The Caveman’s Essential Nutrients #6: Vitamin A

Vitamin A FoodsWhat’s number one on that vitamin label? Why it’s vitamin A, of course!

While vitamin A might be number one on the back of a packet of your favorite snacks in the nutrition information section, it’s usually not number one on our list of priorities when it comes to our diets. So what exactly does vitamin A do for our bodies and why do we need it anyway?

Vitamin A is absolutely critical for your vision, especially night vision. While loading up on vitamin A rich foods won’t give you superhuman sight or let you see crystal clear in the dark, it is still very important for the health of your eyes. The number one leading cause of blindness around the world is vitamin A deficiency. This vitamin, also known as retinol, is also a key element in promoting growth, skin cell regeneration, and cell reproduction. For this reason, vitamin A is especially important for kids who are still growin’ up.

Vitamin A is also a cancer fighter. Since this vitamin can inhibit the growth of DNA in cancerous cells, cancers grow much more slowly in the presence of vitamin A. Retinol is also proven to help keep leukemia cells from dividing and reproducing. Topical use of this vitamin is also shown to lighten liver spots and treat cancers! Vitamin A is also great for treatin’ skin disorders. While time has certainly made this caveman the rugged pinnacle of manliness today, in my youth the only thing that had more craters than the primordial earth was my face. Vitamin A is proven to help treat acne, psoriasis, wrinkles, sun damage, and whiteheads

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When you’ve been around as long as I have, you realize just how important it is to keep your eyes healthy. If my ol’ peepers gave out on me, there’s no way I’d be able to spot my golf ball out on the green. That’s why I’m always sure to eat as much vitamin A rich foods as I can. So what foods are good for keeping up with your vitamin A requirements? The best source of vitamin A – liver. There ain’t nothing that gets you more vitamin A bang for your buck quite like a good serving of liver. But let’s say your stomach is churnin’ at the mere thought of chowin’ down on internal organs. You can also get vitamin A from a variety of plants. A good rule of thumb: if the food in question is a colorful yellow or orange, it’s probably a good source of vitamin A. Does this mean that your orange flavored Fruit Roll-Up is a good vitamin A source? No. Look for things like carrots, peaches, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and mangoes.

Vitamin A deficiency is most often seen among low-income groups. While your budget may be stretched thin, it’s more than worth it to put aside a little extra cash in your food budget to make sure that you get your fill of vitamin A. If you’re not gettin’ enough, your body has ways of lettin’ ya know. You may start to have problems seeing at night, your skin might grow rough, your immune system will definitely become less responsive, and you’ll become more susceptible to infectious diseases. With all that’s to gain from a diet rich in vitamin A, your overall health will definitely be losing out if you don’t take advantage of this miraculous vitamin!

 
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