APRIL 2014
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Vitamin A



Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin. Two different types of vitamin A are found in the diet. Preformed vit A (retinol) is found in animal products such as meat, fish, poultry and dairy foods.

Pro-vit A (carotenoids) is found in plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are dark-colored dyes (pigments) found in plant foods that can turn into a form of vit A.

The most common type of pro-vit A is beta-carotene. The carotenes lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin cannot be converted into vitamin A, though they provide other health benefits. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by substances called free radicals. Free radicals are believed to contribute to certain chronic diseases and play a role in the aging processes.

As much as 50 percent of vitamin A in a typical diet is provided by beta-carotene and other carotenoids. Since it is a fat soluble vitamin, eating the following foods with a fat like olive oil or nuts can help absorption.

Food Sources of beta carotene

Bright yellow and orange fruits such as cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, and apricots. Vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and winter squash. Other sources of beta carotene include broccoli,, spinach, methi and most dark green leafy vegetables. Plant-based Vit A sources are smart choices since they are cholesterol free and fat free.

Vitamin A’s role in our body:

Critical for vision as an essential component of rhodopsin, a protein that absorbs light in the retinal receptors.

Vitamin A

A recent study published in Journal of clinical investigation shows first link between prenatal vitamin A deficiency and post-natal asthma. Most people in the United States get enough vitamin A from the foods they eat, and vitamin A deficiency is rare.

The Institute of Medicine’s current recommended intake of vitamin A is 900 micrograms of retinol for men (equivalent to 3,000 IU) and 700 micrograms of retinol for women (equivalent to 2,333 IU). Vitamin A is available in dietary supplements, usually in the form of retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate (preformed vitamin A), beta-carotene (provitamin A), or a combination of preformed and provitamin A. Most multivitamin-mineral supplements contain vitamin

A. Beta-carotene supplements do not seem to reduce cancer risk. Diet rich in variety of vegetables/fruits, fortified dairy products, whole grains provide daily requirement of vit A.

Vit A rich recipe of the month:

Super green parathas stuffed with sweet potatoes and shredded carrots.

For stuffing:

2 medium sized sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup shredded carrot, 1 tbsp chopped onion and 1 tbsp bell pepper, 1 tbsp chopped dill, 1 tsp minced green chillies, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp garam masala.

1½-cup flour, half cup mashed avocado, 1 bunch spinach boiled and pureed. Mash boiled sweet potatoes and mix with sautéed carrots, bell peppers and onion, add fresh chopped dill leaves, green chillies, garam masala, lemon juice. Make small balls of the mixture.

Prepare paratha dough with spinach puree and avocado. Prepare stuffed parathas like aloo paratha.

Enjoy with cucumber raita.

To our health!

Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at [email protected]

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