Fall Foods High in Vitamin A

As the weather changes and we begin to move into fall, it is always a good time to look at how our nutritional changes can support our overall health and wellness. Fall and winter are notorious for colds and flus and right now, I am sure many of us are focused on how to support ourselves nutritionally through the colder months.

That’s where vitamin A can come in! This vitamin is critical for maintaining your body’s natural defenses.

These defenses include the mucous barriers in your eyes, lungs, gut, and genitals which are designed to help trap bacteria and other infectious agents.

Vitamin A is also involved in the production and function of white blood cells, their job is to help capture and clear bacteria and other pathogens from your bloodstream.

This means that when you are deficient in vitamin A, that can increase your susceptibility to infections or delay your recovery when you do get sick. (1, 2)

In countries where infections like measles and malaria are common, addressing vitamin A deficiency in children has been shown to decrease the mortality risk of these diseases. (3)

But first, let’s back up a little and discuss some basics about vitamin A. 

Vitamin A (retinol) is a fat-soluble vitamin that is converted from carotenes, the most popular being beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is pigment found in produce that gives it its red-orange and yellow color. For more on the corresponding colors and nutritional value of produce see my article on Using Rainbows to Teach Good Nutrition.

Therefore, beta carotene rich foods are considered “provitamin A” foods, as the beta carotene converts to vitamin A. Fats and oils along with your consumption of provitamin A foods improves the conversion to vitamin A. So adding some salad dressing, butter (if you’re not dairy-free), or other oil to your vegetables has a great purpose beyond just great taste!

Animals make vitamin A so foods such as liver, egg yolks, and salmon are rich in vitamin A.

So which fall foods are highest in vitamin A?

  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables
  • Broccoli

I try to work these foods into our weekly menu. Roasted fall vegetables are easy and delicious and can go with virtually any protein. Check out my Candied Ginger Spaghetti Squash recipe if you need an easy and delicious recipe. Additionally, Pumpkin muffins with reduced sugar or stevia can be a wonderful way to get some nutrition into smaller children. And sweet potatoes are another great option, roasted, cut into fries, or even mashed, they are delicious ways to boost these high vitamin A foods.

Fall is the perfect time to boost these nutrient-dense foods and really enjoy the warming flavors so prevalent in this season. Share with me some of your favorite fall foods!

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6496388/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11375434/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4832596/

Hi, I’m Julie Matthews, a Certified Nutrition Consultant, Author, and Published Researcher. I teach parents and practitioners that children with autism, ADHD, and related disorders can improve and heal, and that there’s hope for their children. Then I educate and empower them to make strategic dietary changes that positively affect children’s health, which in turn helps their learning and behavior. With 18 years of experience and my unique range of knowledge, from nutrition research and clinical experience to cooking in the kitchen for my own family, I’ve created a much-needed community for parents and practitioners looking to help children with autism live happy, healthy lives. Join us.

Join the Nourishing Hope email list to get the latest news, articles, tips, recipes, and FREE access to my 12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior
 

2 responses to “Fall Foods High in Vitamin A”

  1. Melissa O says:

    Hi Julie,
    Our family enjoys eating roasted broccoli drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. My kids love it still tender-crisp with a little crunch to it.

  2. Terri Hirning says:

    Yum! Sounds delicious, thank you for sharing!