An Australian study has found the vitamin A in grapes, peaches and coconut has the best nutritional value of any of the nut varieties tested.
The study, which analysed the nutritional profile of over 100 varieties of nuts, found that the highest concentration of vitamin A is found in grapes and peaches.
Vitamin A, which is vital for brain development, heart health and skin health, is vital to the body’s production of beta-carotene, the pigment responsible for pigmentation.
The researchers analysed nutritional data from the nut-producing fields of Australia and around the world and used it to calculate the nutritional value for each variety.
They found that grape nuts had the highest level of vitamin a in the study, with around 50% of the vitamin being found in the pulp.
But the vitamin in grapes is also found in peaches, almonds and coconut.
Researchers from the University of New South Wales say this high concentration of vitamins is important because it helps to prevent vitamin A deficiency.
“Vitamin-A deficiency is associated with a range of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers, including breast cancer,” said Dr Rebecca Kneebone.
“A diet rich in fruits, nuts and other plant-based foods is thought to be one of the best ways to reduce vitamin A levels in the body.”
Dr Kneeybone said it was not known whether vitamin A was needed for normal growth, or whether a higher level was required for normal development.
“But it is important to understand that the average adult needs about 50-60 micromoles of vitamin-A per day, so if you have an extra 20 micromole per day in the diet, that’s the equivalent of more than 500 milligrams of vitamin C,” she said.
“So a 20-fold increase in vitamin-C intake would have a beneficial effect in terms of prevention of vitamin deficiency.”
Researchers from Newcastle University also found a high level of alpha-tocopherol in coconut.
The team analysed the vitamin content of more 100 varieties and found coconut had the lowest levels of beta carotene.
“Although beta carob is thought by many to be a protective factor against cancer, a review by the World Cancer Research Fund in 2007 found that a high intake of beta, the form of betacarotenoids, is associated to a higher risk of colorectal cancer,” Dr Kneewone said.
Vitamins A, C and E are essential for the body to manufacture Vitamin A.
They are essential because the body does not make them itself.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) recommends that a person consume up to 50 mg per day of vitamin E, 25 mg of vitamin D and a minimum of 1,000 micrograms of vitamin B12.
“The AIHW recommends people consume 1,400 mg of beta Carotene per day as well as 1,500 microgram per day from beta-Carotene supplements,” Dr Keewone explained.
“There are many different forms of beta carsotene in the food we eat, and it is thought that a good source of beta is from fruit, such as grapes, as well a good quality vegetable such as cabbage.”
“Vitamers of vitamin and mineral content can be found in some of the foods we eat and in foods we grow, such to broccoli or kale,” she added.
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