Nutrient supplements

Judging Vitamin A Supplements: Which are the Best?

Vitamin A is absolutely critical for proper body functioning. This vitamin works in many areas of your body from your eyes and skin to your bones and reproductive system. Dietary sources of vitamin A are plentiful, particularly among fruits and vegetables like carrots, kale, spinach and sweet potatoes. If you are worried about a deficiency in vitamin A, talk to your doctor about vitamin A supplements.

Why Take Vitamin A Supplements?
Vitamin A is essentially a blanket term used to describe retinoids. Retinoids are biologically active complexes found in both plants and animals. Vitamin A is essential for your body as it assists with numerous aspects of your overall health. Perhaps most famously, vitamin A is vital to your eye health. Remember the whole carrots are good for you saying? While it’s not entirely true, it’s also not entirely false. The beta-carotene in carrots converts to vitamin A in your body, and benefits your eyes by helping you distinguish colors, protecting the cornea (outer surface of the eye) and preventing vision loss. Additionally, vitamin A has been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, though more study is needed.

It isn’t just your eyes that benefit when you are receiving proper vitamin A levels. Vitamin A is also essential for bone growth, reproduction and your immune system health. You may be familiar with vitamin A as retinol, one of the greatest skin care ingredients you can use. Vitamin A repels bacteria, making it an excellent anti-acne treatment, and helps to turn over newer, healthier skin cells.

How Much Vitamin A do you Need?
The amount of vitamin A, like all vitamins, depends upon several factors including your age and gender. In general, the following are the recommended daily intake of vitamin A:

  • Men – 3,000 IU (900 micrograms)
  • Women – 2,300 IU (700 micrograms)
  • Pregnant Women – 2,600 IU (770 micrograms)
  • Lactating Women – 4,300 IU (1,300 micrograms)

Because vitamin A can interact with other things and because taking too much causes adverse health reactions, it is highly recommended that you consult with your doctor to learn the appropriate daily intake for you.

Which Vitamin A Supplements are the Best?

  • NOW Foods Vitamin A from Fish Liver Oil – These are a highly rated supplement with satisfied customers raving about improved vision and skin.
  • NOW Foods Beta-Carotene – This supplement is produced from carotenoids that occur naturally in D. salina sea algae.
  • Nature Made Vitamin A – The Nature Made Vitamin A supplements take their primary source of vitamin A from sardine liver oil.
  • Source Naturals Vitamin A – These tablet use palmitate and are suitable for vegetarians.
  • Solgar Dry Vitamin A – Derived from deep-sea, cold-water fish these softgels have been molecularly distilled to remove any contaminants.

Warnings About Vitamin A Supplements
It is definitely true that vitamin A is crucial for your body, but there are some caveats when taking vitamin A. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states vitamin A may be unsafe when taken orally in high doses. Long-term use of large amounts of vitamin A might also cause serious side effects such as irritability, fatigue, anorexia, mental changes, nausea, stomach discomfort, vomiting, excessive sweating, mild fever, and more.

Experts recommend trying to get your daily intake of vitamin A from dietary sources and to use supplements as needed. Because there are potential interactions with medications or other herbs and supplements, it is advised to check with your doctor before beginning a vitamin A supplement regimen. Specifically related to beta-carotene, smokers are advised against using the supplement as it can increase the risk of lung cancer, though more research is required. Use of vitamin A supplements can be a great way to make sure you aren’t deficient in vitamin A, but be sure to consult with a healthcare professional so you take vitamin A supplements safely.

Healthy colorful salad

Eat Well: Recipes High in Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential in order for your body to function healthily. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements says, “[v]itamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs work properly.” One of the other organs that vitamin A benefits is the largest organ of your body, the skin. Vitamin A is excellent for helping to treat acne and aging and it was the first retinoid to be approved by the FDA to effectively treat wrinkles. While vitamin A may help skin a bit more when applied topically, having some in your body certainly helps your skin and it provides essential functions for other areas of your body. Here are our three favorite fall recipes that are high in vitamin A.

Seared Sesame Tuna

Seared Sesame Tuna
Tuna is a good source of vitamin A. In a one ounce serving of tuna, you receive around 15% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A. This recipe calls for 6 oz tuna steaks, meaning that your seared sesame tuna accounts for over half of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tuna steaks (6 oz)
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (a sweet Japanese wine)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup black sesame seeds

Grab a small bowl and add soy sauce, sesame oil, raw honey and mirin together and divide into two equal parts. Pour one part into another bowl. Stir in rice wine vinegar and set aside. Spread black sesame seeds out on a plate. Brush soy sauce mixture onto the tuna steaks and press lightly into the sesame seeds. In a pan, heat olive oil on high heat. When very hot, place tuna steaks in the pan and sear each side for about 30 seconds (or longer depending on how you prefer your tuna cooked). Remove from pan and serve with the dipping sauce you set aside.

Roast Veggies

Harvest Vegetable Bake
This comforting dish combines three amazing sources of vitamin A. Just a one-cup serving of kale provides you with 354% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A. This recipe also calls for red bell peppers, sweet potatoes and squash which are all great dietary sources of vitamin A.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes diced
  • 2 red bell peppers diced
  • 1 small acorn squash diced
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 4 sprigs fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add olive oil and butter to a pan over medium heat. Allow butter to melt, then add the sweet potatoes, bell peppers, squash and shallot. Season with garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. When sweet potatoes are tender, stir in the chopped kale and sage. Continue to cook over medium heat for five more minutes, until kale is wilted.

