Vitamins are organic compounds needed in small quantities to sustain life. Also known as micronutrients, they are essential for proper body function and overall health. Our body can produce some vitamins, but not in an adequate amount, and therefore we need to get them from foods.
Each vitamin has a specific purpose and its deficiency can impair body’s ability to protect and heal itself. Therefore, we need to eat a varied diet that contains all vitamins.
There are 13 recognised vitamins:
Vitamin A (Retinol) is good for growth, eyesight, taste and appetite. It can be found in sweet potato, broccoli, carrots, kale, collard greens, spinach, eggs, melon, cod liver oil and liver.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is essential for heart, digestion, nervous system and muscles. Good sources include oranges, potatoes, cauliflower, kale, asparagus, whole grain rye, brown rice, sunflower seeds, cereal grains, yeast port, eggs and liver.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is beneficial for hair, skin, nails, eyesight, growth, the breakdown of protein and sensitive tongue and lips. Foods rich in Vitamin B2 are green beans, bananas, cottage, asparagus, fish, meat, yogurt, milk and cheese.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) has a wide range of wide range of uses in the body, helping functions in the nervous and digestive system and skin. Good sources include asparagus, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, leafy vegetables, tomatoes, avocados, eggs, milk, whole grain, nut, mushrooms and legumes.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) boosts immunity, reduces signs of ageing, stimulate physical growth and helps alleviate conditions like stress, allergies, asthma and hair loss. It can be found in avocados, broccoli, whole grains, meats, fish ovaries and royal jelly.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) helps the body absorb carbohydrates and proteins, prevents nerve problems and skin conditions. Vegetables, whole grains, nuts, bananas and meats are all good sources of vitamin B6.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin) helps with tissue maintenance, metabolism, healthy skin, heart problems, weight loss and many other issues. Good sources include liver, egg yolk and some vegetables.
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) prevents cancer, stroke, heart disorders and birth defects during pregnancy. It can be found in sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, liver, legumes and baker’s yeast.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) helps produce red blood cells and help make DNA in all cells. Foods rich in Vitamin B12 include dairy products, eggs, milk, meat, poultry and fish.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) helps the immune defense system, protects us from viruses and bacteria, helps heal wounds, reduces cholesterol and prevent scurvy. It can be found in fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis and keeps teeth and bones strong. During sun exposure, our body is capable of producing vitamin D, but it can be also found in mushrooms, beef liver, eggs and fatty fish.
Vitamin E (Rocopherol) is a powerful antioxidant that fights toxins. Leafy green vegetables, kiwi, whole grains, nuts, almonds, eggs and milk all contain vitamin E.
Vitamin K plays an important role in bone and heart health. Foods rich in Vitamin K include kiwi, avocado, leafy green vegetables and parsley.
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