Food

All That You Wanted To Know About Vitamins

October 6, 2018

Vitamins are essential for good health and overall well-being as they play a crucial role in a number of bodily functions, such as immunity, metabolism, and digestion. While we need them in tiny amounts, their deficiency is linked to serious health outcomes, including increased risk of diseases like scurvy, night blindness, rickets, and pellagra, among others.

If you are wondering why we need these micronutrients or are worried that your family might not be getting them in recommended amounts, this post is just for you.

In this post, we’ll discuss the following:

  • Different types of vitamins

  • Why we need vitamins

  • Food sources rich in vitamins

Different Types of Vitamins

According to our friends from MedAlertHelp, there are 13 vitamins in total, divided into two categories: fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins.

  • Fat-soluble vitamins – The body absorbs these vitamins through fatty tissue. There are four fat-soluble vitamins, namely A, D, E, and K. Our body stores these vitamins in fatty tissue and the liver.

  • Water-soluble vitamins – As the name suggests, these vitamins dissolve in water. Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and C are all water-soluble vitamins. Our body doesn’t store these, except for B12. Instead, it absorbs whatever is needed and flushes out the excess through urine.

Why We Need Vitamins?

Here’s a brief description of the role each vitamin plays in the body.

  • Vitamin A aids immunity function, promotes healthy appetite, fights cell damage, and helps maintain healthy bones

  • Vitamin D helps maintain healthy bones and teeth, besides offering protection against diabetes and cancer

  • Vitamin E helps reduce free radical damage and promote healthy skin

  • Vitamin K helps in wound healing by ensuring blood coagulation and improves bone health

  • Vitamin B7 aids metabolism and fetal growth

  • Vitamin B9 supports healthy fetal development, enhances brain function helps reduce free radical damage, and improves immune function.

  • Vitamin B3 boosts brain function, may help lower cholesterol, and improves skin function

  • Vitamin B5 aids metabolism, promotes heart health, supports liver function, and helps keep skin healthy

  • Vitamin B1 promotes energy production, protects nerves, improves memory, and helps prevent heart diseases

  • Vitamin B2 plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells

  • Vitamin B6 helps maintain brain function and formation of red blood cells

  • Vitamin B12 helps produce red blood cells and supports metabolism

  • Vitamin C promotes oral health, helps maintain healthy tissue, and aids wound healing

Food Sources Rich in Vitamins

The best way to obtain vitamins is by adhering to a well-balanced diet. However, there’s one vitamin that can’t be obtained from food only—Vitamin D. The most natural way to obtain it is by being out in the sun.

Now, let’s see which foods provide which vitamins.

  • Vitamin A – Dark leafy vegetables, dark-colored fruits (like blackberries and apple), egg yolk, fortified milk, and dairy products

  • Vitamin D – Fatty fish (like salmon, tuna, and mackerel), cheese, egg yolks, beef liver

  • Vitamin E – Dark green vegetables, avocado, papaya, mango, oils (sunflower, corn, and safflower), and nuts

  • Vitamin K – Dark green vegetables, cabbage, dark leafy vegetables, cereals, fish, and eggs

  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin) – Egg yolk, milk, nuts, chocolate, cereal, and pork

  • Vitamin B9 (Folate) – Beets, fortified cereals, asparagus and broccoli, green, leafy vegetables, dried beans, peanut butter, and lentils

  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – Eggs, avocado, lean meats, fish, potato, legumes, and poultry

  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) – Eggs, avocado, broccoli and kale, mushrooms, milk, and legumes

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – Eggs, dried milk, lean meats, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and peas

  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – Beef, milk, mushrooms, spinach, pork, fish, and tofu

  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – Banana, avocado, legumes, nuts, meat, whole grains, and poultry

  • Vitamin B12 – Eggs, meat, milk, fortified foods (like soymilk), shellfish, and poultry

  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) – Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes, citrus fruits, and spinach

A healthy diet minimizes the chances of developing the vitamin deficiency. However, certain health conditions (like intestinal or liver disorders), alcoholism, and emotional disorders can make it difficult for the body to properly absorb vitamins, even when your diet is well-balanced. If you or a loved one constantly feels lethargic and suffers from chronic health problems, consult a doctor to rule out vitamin deficiency.

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