20 Foods Rich in Vitamin A: Fruit, Vegetables, Protein

20 Foods Rich in Vitamin A: Fruit, Vegetables, Protein

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that supports vision, the immune system, and major organs. It's important for reproduction, growth, and development.

Retinol is preformed vitamin A, which comes from animal-based foods such as liver, some types of fish, and eggs.

Carotenoids, or provitamin A, come from plant-based foods and may not be as bioavailable. Your body has to turn carotenoids into vitamin A. Vegetables and fruits with the deepest or brightest colors, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach, have the most carotenoids.

This article covers foods rich in vitamin A, more recommended daily amounts.

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20 Foods Rich in Vitamin A

The body absorbs 75–100% of retinol. It can only absorb 10–30% of carotenoids. However, cooking plant-based foods can increase the bioavailability of carotenoids. Eating a little bit of fat also helps your body absorb them better.

The daily value (DV) for the following foods with vitamin A is based on a daily diet of 2,000 calories.

The recommended daily amount (RDA) for vitamin A is measured in retinol activity equivalents (RAEs), as follows:

  • Males 14 and up: 900 micrograms
  • Females 19 and up: 700 micrograms

1. Liver

You'll find the highest vitamin A levels in beef, lamb, and chicken liver. A serving of liver's vitamin A content is well above the recommended daily vitamin A intake. One slice of pan-fried beef liver contains:

  • Vitamin A: 6,272 micrograms (697% DV)
  • Protein: 22 grams (43% DV)
  • B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids

Your liver stores the excess, and eating large portions too often can increase the risk of vitamin toxicity.

2. Liverwurst

Liverwurst is sausage made with liver and ground meats. The amount of vitamin A and other nutrients varies, depending on the specific ingredients. One liverwurst sausage contains:

  • Vitamin A: 1,495.4 micrograms (166% DV)
  • Protein: 2.5 grams (5% DV)
  • An abundance of B vitamins

3. Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is known for helping prevent vitamin D deficiency. But it's also high in vitamin A. One teaspoon of it contains:

  • Vitamin A: 1,350 micrograms (150% DV)
  • Vitamin D: 11.3 micrograms (56% DV)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Note that 1 teaspoon of cod liver oil contains more vitamin A than you need daily.

4. Carrots

At just 3% DV for calories, here's what you get in 1 cup of cooked carrot slices:

  • Vitamin A: 1,329.1 micrograms (148% DV)
  • Vitamin K: 21.4 micrograms (18% DV)
  • Fiber: 4.7 grams (17% DV)
  • Vitamin B6: 0.2 milligrams (14% DV)

5. Tuna

A 6-ounce bluefin tuna filet cooked in dry heat has:

  • Vitamin A: 1,286.9 micrograms (143% DV)
  • Protein: 51 grams (102% DV)
  • B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids

A 3-ounce can of white tuna packed in water contains 1% DV for vitamin A. A tuna steak also has about 28% DV for cholesterol. And some types of tuna include high levels of mercury.

6. Butternut Squash

One cup of cooked butternut squash provides the following:

  • Vitamin A: 1,143.9 micrograms (127% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 31 milligrams (34% DV)
  • Fiber: 6.6 grams (23% DV)
  • Potassium: 582.2 milligrams (12% DV)

7. Sweet Potatoes

One medium-cooked sweet potato with the skin left on is low in calories and provides:

  • Vitamin A: 1,095.5 micrograms (122% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 22.3 milligrams (25% DV)
  • Fiber: 3.8 grams (13% DV)
  • Protein: 2.3 grams (5% DV)

8. Leafy Greens

A cup of cooked spinach gives you about 2% DV for calories and provides:

  • Vitamin A: 943.2 micrograms (105% DV)
  • Iron: 6.4 milligrams (36% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 17.6 milligrams (20% DV)
  • Fiber: 4.3 grams (15% DV)

Other leafy greens that are rich in vitamin A include:

  • Kale: 98% DV per cup
  • Mustard greens: 96% DV per cup
  • Collards: 80% DV per cup

9. Eggs

In 1 cup of scrambled eggs, you'll get:

  • Vitamin A: 354.2 micrograms (39% DV)
  • Protein: 22 grams (44% DV)
  • Ample B vitamins

You'll also get about 203% DV of cholesterol.

