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Vitamin A is a critical player in the health of your eyes, skin, bones and more. Here are five colorful ways to get enough of this important nutrient.
It’s safe to say that vitamin A is a real multi-tasker. Most people know vitamin A for its role in vision, but it also plays a role in the health of your skin, bones and teeth, and it supports reproductive and immune system functions, too.
You can get your vitamin A from both plant and animal sources, but in slightly different forms. Preformed vitamin A, found mostly in animal foods like liver, fish, milk or eggs, is the active form of the vitamin. That means that once it’s absorbed, it’s ready for your body to use.
But you can also turn to all kinds of plant foods for your vitamin A. Many plant foods contain compounds called carotenoids, including beta carotene, lycopene and lutein.
These carotenoids themselves are not active vitamin A, but your body can convert them into the active form of the vitamin whenever the need arises.
Carotenoids contribute orange, red and green colors to plant foods. It’s a pretty safe bet that if a fruit or vegetable has a deep, rich color, it’s likely to be a good source of one of these important compounds that your body can transform into vitamin A.