A healthy diet is one that contains all nutrients and minerals required by the body, in the quantities that the body needs them. Most vitamins have a few important roles they play, and each of them is necessary for us to maintain good health. Vitamin A is commonly known for being beneficial for sight. But recent research shows that vitamin A can also help in burning excess fat.
The research, published in the journal Molecular Metabolism in September 2020, stated that vitamin A levels increase in the body when around cold ambient temperatures. This helps the bad fat tissues (white adipose tissues) convert into the good fat tissues (brown adipose tissues).
During this conversion, there is a lot of fat burning and heat production in the body. Scientists from the MedUni Vienna’s Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism found that when the body of a human or mouse is exposed to the cooler atmosphere, vitamin A helps the body use white adipose tissues to generate energy and heat in the body, thus allowing it to convert into brown adipose tissue.
Scientists believe that these findings may be able to help with the problem of obesity more effectively.
Benefits of vitamin A
Apart from burning extra fat from the body, here are some other health benefits of consuming vitamin A:
1. Elixir for the eyes
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for maintaining healthy eyesight. It is believed that the vitamin helps convert light into electrical signals and send it to the brain, which then processes the image and allows us to see things. Vitamin A is extremely necessary to prevent eye conditions such as night blindness or even age-related macular degeneration.
Night blindness is a condition in which one is able to see during the day but not during the night.
Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in some countries. However, the consumption of vitamin A can help prevent and slow down the process of macular degeneration with age.
The antioxidant property of vitamin A also prevents eye damage that is commonly seen in people over the age of 50 years.
2. Strengthens the immune system
It has been found that vitamin A helps strengthen the body’s immune system by maintaining proper functioning of the mucous barriers present in the eyes, nose and gut. These barriers help prevent the entry of infections into vital organs. Studies have shown that vitamin A can help in the production of white blood cells, which are the primary immune cells that act whenever any foreign pathogens enter the body.
3. Improves bone health
Some studies have revealed that people who have low levels of vitamin A in their body are more prone to fractures. Vitamin A is also considered an essential nutrient for the healthy growth of bones in children.
Sources of vitamin A
Vitamin A is available in two forms. The preformed vitamin A, called retinol is found in animal products while pro-vitamin A is found in the plant-based products. The most popular pro-vitamin A is beta carotene. Beta carotene gets converted into vitamin A as soon as it gets metabolised in the body.
Some sources of preformed vitamin A are:
- Fortified milk
- Organ meat such as liver and kidneys
- Fish oil
Good sources of beta carotene are yellow, red and green leafy vegetables, such as carrots, spinach, bell pepper (yellow, green and red coloured) and sweet potatoes. Some fruits such as mango and papaya also have beta carotene in them.
For more information, read our article on Vitamin A.
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