A guy walks into a doctor’s office with a carrot in his ear and a piece of celery up his nose. The doctor told him he wasn’t eating right. Badum- bum
Last week we looked at vitamin A’s uses and food sources. Although toxicity used to be rare, with the increase in supplements and topical creams that contain vitamin A, there is more of a risk for toxicity than previously thought.
Vitamin A comes from both animal and plant sources. The richest animal sources include organ meats such as turkey giblets and beef liver, but eggs and fortified milk are more common sources for most people. Animal sources contain the true vitamin A which is easily and efficiently converted to its active form in the body. Plant sources contain provitamin A carotenoids which are also converted to active A in the body, but less efficiently. So toxicity from plant sources is unlikely.
Epidemiological studies have shown a positive relationship between dietary carotenoids and a decreased incidence of certain cancers. However, the same benefits have not been found when people with cancer are given beta-carotene supplements. For now, get your carotenoids from foods. The best plant sources of provitamin A alpha- and beta-carotene include canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes, spinach, collards, kale, carrots, beet greens and turnip greens. Beta-cryptoxanthin is found in pumpkin, papaya, peppers, citrus fruit, carrots, corn, peaches and paprika.
For some tasty ways to eat right and get your “A” on, try these recipes.
Salmon & Sweet Potato Cakes
6 oz. sweet potato or yam (approx. 1 medium)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
Split Pea and Pumpkin Soup
2 cups dried split peas cooked with 6 cups water
32 ounces water or homemade vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 (15 oz) cans Organic Pumpkin
4 teaspoons dried tarragon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Jamaican Allspice
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 cup organic milk from grass-fed cows OR non-GMO Soy Mill
Ground nutmeg to garnish
Add split peas and water to a medium sauce pot. Cover with a lid. Bring to boil. Cook until soft. In a large sauce pan on medium heat, add the oil and onions. Sauté until soft. Add the canned pumpkin and stir to heat. Add broth as needed to prevent from sticking. Add the tarragon, cumin, allspice and cinnamon. Add the split peas and any remaining liquid. Add the almond milk and stir to combine ingredients. Puree the soup with a hand blender or use the blender and puree in batches. Bring to a slow boil over medium low heat. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm and garnish with freshly ground nutmeg. Makes 16 cups.