10. Cantaloupe

A cup of diced cantaloupe provides:

  • Vitamin A: 263.6 micrograms (29% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 57.3 milligrams (64% DV)
  • Fiber: 1.4 grams (5% DV)

A cup of cantaloupe also gives you about 25% DV of sugar.

11. Mackerel

Three ounces of cooked king mackerel provides:

  • Vitamin A: 214.2 micrograms (24% DV)
  • Protein: 22 grams (44% DV)
  • B vitamins and amino acids

Mackerel also offers about 19% DV for cholesterol.

12. Romaine Lettuce

One cup of shredded romaine adds virtually no calories and has about:

  • Vitamin A: 204.9 micrograms (23% DV)
  • Vitamin K: 48.2 micrograms (40% DV)
  • Fiber: 1 gram (4% DV)

13. Red Bell Peppers

One cup of boiled red bell peppers has:

  • Vitamin A: 198.5 micrograms (22% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 230.9 milligrams (257% DV)
  • Fiber: 1.6 grams (6% DV)

A cup of red bell peppers also provides about 12% of your DV for sugar.

14. Ricotta Cheese

Half a cup of ricotta cheese provides:

  • Vitamin A: 148.8 micrograms (17% DV)
  • Protein: 9.3 grams (19% DV)
  • Abundant B vitamins

It also gives you 16% DV for fat.

15. Apricots

In 1 cup of apricot halves, you'll get:

  • Vitamin A: 148.8 micrograms (17% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 15.5 milligrams (17% DV)
  • Vitamin E: 1.4 milligrams (9% DV)

Apricots provide 29% DV for sugar.

16. Pink Grapefruit

Among the nutrients in a cup of pink grapefruit are:

  • Vitamin A: 133.4 micrograms (15% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 71.8 milligrams (80% DV)
  • Fiber: 3.7 grams (13% DV)

It can also provide about 32% DV for sugar.

17. Broccoli

One cup of cooked broccoli provides:

  • Vitamin A: 120.1 micrograms (13% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 101.2 milligrams (112% DV)
  • Fiber: 5.1 grams (18% DV)

18. Salmon

Among other nutrients, 6 ounces of cooked sockeye salmon has:

  • Vitamin A: 98.6 micrograms (11% DV)
  • Vitamin D: 28.4 micrograms (142% DV)
  • B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids

Salmon also contains 35% DV for cholesterol.

19. Mangos

One cup of raw mango has:

  • Vitamin A: 89.1 micrograms (10% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 60.1 milligrams (67% DV)
  • Fiber: 2.6 grams (9% DV)

Mangoes provide about 45% DV for sugar.

20. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are low in calories and nutrient-dense, with one medium tomato providing:

  • Vitamin A: 51.7 micrograms (6% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 16.9 milligrams (19% DV)
  • Vitamin K: 9.7 micrograms (8% DV)

Getting Vitamin A From Foods vs. Supplements

A varied diet provides enough vitamin A for most people. Many foods, such as dairy products and breakfast cereals, are fortified with vitamin A. And most multivitamins contain at least some vitamin A.

It's also available as a standalone supplement. The vitamin A in these supplements may come from beta-carotene or retinol. Too much vitamin A can be dangerous for your health, so check with a healthcare provider before taking vitamin A supplements.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency isn't common in the United States. However, certain conditions, such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and cystic fibrosis, make it hard to absorb vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can be toxic. Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include fatigue, frequent infections, infertility, dry skin and hair, severe dry eyes, and night blindness.

Vitamin A-Forward Meal Inspiration

Vitamin A-rich foods are versatile, varying in texture, taste, and color.

  • Combine kale or spinach with carrots, tomatoes, and red bell peppers for a colorful salad.
  • Swap sweet potatoes for white ones when making loaded baked potatoes.
  • Pair salmon or tuna steak with butternut squash and collard greens.
  • Add mangoes and apricots to fruit smoothies and leafy greens to vegetable smoothies.
  • Eat pink grapefruit, mangoes, cantaloupe, and apricots as snack foods.

Summary

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that you get from two sources. Retinol comes from animal-based foods such as liver and some kinds of fish. Carotenoids come from plant-based foods, such as carrots, butternut squash, and spinach. Your body has to convert carotenoids to vitamin A.

Extra vitamin A is stored in the liver. Too much vitamin A is toxic and can lead to serious health problems. Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States. If you're considering taking a vitamin A supplement, it's a good idea to discuss it with a healthcare provider first.

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