Vitamin A is essential for overall health and well-being. Because the human body cannot make it, people must obtain this vitamin from their diet.
- immune function
- healthy vision
- proper functioning of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs
- skin health
- growth and development
In this article, we describe 14 of the best sources of vitamin A and the recommended daily intake.
Animal livers are among the richest sources of vitamin A. This is
A 3-ounce (oz) serving of pan fried beef liver contains 6,582 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A, which equates to 731% of the daily value (DV).
The DV allows people to easily compare the nutrient contents of different foods. It is a percentage based on the recommended daily intakes of key nutrients from the
As an organ meat, liver is high in protein. It also
Lamb liver and liver sausage are other rich sources of vitamin A.
Fish livers are also excellent sources of preformed vitamin A, with 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil providing
According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), vitamin D boosts immunity and plays a role in bone health. It may also protect against depression.
One whole sweet potato, baked in its skin, provides 1,403 mcg of vitamin A, which is 156% of the DV.
Sweet potatoes are also:
- low in calories
- a source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium
- high in fiber
- have a low glycemic index, helping to control blood sugar levels
For a healthful meal, try having a baked sweet potato in the skin with a salad and a source of protein, such as salmon or tofu.
Carrots are rich in beta carotene. Half a cup of raw carrots contains 459 mcg of vitamin A and 51% of the DV.
A large carrot contains around
Beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, and they are also rich in fiber. Each cup of boiled black eyed peas contains 66 mcg of vitamin A and 7% of the DV.
Black-eyed peas are also a
Black-eyed peas are a versatile ingredient. Use them in salads, soups, and stews.
Like other leafy green vegetables, spinach contains a wealth of nutrients.
Each half-cup of boiled spinach provides 573 mcg of vitamin A, which is 64% of the DV.
Sautéed spinach makes a tasty side dish, and spinach also works well in pasta dishes and soups.
Broccoli is another healthful source of vitamin A, with a half-cup providing 60 mcg, which is 7% of a person’s DV.
People can roast, steam, or fry broccoli, enjoy it in soups, or add it to salads.
A half-cup of raw sweet red bell pepper provides 117 mcg of vitamin A, which is 13% of the DV.
This serving only contains
Try scrambling bell peppers with eggs, eating them in sandwiches, or serving sliced peppers with a healthful dip.
Mangoes are rich in antioxidants and dietary fiber, which can contribute to better gut function and help control blood sugar.
This fruit is delicious on its own, but it works equally well in a tropical fruit salad or mango salsa.
A half-cup of this summer melon provides 135 mcg of vitamin A, which is 15% of the DV.
Cantaloupe is a
Eat fresh cantaloupe on its own, with other fruit, or in a smoothie.
For a sweet treat that is rich in vitamin A, snack on dried apricots.
Ten dried apricot halves contain 63 mcg of vitamin A, which is 7% of the DV. Dried fruits are also high in fiber and antioxidants.
However, dried apricots also contain a lot of sugar and calories, so it is important to consume them in moderation.
Pumpkin is also a good source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Eating pumpkin pie is less healthful than eating plain pumpkin, so enjoy it in moderation to avoid consuming too much sugar.
A three-quarter cup serving of tomato juice contains 42 mcg of vitamin A, which is 5% of the DV.
Tomatoes are also
Like pumpkins, tomatoes and tomato juice contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which
A 3-oz serving of pickled Atlantic herring provides 219 mcg of vitamin A, or 24% of a person’s DV.
Herring is also a
As a fatty fish, herring is a great option for those who want to increase their omega-3 intake for heart and brain health.
In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend eating 2 servings of fatty fish each week.
There are two main types of vitamin A:
- Preformed vitamin A: This comes in the form of retinol and is present in animal-based food sources, including meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products.
- Provitamin A: This comes in the form of carotenoids, mainly beta carotene. It is present in plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
To aid the absorption of vitamin A, a person needs to include some fat in their diet. It is also important not to overcook foods, as this
The ODS list the recommended dietary allowances for vitamin A as follows:
|Demographic||Daily amount (mcg)|
|Males aged 14+||900|
|Females aged 14+||700|
|Pregnant teens aged 14–18||750|
|Pregnant adults aged 19+||770|
|Breastfeeding teens aged 14–18||1,200|
|Breastfeeding adults aged 19+||1,300|
Many foods, both plant-based and from animals, contain good amounts of vitamin A.
Vitamin A deficiency is uncommon in the U.S., and most people do not need to worry too much about counting vitamin A values.
The best way to ensure an adequate nutrient intake is to eat a varied and balanced diet, full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthful fats, and lean proteins.