NUTRITION Month will be celebrated the whole month of July. Since I want to be an early bird this year, I am ending June with a series of articles on vitamin-rich foods. This is my effort in making my column somewhat relevant. How I wish I could put 10 smiley emojis here.
The first letter in our vitamin alphabet is A. Since our elementary years in school, we have been told that many foods are rich sources of vitamin A.
LIVER. Enemy No. 1 in the list of vitamin-A rich food is liver. The word alone evokes punishment. It has a gritty texture and a slight bitter taste. Now let us talk about why vitamin A is essential. According to medicalnewstoday.com, vitamin A plays a big role in the immune function and reproduction. It also helps in keeping the skin healthy and smooth.
In my childhood years, my Aunt Tita Blitte would urge me to eat carrots, squash and other yellow-colored food. “It’s good for the eyes. Look, rabbits have bright eyes because they eat a lot of carrots,” she said.
It was only when I got older did I question this logic. Sure, rabbits have bright eyes. But since I had only seen rabbits with red eyes, I wondered why my eyes remained hazel. Here is a small list of A-rich foods.
ROOT CROPS, VEGGIES. Root crops and vegetables with yellow or orange colors are rich in beta carotene, which the body turns into vitamin A. According to medicalnewstoday.com, studies suggest this root crop may protect people against prostate and colon cancer. Even if you are not “preventing anything,” add this food to your diet. It is also rich in fiber, B-6, potassium and vitamin C.
Root vegetables such as carrots can be included to the list of A-rich diet. Mix it in salads, spring roll fillings, cake batter or in sauteed dishes.
GREENS. Green leafy vegetables are your A friends. It is the type of friend that will never leave you helpless. Green leafy vegetables such as alogbati (native spinach), kamunggay (moringa), tangkong (swamp or water spinach) and pechay Tagalog (Chinese chard) will stand by you on a pinch.
Just a little of any of these can add bulk to dishes. They are tasty when cooked with even just one-fourth cup diced meat or ground beef.
THE OTHERS. Other sources of vitamin A are ripe tomatoes, fish, broccoli and all varieties of sweet peppers. In addition, fruits that have yellow color such as mangoes, cantaloupe, pineapples and bananas (lakatan) are naturally sweet sources of vitamin A.