Have you ever struggled with acne or other facial blemishes? How about poor or changing vision? Your skin may be breaking out because you aren't getting enough Vitamin A, which may also explain why your vision is sometimes less than perfect.
Vitamin A is one of 13 vitamins that our bodies need in order to function properly. In case you don't know, those 13 vitamins are:
- Vitamin A - helps to maintain healthy teeth and skin
- Vitamin C - an antioxidant that helps keep our teeth and gums healthy
- Vitamin D - aka "the sunshine vitamin," vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium
- Vitamin E - another antioxidant that helps with the formation of red blood cells
- Vitamin K - protects our bones from fractures and helps with blood clotting
- Vitamin B1 - helps convert the carbohydrates we eat into energy
- Vitamin B2 - helps the body grow and form red blood cells
- Vitamin B3 - helps keep our skin and nerves healthy, in addition to reducing cholesterol
- Vitamin B6 - helps with brain function and the formation of red blood cells
- Vitamin B12 - aids in the formation of DNA and helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy
- Pantothenic Acid - helps the body metabolize food
- Biotin - helps us to metabolize protein and carbs
- Folic Acid - aids in the formation of red blood cells and is needed to produce DNA
That's a lot of vitamins! No wonder the vitamin industry is so massive. As usual, I would prefer it if we all got our vitamins the old-fashioned way: through a healthy diet. The great news for you is that by following Beyond Diet, you will consume all of these vitamins in the foods you eat.
As I mentioned earlier, many people don't get enough Vitamin A, which can lead to trouble with their skin or teeth. Vitamin A also protects our vision and is often referred to as "Retinol" because it produces the pigment in the retina.
Vitamin A is found in animal sources such as milk, eggs, meat, and cheese. You know that I am okay with you drinking milk as long as it is raw and hasn't been pasteurized. The same goes for cheese. And eggs and meat are great sources of vitamin A, as long as they come from healthy animals: cage-free chickens, grass-fed cattle, animals that aren't injected with growth hormones, etc.
When your mom used to tell you to eat your vegetables to grow strong and healthy, she wasn't lying. Carotenoids, the dark-colored pigments found in plant foods, can be converted into vitamin A. There are more than 500 different forms of carotenoids, but the most famous might be beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is actually an antioxidant that helps keep our cells safe from the bad guys: free radicals.
Researchers believe that free radicals may speed up the aging process, and they can also contribute to chronic diseases. Luckily, it has also been shown that the beta-carotene found in food can help reduce our risk of cancer. Dark, leafy greens like spinach and broccoli are full of beta-carotene, as are cantaloupe, carrots, and pumpkin.
Interestingly enough, beta-carotene supplements have not been found to reduce the risk of cancer. No shortcuts here!
The Mayo Clinic suggests we get five servings a day of vitamin A or beta-carotene. Hmmm...I think my family will be having a delicious spinach salad with some lean, grass-fed beef for dinner tonight!
However, the old adage that you can get too much of a good thing is true with vitamins as well. If the skin on the soles of your feet or the palms of your hands begins to turn yellow, you may be getting too much vitamin A! Aim for balance and variety in the foods you eat to make sure you're getting the right amount of all the essential vitamins and nutrients.