The Importance of Vitamins
The Importance of Vitamins can't be overemphasized. According to the National Institute of Aging, your body needs two types of nutrients in order to survive and stay healthy. These nutrients are called vitamins and minerals, the former of which we will be talking about today. There are 13 vitamins and they all help your body grow and work the way it should with their individual different jobs. Whether they be there to resist infection, keep nerves healthy, convert energy, or clot blood, vitamins are the key to keeping a healthy functioning body.
There are 13 different types of vitamins and minerals: vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate. Your body needs varying quantities of each vitamin, more of some and less of others, but as long as you have a varied diet, you can get most of these vitamins and minerals. The vitamins can be found naturally in food groups, so as long as your diet is varied with seafood and other vitamin-rich foods listed below, your body should be appropriately vitamin-rich and you will not have to make any changes. "Importance of Vitamins"
However, if your diet does not contain the foods with the vitamins your body needs, there are such things as vitamin supplements. Vitamin supplements are great when recommended by a doctor or dietician, but getting vitamins naturally from food is better because of the other healthy things that are in the food like fiber. So if you are worried about not getting enough of a certain vitamin, see your dietician or doctor and like them, if you are missing out on any vital vitamins and they might recommend a supplement.
Reading labels is important. Believe it or not, there is such thing as too many vitamins, so avoid supplements with megadoses of vitamins, because you could be paying for supplements you don’t need and, more importantly, because it can be harmful to your health, even toxic. For example, sodium is an important mineral and it is a staple in the American diet. And you’ve read many other sources that read of the dangers of excessive sodium. It could lead to high blood pressure, or even a heart attack and stroke. (End NIH NIA)
The important thing to about vitamins though is to know about them and understand them, what they do, and where they come from. So, to start, there are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble, A, D, E, and K; and water-soluble vitamins, the rest of the vitamins. The water-soluble vitamins usually leave the body through urine and must be consumed on a regular basis.
Overall, vitamins should be consumed on a regular basis, lest you suffer from vitamin deficiency which can lead to things like increased risk for heart disease, cancer, poor bone health, and other health problems. So, eating enough fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, fortified dairy foods can lower this risk.
Here’s a lowdown of the vitamins, where they come from, what they do, and how you can get them to improve your overall health.
- Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes from dark fruits and leafy vegetables, egg yolks, fortified dairy products like cheese, and meat life liver, beef and fish. Its job is to keep teeth bones, soft tissue, mucous membranes and skin healthy.
- Thiamine or B1, is a water-soluble vitamin that comes from some weird foods like organ meats, legumes (dried beans), dried milk, eggs, enriched bread and flour, peas, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. That may sound strange, but this vitamin plays a vital role in helping body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. And they are important for heart function and healthy nerve cells.
- Riboflavin or B2 is a water-soluble vitamin which can be found in eggs, green vegetables, dairy products, mean, mushrooms, and almonds. It is a team player with the other B vitamins and aids in the growth and production of red blood cells.
- Niacin/B3 is a vitamin that helps maintain skin and nerves with the bonus perk of cholesterol-lowering effects and is found in foods like liver, various meat and poultry, various fish products like anchovies and salmon, whole wheat, and peanuts.
- Pantohenic acid or B5, creates hormones and cholesterol and plays an important part in the metabolism of food. It can be found in organ meats, mushrooms, whole-grains, potatoes, and heart healthy favorites like broccoli, kale, cabbage, and avocados.
- The B6 vitamin is a water-soluble vitamin that comes from legumes, meats, poultry, nuts, whole grains, bananas, and everyone’s favorite: avocados. Also called pyridoxine, it makes red blood cells and maintain brain function, including the many chemical reactions that occur in the body. "Importance of Vitamins"
- Biotin is B7 and it is also an important player in the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates and creation of hormones and cholesterol, only these can be found in foods like yeast, legumes, egg yolks, cereal, and chocolate.
- Folate or B9 is a water-soluble vitamin that works closely with B12 to make red blood cells, plays an important part in the production of DNA, and is found in asparagus, broccoli, beats, legumes, leafy greens, oranges, and peanut butter, to name a few.
- B12 is important for metabolism, creation of blood cells, and maintenance of the central nervous system, just like B9. The difference is, this vitamin is found in meats and poultry, soymilk, and shellfish. "Importance of Vitamins"
- Vitamin C is the last of the water-soluble vitamins and is found in your kids’ least favorite foods like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach,and tomatoes. But they are also found in more kid-friendly foods like citrus fruits and strawberries, so there is no excuse to not get your family their daily dose of Vitamin C. It is especially important because this vitamin, also called ascorbic acid, promotes healthy teeth and gums, absorbs iron, maintains healthy tissues, and is vital for wound healing. Your kids may not love it, but their bodies will.
- Vitamin D is found in the sun. Not eating it, but being in it for about 15 minutes 3 times a week helps the body absorb calcium in order to have healthy teeth and bones. It can also be found in food, though in many cases, it is difficult to get the recommended amount through food alone. These foods include fish liver oils, fortified cereals, and fortified milk and dairy products.
- Vitamine E, also known as tocopherol, is an antioxidant found in dark green veggies, margarine, oils, papayas, mangos, seeds, nuts, and avocados. They help the body form red blood cells and use Vitamin K which is…
- Vitamin K’s job is to coagulate blood and make it stick together, which is vital to say the least. It can be found in cabbage, cauliflower, cereals, dark green and dark leafy vegetables and fish, liver, beef, and eggs. "Importance of Vitamins"
For recommended amounts of these vitamins per day, see this chart by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If you are interested in learning more about how you can improve your health by adding vitamins to your diet, see the other information we have left below this article.
Author Bio : Saif works for OnCallCentral which is a medical answering service for doctors and physicians. He loves to write on health topics & medicines.
For More Information on Vitamins and Minerals
The National Institutes of Health
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health