Health · Sparkle · Ulcerative Colitis

Healthy Hair: Vitamin A

I have been in so many different hair “seasons” as you might call them. I was an 80’s fro-kid. This was not intentional but my mom thought it was cute & a no fuss hair style so she let it ride for years.
 & years! Thanks mom!
 
I finally took over my hair duties around 6th grade & permed it right up as often as mom could afford it. In junior high & high school, I don’t know that my hair came out of a pony tail because I was always doing something sporty.
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I will continue my hair journey for you when I introduce you to the tantalizing world of Vitamin B12: A vampires dream.
  • Vitamin A is critical for good vision.
  • Plays an important role in healthy bone growth.
  • Vitamin A is essential for reproduction.
  • Plays a role in cell division and cell growth.
  • Supports the immune system.
  • Supports skin health.

When trying to find vitamins in your food that are beneficial to your hair, you can also count on those same vitamins to be important to healthy skin and nail development. A bi-product to so many vitamins is that they benefit multiple areas of health. When you strengthen your hair, your nails and skin are sure to follow.

5 Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms

Deficiency Symptoms include:

  • Eye inflammation (got it)
  • Night Blindness
  • Skin changes (got it)
  • Alimentary tract changes (your digestive juices)
  • Respiratory tract changes

If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. They would be more than happy to help you diagnose deficiencies.

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A little info for you…your daily IU is the international unit use to measure the amount of Vitamin A. According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended amount of Vitamin A daily is as follows:

  • Adult Males: 3000 IU
  • Adult Females: 2300 IU
  • Pregnant Women: 2600 IU
  • Lactating Women: 4300 IU
  • Children 1-3 years old: 1,000 IU
  • Children 4-8 years old: 1,300 IU
  • Children 9-13 years old: 2,000 IU
  • Children 14-18 years old: 2,500 IU

 

The following list includes the foods which contain a high concentration of Vitamin A and the serving size which you need to consume to reach the daily IU’s of that food. The ideal way of consuming would be all at once but look at the serving size. I love carrots but a cup is a little much sometimes so I would usually end up combining carrots and broccoli or a combination that tastes good together to get to my goal.

 

So, onto what you have all been anticipating!!! Food!!!! Dr. Axe is the best place that I have found that puts together a comprehensive list of foods in order from greatest IU’s to least. The best part, you get pictures to go with it. I know, you didn’t need pictures but it just makes it more fun to read.

 

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A charted breakdown of some of the highest Vitamin A foods from BestNaturalFoods.com:

 

Plant Sources of Vitamin A
(as carotenoids)

 Serving

Vitamin A
(IU)

%RDA
Women

%RDA
Men

Sweet potato

1 med.

28,058

1215%

935%

Pumpkin, canned

½ cup

19,065

825%

635%

Carrots, cooked

½ cup

13,418

580%

445%

Spinach, cooked

½ cup

11,458

495%

380%

Collards, cooked

½ cup

9,769

420%

325%

Kale, cooked

½ cup

9,558

415%

320%

Turnip greens, cooked

½ cup

8,828

380%

290%

Winter squash

½ cup

5,353

230%

175%

Red peppers, cooked

½ cup

3,738

160%

125%

Cantaloupe

1 cup

5,411

235%

180%

Lettuce, Green Leaf

1 cup

4,147

180%

135%

Green peas, cooked

1 cup

3,360

145%

110%

Apricots, dried

3

2,022

88%

65%

Butternut squash, cooked

1⁄2 cup

1,900 IU

80%

60%

Broccoli, cooked

½ cup

1,208

52%

40%

 

So, its time to go shopping! If you are mom to little’s, this shopping list will contain foods that your children might eat or might throw across the room, depends on the kid. It’s hit or miss in our house most nights but, you can get an extra serving of your veggies if you have to clean up their plate. Just saying! BTW, I have excluded anything that I wouldn’t eat as well.

 

Shopping List:

  • Carrots (gigantinormous bag)
  • Sweet potato
  • Spinach (I eat atleast 1 salad a day so a big container is necessary)
  • Apricots
  • Broccoli
  • Butter, butter and more butter (My tribute to Paula Deen)
  • Eggs (Note to self, buy chickens someday to save on eggs)
  • Red Peppers
  • Cantaloupe
  • Parsley (grow your own, I did)
  • Asparagus
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil (grow your own)

 

I’m going to throw you for a loop or maybe you already knew this, smarty pants. Any type of animal product through this Healthy Hair series is best from grass fed animals. Why you ask? Grass fed means that the animal was natural, vitamin rich food sources so that they in turn could produce vitamin nutrient products for you.

 

I feel like a good rule of thumb on shopping in the veggie/fruit section is to get one of everything and try it. If you don’t like it, atleast you know now that you need to find another food combination to buy to get to your vitamin expectation. My husband knows that I spend a majority of my shopping time and our money in the fresh fruits and veggie section. He calls me a hippy but I truly believe that your health is affected by everything you put in your mouth.

 

Oh, another tip. If you buy a veggie or fruit over and over again and it goes bad over and over again before you get to eat it, don’t waste your money on it. Choose something else in its place so that its economical and healthy for you.

 

Happy vitamin A consuming and don’t forget to check back for my next installment on the Healthy Hair journey with Healthy Hair: Vitamin B6 & B12.

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