When asked to define a superhero, Stan Lee responded “a superhero is one who does heroic deeds and has the ability to do them in a way that a normal person alone couldn’t. So, in order to be a superhero, you need power that is more exceptional than power a normal human being could possess, and you need to use that power to accomplish good”.
Although this might not be the same definition you might come across when you google Vitamin A, it probably should be!
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble (one of four) vitamin and can come in two different forms from the food we eat: retinol and provitamin A carotenoids (this is not detail you need to know on a day-to-day basis!) What you do need to know, is the main colour you should keep your eyes peeled for, is orange/yellow. As a very generalized rule of thumb, the majority of fruit and vegetables that are orange/yellow in colour, are a good source of Vitamin A (i.e this superhero wears an orange/yellow cape!).
Vitamin A has an abundance of reasons why I like to call it a ‘superhero’. The three (of many) powers that I would like to discuss with you today, include:
1) Promotes and supports the functioning of the immune system.
2) Involved in maintaining eye function and promotes good eyesight.
3) Sustaining strength of bones, teeth, muscles, and skin.
This powerful trio, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is extremely crucial for a growing child! In order to support the immune system, Vitamin A carries out various missions, including maintaining the natural defence mechanisms of the body such as the mucous membranes.
These are the barrier walls that prevent bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens from entering our body! Vitamin A is involved in the manufacture of disease fighting cells called the ‘white blood cells’, i.e., the more Vitamin A we consume, the easier it is for our bodies to produce more of these cells to fight infection.
Therefore, the superhero Vitamin A fights off the villains and invaders, by strengthening our immune systems. When it comes to avoiding night blindness or wearing glasses from a young age, Vitamin A is once again our go-to superhero.
This fat-soluble vitamin is involved in the process of converting light into signals that can be interpreted in the brain. Without a sufficient intake of Vitamin A, particularly during childhood, a deficiency of the vitamin can develop, which may cause a slight regression in your 20/20 vision.
If your child wants superhuman vision, eating carrots is no myth… Vitamin A has yet another superpower, and that is promoting bone, muscle, teeth, and skin health. Along with protein, calcium, and vitamin D… Vitamin A has a large role in preventing bone fractures and maintaining bone integrity (as proven by scientific studies).
New studies are also linking sufficient intake of Vitamin A to the reduction of skin issues such as acne. However, these are still ongoing studies, and we are waiting in anticipation for more information!
“A superhero is a one who does heroic deeds and has the ability to do them in a way that a normal person alone couldn’t. So in order to be a superhero, you need power that is more exceptional than any power a normal human being could possess, and you need to use that power to accomplish good”.
Vitamin A truly is a food superhero that has various functionalities in the body with the mission to improve, develop and sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Georgia Burnett (Registered Dietitian, Sweet Paeds) – RD, BScHONS
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