- Red Peppers
Vitamin A is the name for a group of substances called retinoids. Most Americans get enough from their food, but moms-to-be might want to add an extra helping, because it helps the baby grow. Red peppers are an excellent source: A half cup gives you almost half of what you need for a single day.
There are two kinds of vitamin A: Preformed vitamin A — from meat, poultry, fish, and dairy — arrives in your body ready to use.
The second kind, provitamin A, comes from certain fruits and veggies, like spinach. Your body has to process it before it can go to work.
It may not be the meal you crave, but it’s full of vitamin A, which gives your immune system a huge boost — it keeps the cells that protect you against infection working the way they should. It also helps make the antibodies that fight off any threats that get past other defenses.
- Sweet Potatoes
Here’s a good reason to load up your plate with these versatile veggies: They’re a great source of vitamin A. One baked sweet potato gives you more than 500% of the amount you need each day.
Which sounds better: a cup of ice cream or 20 cans of tuna? Believe it or not, both have the same amount of vitamin A (about 20% of what you should get each day). Still, you’d need more than 25 scoops of ice cream to match the vitamin A you get in just one baked sweet potato.
- Pumpkin Pie
Vitamin A helps your heart, lungs, and kidneys do their work. So if you’re having dessert, think about a slice of pumpkin pie. It has plenty of beta-carotene, an antioxidant your body turns into vitamin A.
Vitamin A keeps your eyes working the way they should. People who don’t get enough — it’s mainly a problem in Africa and Southeast Asia — can have night blindness. So keep an eye out for chances to get your daily dose. Just a half cup of raw carrots will give you more than enough.
- If it’s tough for you get all the A you need from food, you might try fortified foods. They have an extra helping of the vitamin. These foods include cereals, condiments, sugar, and milk. You’ll also find it in supplements. Talk to your doctor about the right amount for you.