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What Does Your RDI Look Like: Vitamin A

I know I'm supposed to be getting a certain amount of Vitamins and Minerals each day - That's what RDI is (formerly known as RDA). It stands for Reference Daily Intake and it represents the suggested daily intake levels for nutrients.

That being said, when it comes to Vitamin A, women should get 700 mcg (micrograms) or 2,310 IU (International Units) a day. This vitamin helps with vision, bone growth, cell growth and repair, and cell division. It aids in regulating the immune system, and makes white blood cells, which help to fight off infections. Vitamin A also helps the skin and mucous membranes function as a barrier to bacteria and viruses. It also speeds up healing when you get cut, and prevents your skin from aging. What a busy little vitamin!

Sounds great, but how can I make sure I'm getting enough? I mean, what does that much Vitamin A look like when it comes to food?

Want to see a chart to help you figure it out? Then

Here's a list of common foods we eat and how much Vitamin A (in IU) they contain. Remember a woman needs 2,310 IU of Vitamin A a day. The amounts may surprise you.

Food Amount Amount of Vitamin A (in IU)
Sweet Potato (baked) 1/2 cup 15,740 (wow!)
Carrot 1 medium 10,255
Acorn Squash 1/2 cup 439
Apple 1 medium 75
Fresh Apricot 1 medium 674
Arugala 1 cup 475
Asparagus (steamed) 6 medium spears 905
Banana 1 medium 76
Beet greens (cooked) 1/2 cup 5,511
Red pepper 1/2 cup 2,333
Yellow Pepper 1/2 cup 150
Broccoli (steamed) 1/2 cup 1,207
Butternut Squash (cooked) 1/2 cup 10,950
Grapefruit 1/2 medium 1,414
Corn on the cob 1 medium ear 146
Kale (steamed) 1/2 cup 8,854
Spinach (raw) 1 cup 2,813
Strawberries (fresh) 1/2 cup 10 (I thought there'd be more)
Plum 1 medium 227
Peach 1 medium 319
Orange 1 medium 295
Watermelon 1/2 cup 438
Zucchini (steamed) 1/2 cup 1,005

Now I can see just where my Vitamin A is coming from. I thought fruits would contain more Vitamin A than green vegetables, but this chart has proven me wrong. It's good to know that it's pretty easy to get your daily amount, just make sure to include lots of green veggies or a carrot once a day and you're good to go.

Fit's Tips: Is it possible to get too much Vitamin A? You bet. Retinol is the direct form of Vitamin A found in multivitamins, cod liver oil, liver, fortified foods, and whole milk products. High doses during pregnancy can cause birth defects and liver toxicity. Excessive amounts can also lead to bone fractures.

The government considers 3,000 mcg (10,000 IU) the maximum amount of vitamin A that you should get from supplements, animal sources, and fortified foods each day. NOTE: Beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A by the body, is not associated with an increased risk of fractures or problems during pregnancy. That means you can eat as much Vitamin A-rich fruits and veggies as you want, but be sure to check food labels and multivitamins to make sure you are not getting an excessive amount of Vitamin A.


Join The Conversation
cageyme cageyme 9 years
It's amazing that you really don't need to eat that many veggies to get more than enough Vitamin A.
JBlondie JBlondie 9 years
I had never really given much thought to getting too much of a vitamin or mineral. Thanks for bringing this up! Mmmm, and look at how many yummy fruits and veggies have your daily amount!!
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