Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is an antioxidant that is important for eye health, skin growth & repair and the proper function of the immune system. Vitamin A has a significant impact on night vision, hence the saying that eating your carrots helps you to see at night! According to the National Eye Institute, high levels of antioxidants in combination with zinc helps to reduce the risk of age-related macular degenerationby as much as 25%, with vitamin A being one of the biggest contributors.
Many over-the-counter skin and anti-aging creams contain retinol, vitamin A, because of its ability to improve the rate at which skin grows and repairs itself. It does this by sending signals to cells that encourage them to grow more quickly. Vitamin A also helps increase the production of white blood cells, which is a useful boost to the immune system. And the beta-carotene that it contains is able to prevent damage to cells that are caused by harmful free radicals.
This smoothie includes foods that are extremely rich in naturally occurring vitamin A. To make it, first cook the sweet potato until soft, but not burnt; you can do this in an oven or a microwave. Then add all the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth.
By using carrot juice as the liquid ingredient of this smoothie, you get a deliciously sweet and earthy base that really compliments all of the other ingredients. Some of the benefits to consuming carrot juice include better digestion, regulating blood sugar levels and improving both the health of your skin and your liver function. A one cup serving of carrot juice contains around 900% of your daily requirement of vitamin A. You can make your own at home using one of these carrot juicers.
Sweet potato makes this a filling smoothie whilst also providing a huge dose of vitamin A, with a quarter cup of cooked sweet potato providing around 100% of your recommended daily allowance. Some of the health benefits associated with consuming sweet potato include reducing inflammation, regulating blood sugar and increasing levels of antioxidants to fight against damage caused by free radicals.
Kale is a popular health food that is known to contain powerful antioxidants that protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease. The same antioxidants also give kale anti-inflammatory and anti-depressive characteristics. A one cup serving of kale contains around twice the daily requirement of vitamin A, as well as very good amounts of other important vitamins and minerals.
This leafy green vegetable makes a wonderful addition to any smoothie because it adds a nutritional punch whilst leaving the overall taste of the smoothie largely unaffected by its presence – good news for parents of fussy children! A one cup serving of spinach contains about 56% of the daily requirement of vitamin A and good amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Some of the health benefits of consuming it include improved eyesight and reduced risk of macular degeneration; plus it is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.
Pumpkin works incredibly well with the carrot and sweet potato in this recipe to give an earthy, yet sweet taste to the smoothie as well as a good number of vitamins and minerals. One cup of pumpkin puree contains around seven times the daily recommended intake of vitamin A and the health benefits of consuming it include weight management, thanks to the high levels of dietary fibre it contains, lower blood pressure and a better night’s sleep.
Adding frozen fruit to a smoothie gives it a delightfully cold, thick, ice cream-style texture. The frozen cantaloupe in this recipe provides around 120% of the daily requirement of vitamin A per cup and health benefits that include better hydration and digestion, as well as a reduced risk of stroke.
A one cup serving of mango provides around 25% of the daily requirement of vitamin A, as well as good levels of other vitamins and minerals, including dietary fibre which helps you feel satiated for longer. It is thought that the consumption of mangoes also provides a number of health benefits that include a reduced risk of developing asthma and heart disease, as well as better digestion and improvement in symptoms of macular degeneration.
Cantaloupe, kale, carrot juice, pumpkin puree, sweet potato, mango and spinach smoothie
Banana, blackberries, almond milk, blueberries and flax seeds smoothie
Papaya, Greek yogurt, milk, mango, avocado, banana, almonds, almond butter and orange smoothie