Vitamins: What We Need To Know!

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Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients required by our body to work properly. These Vitamins and minerals are available in different foods. Supplements are also available to overcome any deficiency.

Vitamins can be classified into two types:

Fat Soluble Vitamins: (A, D, E, K)

Fat soluble vitamins are found in

  • animal fats
  • vegetable oils
  • dairy foods
  • liver
  • oily fish

We don’t need these foods on daily basis, as every time we eat these foods our body stores these vitamins in liver and fat tissue for future use.

Vitamin A:

Vitamin A, also known as Retinol has several important functions in our body.

  • It helps our Immune System to fight infections
  • It helps our vision in dim light
  • It helps our skin healthy

Major sources of Vitamin A include:

  • cheese
  • eggs
  • oily fish
  • fortified low-fat spreads
  • milk and yoghurt

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is very important to important the amount of Calcium and Phosphate in our body. It plays a significant role in bone, teeth, and muscle health.

Major sources of Vitamin D include:

Our skin makes Vitamin D from sunlight. It is also found in different foods.

  • oily fish – such as salmon, herring and mackerel
  • red meat and offal – such as liver and kidney
  • egg yolks
  • fortified cereals, soya products and spreads

Vitamin E:

It is a powerful antioxidant that helps to:

  • repair damaged cells and protect them from free-radicals
  • keep our skin and eyes healthy
  • strengthen our immune system

Major sources of vitamin E include:

  • plant-based oils – such as olive and rapeseed
  • nuts and seeds
  • cereals and cereal products

Vitamin K:

Vitamin K is important for blood clotting, an essential part of healing. It also plays an important role for healthy bones.

Major sources of vitamin E include:

  • green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli and spinach
  • plant-based oils
  • nuts and seeds
  • meat
  • dairy products
  • soya beans

Water Soluble Vitamins: (C, B, Folic Acid)

They’re found in:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • grains
  • dairy foods

As our body cannot store these vitamins, so we need to consume these vitamins more often. Our body gets rid of any excess when we pass urine.

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. It helps to:

  • protect and keep cells healthy
  • maintain healthy connective tissue
  • heal wounds

Major Sources of Vitamin C Includes:

  • citrus fruit – including oranges and grapefruit
  • red and green peppers
  • potatoes
  • strawberries, blueberries and blackberries
  • green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli and brussels sprouts

Vitamin B1 (thiamin):

Vitamin B1 is also known as Thiamin. It works other B vitamins to break down and release energy from food, which helps to keep our nervous system healthy.

Major Sources of Vitamin B1:

  • meat and fish – such as pork and trout
  • vegetables – such as peas, asparagus and squash
  • fresh and dried fruit
  • eggs
  • wholegrain breads
  • some fortified breakfast cereal

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin):

Vitamin B2 is also known as Riboflavin. It plays an important role to keep our skin, eyes and nervous system healthy. It also works with other B Vitamins and release energy from the food you eat.

Major Sources of Vitamin B2 Include:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • rice

Vitamin B3 (niacin):

Vitamin B3 is also known as Niacin. It also helps to release energy from the foods we eat and keep our skin and nervous system healthy.

Major Sources of Vitamin B3 include:

  • meat
  • fish
  • wheat flour
  • eggs
  • milk

Pantothenic Acid:

Pantothenic acid plays an important role to release energy from the food we eat.

Major Sources of Pantothenic Acid include:

  • potatoes
  • tomatoes and broccoli
  • kidney
  • eggs
  • wholegrains – such as brown rice and wholemeal bread
  • porridge

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine):

Vitamin B6 is also known as Pyridoxine. It helps our body to:

  • use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in food
  • form the haemoglobin (Hb) that carries oxygen around the body in your blood

Major Sources of Vitamin B6 include:

  • lean meat – such as chicken or turkey
  • fish
  • whole cereals – such as oatmeal, brown rice and wholegrain bread
  • eggs
  • vegetables
  • soya beans
  • peanuts
  • milk
  • potatoes

Vitamin B7 (Biotin):

Vitamin B7 is also known as Biotin. It is only needed in small amounts. It helps your body to metabolise fat.

The bacteria in our bowel make biotin, so we may not need any additional biotin from our diet. However, it’s still important to eat a varied, healthy and nutritious diet.

Vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 helps our body to,

  • make red blood cells and keep the nervous system healthy
  • release energy from the food we eat
  • process folic acid

Major Sources of Vitamin B12 include:

  • meat
  • fish – such as salmon and cod
  • shellfish
  • dairy foods
  • eggs
  • some fortified breakfast cereals

Vitamin B12 is not found naturally in vegetarian food. So if you’re vegetarian, you should take a vitamin B-Complex supplement to reduce the risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia.

Folic Acid:

Folic acid along with vitamin B12 works to form healthy red blood cells.

It also helps to lower the risk of central nervous system defects – such as spina bifida – in unborn babies.

Major Sources of Folic Acid include:

  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • liver
  • spinach
  • asparagus
  • peas
  • chickpeas
  • fortified breakfast cereals

If we don’t have enough folic acid in our diet, we are at risk of developing folic acid deficiency anemia.

 

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