There are 13 essential vitamins that the body needs to function normally. A vitamin is an organic compound that the human body requires as a nutrient. Vitamins must be obtained from the diet, as the body is unable to produce adequate amounts of them. Your body performs several critical functions such as the formation of hormones, the creation of red blood cells, the production of genetic material, and the production of nervous system chemicals. Vitamins assist with these functions, and our bodies would cease to operate without them and that is why certain vitamins are known as essential vitamins. Read through each description of the list of vitamins below and see what health benefits they might provide for you. ------------ Many people think that if some vitamins are good, a lot is better. This is not always the case, and high doses of certain vitamins are actually toxic. The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods and take a "Standardized" (quality)
FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS Vitamin A is found in milk, cheese, cream, liver, kidney, and cod and halibut fish oils. Because most of these sources are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, vegetable sources of a vitamin A precursor called beta-carotene may be a better choice. Beta-carotene comes from carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, apricots, broccoli, and spinach. The more intense the color of a fruit or vegetable, the higher the beta-carotene content. Vitamin D is found in cheese, butter, margarine, cream, fish, oysters, and fortified milk and cereals. The body can also synthesize vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunshine. Vitamin E is found in wheat germ, corn, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach, asparagus, and other green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, and products made from vegetable oils, such as margarine. Vitamin K is found in cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, soybeans, and cereals. Bacteria in the intestines normally also produce vitamin K. WATER-SOLUBLE VITAMINS Thiamine (vitamin B1) is found in fortified breads, cereals, pasta, whole grains, lean meats, fish, dried beans, peas, and soybeans. Dairy products, fruits, and vegetables contain some thiamine as well. Niacin (vitamin B3) is found in dairy products, poultry, fish, lean meats, nuts, and eggs. Legumes and enriched breads and cereals also supply some niacin. Folate is found in green, leafy vegetables and many foods are now fortified with it as well. Vitamin B12 is found in eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish, and milk and milk products. Pantothenic acid and biotin are found in eggs, fish, dairy products, whole-grain cereals, legumes, yeast, broccoli and other vegetables in the cabbage family, white and sweet potatoes, lean beef, and other foods. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is found in citrus fruits and their juices, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other greens, sweet and white potatoes, and cantaloupe. Most other fruits and vegetables contain some vitamin C; fish and milk contain small amounts.
Vitamin A (fat-soluble vitamin) Benefits:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) - a water-soluble vitamin, Benefits of Vitamin B:
Benefits of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Benefits of Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Benefits of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
Benefits of Vitamin B6
Benefits of Vitamin B12
Vitamin E - antioxidant that protects against the actions of to free radicals, which may damage cells and can lead to the development of Heart disease or Cancer. It helps to form muscles, blood cells, nerve and lung tissue. It is also essential for a strong immune system. It helps the body to properly utilize Vitamin K, a vitamin that is needed for the blood to clot. Good food sources of this vitamin are: nuts, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, wheat germ, vegetable oils, sunflower seeds, mustard greens, and spinach.
Vitamin K - an essential nutrient that the liver needs to form proteins necessary for clotting of the blood, healthy bones and tissues. In the intestines it assists with the conversion of glucose into glycogen, which is then stored in the liver. Good food sources of this vitamin are: dark green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, liver, spinach, green beans, broccoli, and asparagus.
Biotin - needed for cell growth, producing fatty acids, and metabolizing fats and amino acids, healthy hair and skin, nerve tissue, sweat glands, and bone marrow. It is involved in the Kreb's cycle, a process by which energy is released from foods. Of all the essential vitamins, Biotin is the one vitamin where deficiencies are rarely seen as it is commonly added to many foods in developed countries. Good food sources of this vitamin are: tomatoes, carrots, romaine lettuce, almonds, onions, cauliflower, eggs, and cabbage.
Folic Acid Folic acid is an important vitamin for pregnant women, as it is necessary in preventing birth defects in the unborn child. It assists with the production of red blood cells and minimizes the risk of developing Heart disease. It helps with the building and maintenance of DNA and helps the body to create new cells. Good food sources of this vitamin are: fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, liver, peas, and dried beans. People all over the world spend billions of dollars each year for vitamins. Buyers of vitamins may purchase them numerous times each year, with the misguided impression that supplements are necessary for a healthy life. However, don't consider them a replacement for a healthy diet, just consider them extra protection. For most of you, a multivitamin may be all you need. Check with your physician and see what he recommends. Your doctor and pharmacist could become important advisors for your supplemental needs. One last point, you ladies that are pregnant, it is very important that you confer with your physician about which vitamins are best for you.