The modern lifestyle that we all seem to be living is high traffic and fast paced. We are rarely even in one place long enough to consider having a meal there – and we all choose fast food time and time again, even although we know that it is doing more harm to our bodies than good. A healthy immune system starts with a healthy, well-balanced diet; something which we should all be striving for no matter how busy it gets.
So what sort of things constitute a well-balanced diet then? What sort of foods should we be eating in order to maximize the potential energy output of our own bodies? The importance of getting a well-balanced diet can be stressed by the presence (or lack of) vitamins and minerals, as well as other nutritional value in the food. One of these vitamins is Vitamin A and getting more of it in your diet might be just the thing you need to perk you up!
So what is Vitamin A exactly and why do we need it? Let's take a closer look at it and what it does before we examine some healthy snack foods that could be great potential sources of Vitamin A for you!
Vitamin A is one of a number of vitamins that help to secure the healthy functioning of the heart, liver, and lungs. It is also the predominant Vitamin used in the reproductive cycle, so women seeking to get pregnant require more of it than other adults. It is important to get enough of this vitamin as it directly affects your eyesight and your immune system, making it vital for normal healthy bodies!
There are actually two different types of Vitamin A: Preformed Vitamin A and Provitamin A. The first is found in meats and poultry and is generally considered to be the less healthy form. This is because eating lots of meat can be bad for your cholesterol level, among other things. Provitamin A is the type that we want to increase. It is found in fruits and vegetables but is notably present in high quantities in nuts and dried fruit. So if you want to start snacking healthily then this is a great place to begin!
Infants, pregnant women and people who already suffer from Cystic Fibrosis are particularly prone to have a lack of Vitamin A in their bodies. This will result in repetitive infections as the immune system loses its ability to fight back, nausea and constipation. Likewise, having too high a level of this Vitamin in your blood will leave you at risk of coma, sickness and even death.
Since we have established that Vitamin A is an important part of our diet, let's take a closer look at some of the healthy snack foods we could be eating which might boost our intake!
As well as being a tasty and sweet treat, a dried Apricot contains huge amounts of Potassium and huge amounts of Vitamin A, making them a double-whammy of goodness! In fact, this low-calorie goody has more than 70% of your Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin A – and it is the Provitamin kind. Along with Iron, Calcium, Magnesium and a little Vitamin C; dried Apricots are just chock-full of nutrients. If you want a sweet treat, this may be the one for you!
The second of sticky sweet snacks on our list, the Prune contains all natural sugars and has very little calories to it. A 100g portion will get you 17% of your RDA of Vitamin A – but it contains all sorts of other nutrients too that make them a well-balanced snack all on their own. They are high in dietary fiber (which is what they are known for) but also contain a lot of Potassium, some Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. The only thing that Prunes don't have is a high protein level.
Not only are dried Peaches low in saturated fat, calories, and sodium; they are also fairly high in Vitamin A, providing 69% of the RDA. It is also a great source of B vitamins such as Niacin and contains Vitamins C, E, and K in reasonable quantities. Not only is it low fat and low in cholesterol – it also contains a full range of minerals that the body needs to be healthy. When it comes to dried peaches, too much is never enough to boost your balanced diet.
Of all the nuts bar Ginkgo nuts (which are rare and expensive) Pistachio's contain the most Vitamin A at 8% of your RDA. They are also one of the lowest fat nuts and belongs to the same family as the Cashew. The Pistachio is exceedingly high in Omega 6, has hardly any salt in it in its raw form and provides you with 40% of your daily allowance of dietary fiber. Pretty super for such a little nut.
Next to Pistachios, Pecan nuts contain Vitamin A – although it isn't in very high levels. However, with no sodium, only a tiny amount of all-natural sugar, Iron, Magnesium, and Calcium as standard in every one, we thought they were worth an honorable mention!
So if you are feeling a little more inspired and are confident that you can obtain a healthy, balanced diet through snacking – just like you always wanted – then it is time to take the next step and start altering your diet. It starts now, with a few tiny changes to the way that you snack.
For the best range of nuts and dried fruit that makes an excellent choice for a healthy snack, try L'Orenta Gourmet nuts and snacks. They take the essentially super-healthy nuts and fruits and add premium ingredients that make for a refined taste that pleases most palates. Shop now to try the best in healthy snack food that the market has to offer. We can absolutely guarantee that you won't be disappointed!