vitamin A

Vitamin A

One of the best sources of vitamin A is ‘liver’ its just a pity that not many people eat it today. My mum was a great cook and I remember ‘liver and onions’ being one of my favourite meals when I was growing up. Home made beef burgers, Sunday dinner, pea soup with bacon bones and cottage pie were real favourites too.  We had fruit and veg every day, meals were all made from scratch and nothing went to waste.

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Unfortunately that’s not the case today, everyone is so busy.  This makes it even more vital that we understand where vitamins and minerals come from and if we are eating takeaway food and not making meals from scratch, we need to read labels or ask what is in them.

During my research I’ve discovered that vitamin A:

  • Known as retinol when it’s from animal sources and carotene when from plant sources.
  • Found in liver, vegetables (especially carrots) milk, milk products, butter and fat spreads.
  • Promotes growth and development.
  • Essential for healthy skin and mucous membranes (increasing resistance to infections).
  • Essential for night vision.
  • Promotes tooth and bone development.
  • Carotene is an antioxidant that may help protect against cancer.

Insufficient vitamin A in the diet may result in:

  • night blindness
  • impaired vision
  • intestinal infections
  • in more severe cases is can result in eye inflammation and blindness in children

This is a fat soluble vitamin so is stored in the body. If too much is consumed it can lead to:

  • nausea
  • infertility
  • blurred vision
  • in severe cases it can lead to loss of hair, enlarged liver and spleen and growth inhibition.
  • Excess vitamin A can increase incidence of fractures.

There is evidence that in the UK many 19 – 24 year olds may be deficient. Simply eating more vegetables, especially the old favourite the carrot, eating milk products and drinking milk, can protect eyesight and help prevent more severe health problems further down the line. It is best to restrict eating liver and pate to once a week and menopausal and pregnant women need to check out the NHS website for the latest information. (See link below).

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(vegetables especially carrots), milk, milk products, butter and fat spreads.

It’s a pity that not many people eat liver today, when I was growing my mum made a delicious plate of liver and onions