Dried Apricot Jam

Dried Apricot Jam
Dried apricots can be enjoyed on their own, but for a bit of variety mix up this tasty jam that a perfect addition to your morning oatmeal of slice of toast. A half-cup serving of dried apricots contains 151% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin A.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ½ cups dried apricots
  • 4 ½ cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup stevia powder (or less depending on how sweet you want your jam)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 1.75 oz package powdered fruit pectin

Bring water to a boil and add dried apricots. Cook for 30 minutes, or until apricots are hydrated. Take the apricots and water and place in a food processor with vanilla bean paste. Working in small batches, blend until well combined but still slightly chunky. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the processed apricot mixture with pectin and cook just until boiling. Add stevia powder and lemon juice and boil until dissolved, about one to two minutes.

In a stock pot, sterilize jars and lids for canning for five minutes. Pack apricot jam into jars, leaving about ¼ inch of room at the top. Once jars are filled, run a butter knife along the inside to get rid of any air bubbles and remove any jam residue from the rims of the jars. Add lids and screw on rings. Place a rack in the bottom of the stock pot and fill about halfway with water. Bring water to a boil, then using a holder, place full jars on the rack. Leave space between each jar and if necessary pour more water into the stock pot, enough so that there is about one inch of water on top of the jars. Bring the water to a roaring boil, cover the pot and allow 10 minutes to process. Remove jars from the stock pot and allow to fully cool, about one hour. When cool, press the top of each lid down to ensure it is airtight for storage.

Carrots, bell peppers, squash, kale and other dark, leafy greens and tuna are all excellent sources of dietary vitamin A. You can whip up a simple kale salad for lunch and add some chopped bell peppers, carrots and sliced tuna on top. Eating for your body doesn’t have to be boring or difficult, these three fall recipes that are full of vitamin A are simple, delicious and nutritious.

Woman trying to decide what to make for dinner.

Quick Anti-Aging Recipes for Weeknights

Your life is a non-stop rush where you go from task to task hoping to complete everything you need to get done in a day. Most times the last thing you want to do when you get in your door is spend hours hovered in front of your stove preparing a healthy and great tasting meal. We’ve got you covered. Not only are the following recipes quick to prepare, but they also go far beyond healthy. These recipes from Resveralife also provide anti-aging benefits to your skin by using superfoods that possess anti-aging properties.

Pasta Salad with Peppers

Vitamin C
Vitamin C really is a powerhouse when it comes to your health. Not only does this ingredient help repair and regenerate tissue and fight against damaging free radicals. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, also helps protect you from heart disease, supports healthy immune function, decreases your LDL (or bad cholesterol) levels and may also aid in the prevention of a variety of cancers.

Boost your vitamin C levels by preparing this quick (under 30 minutes from prep to eating) pasta salad. Though there are a decent amount of ingredients, it’s a super simple dish that you can throw together. Here’s the recipe and directions:

Pasta Salad with Peppers

  • 3 red peppers (or throw in an orange pepper for color variety)
  • 1 can of black olives
  • 1 medium tomato (optional)
  • 1 16 oz package of your favorite pasta (we love whole grain rotini)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • cracked black pepper to taste

Begin by either dicing your peppers or cutting them julienne style. Dice your tomato and drain your black olives. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta and cook according to directions. In a food processor or blender, combine white wine vinegar, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, basil and salt and pepper. Blend until until smooth. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle dressing and add vegetables to the bowl. Toss together and top with cubed or grated mozzarella cheese. Serve warm or allow to cool to room temperature.

Avocado and Strawberry Salad.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that improves your body as well as your skin. This antioxidant is required for proper structural and functional maintenance of your skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscles. When it comes to your skin, vitamin E is excellent for dehydrated skin. It also provides UV protection and reduces damage done by free radicals. Add some vitamin E to your diet with this easy weeknight recipe.

Avocado and Strawberry Salad

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 avocado (pitted, peeled and sliced)
  • 10 strawberries washed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (fresh is best if you have a lemon on hand)

Grab a small bowl and whisk together the sugar, olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Add cracked black pepper for an added kick. Set that bowl aside and place spinach in a larger bowl. Top with sliced avocado and strawberries then drizzle the dressing on top. If you want you can also add sliced pecans, walnuts or almonds for added flavor.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Vitamin A
Vitamin A comes from both plant and animal sources. When an animal source is used, vitamin A is referred to as a retinoid, when a plant is used it’s beta-carotene. Either way, this is an anti-aging superstar. Vitamin A increases cell turnover encouraging new, healthy skin cells to grow and aids the skin in it’s barrier function. Vitamin A is also good for your vision and immune health. Add a little sweetness to a weeknight meal with this quick and easy recipe for mashed sweet potatoes.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • 6 sweet potatoes washed, peeled and cubed
  • 3/4 milk or milk substitute (such as soy or almond milk)
  • 1/2 butter
  • 3/4 organic maple syrup

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add sweet potatoes. Cook sweet potatoes until tender, or 20-30 minutes. Drain potatoes and add to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend potatoes and gradually add your milk. If you find your sweet potatoes are too thick, add a bit more milk until you achieve the desired consistency. Finally add butter and maple syrup then blend until smooth.

You don’t need extra hours in the day to eat for your health and for anti-aging skin benefits, you just need a little bit of creativity in the kitchen.