A recent study examined the importance of vitamin A sources. While fruits and vegetables do not contain preformed vitamin A, they’re packed with compounds that the body converts to this essential nutrient. Findings published in the medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine link the pro-vitamin A compound alpha-carotene to lower risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Researchers from UCLA and the Centers for Disease Control looked at blood concentrations of alpha-carotene and risk of death over nearly 14 years in more than 15,000 adults. Foods rich in alpha-carotene include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, broccoli, green beans, green peas, spinach, turnip greens, and collards. Supplements don’t usually contain alpha-carotene, and preformed vitamin A from animal foods doesn’t have the same health benefits as the pro-vitamins found in plants. The findings reveal that getting vitamin A from fruits and vegetables is best for health.
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