack or eggs for breakfast 2-3x per week
  • Make a squash & carrot soup
  • Make an orange-colored fruit salad
  • Eat sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes
  • Delicious Sweet Potato Fries: Mix 1 sweet potato, sliced French-fry style, with 1T EVOO, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin and bake on a cookie sheet for 12-18 minutes at 400 degrees F.

So please, give us your A-game and load up on these vitamin A-filled foods. The next time you wake up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you may notice how well you can see in the dark!

--Samantha Jacobs, RD

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