Even though some of the best sources for vitamin A are animal products, there are plenty of good vegan sources as well.
A significant vitamin A deficiency is rare in first world countries. But they are serious, as a deficiency increases the risk and severity of infections, and vitamin A is needed for important jobs like maintaining your corneas.
Before you go out and eat 100 vitamin A supplement pills, beware that since vitamin A is fat-soluble, it can be stored and accumulated in your body. It’s actually possible to get too much vitamin A, which can lead to nausea, dizziness, headaches, and extreme cases comas or death.
The good news is that it’s very hard to get a dangerous level of vitamin A just from food. It typically only happens if you overuse supplements.
How Much Vitamin A Do You Need?
The recommended amount of vitamin A for adults is 900 µg for men, and 700 µg for women.
This is very easy to get if you eat your vegetables, as you’ll see in a second.
The Best Vegan Sources of Vitamin A Per Serving
The data in this table is for a typical serving of each food, and comes from the USDA (so it’s accurate).
I compiled data for over 120 whole foods, and these were the top 30 for vitamin A.
|Food||Serving||Energy (kcal)||Vitamin A (µg)|
|Swiss chard||10 leafs||91||1469|
|Sweet potato||1 potato||112||922|
|Lettuce (red leaf)||0.5 head||20||579|
|Turnip greens||1 cup||18||318|
|Red bell pepper||1 large||43||257|
|Water spinach||1 cup||11||176|
|Cantaloupe||1/8 of melon||35||172|
|Bok choy||1 cup||9||156|
|Mustard greens||1 cup||15||85|
|Brussels sprouts||1 cup||56||61|
|Green bell pepper||1 large||33||30|
Vitamin A is all about the vegetables, with a few fruits thrown in there.
The Best Types of Plant-Based Foods for Vitamin A
Planning around a specific food isn’t always convenient, so it can be better to generalize which types of foods are best for vitamin A.
From the table above, certain food groups stand out as the best:
- Leafy greens – Leafy greens like spinach, swiss chard, and red leaf lettuce all have a ton of vitamin A. You can meet your RDA with one or two servings of them alone.
- Root vegetables – Other vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots also have a lot of vitamin A.
- Certain fruits – Fruits aren’t great for vitamin A, but there are some fruits that have a good amount like mangoes, cantaloupe, and apricots. Depending on where you live, you may not have access to those year-round.
Basically, as long as you incorporate a typical serving or two of a leafy green into your meals every day or two, you shouldn’t have any issues getting a healthy amount of vitamin A.
But if you can’t do that for some reason, consider getting either a vegan multivitamin that contains vitamin A, or specifically a vitamin A supplement.