vitamins in food for optimal wellness
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Live Healthy and Eat Well

Throughout history, scientists have discovered that certain foods helped the body to fight off certain diseases. These vitamins are essential for the body to function optimally on a daily basis.

Vitamins are a group of organic molecules that are necessary for an organism to function correctly. These nutrients can not be manufactured within the body in adequate amounts, therefore, will need to be achieved through a diet.

Vitamin A: your fight for better vision

Retinoids and Carotene

Preventable blindness in children is attributed to vitamin A deficiency. An adequate supply is important for pregnant and breastfeeding women, but not in excess.

How it supports the body:

  1. Protects vision and supports eye health 
  2. Supports healthy immune system
  3. Encourages healthy skin
  4. Promotes healthy growth and reproduction
  5. Lower risk of certain cancers

Side effects if taken in extreme dosages:

  1. May turn the skin orange
  2. Nausea, blurred vision, headaches

Great sources for Vitamin A:

  • Sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Liver – beef, chicken
  • Kale, spinach
  • Ghee, cheeses

Vitamin B Complex: the building blocks

The B vitamins group play an important role in your body’s cell metabolism. There are 8 organic chemicals referred to as Vitamin B Complex, each one more known for their B number. These vitamins were once called other vitamins but were found to be very similar in nature.

Vitamin B1: Thiamine

Symptoms of deficiency include weight loss, irritability and confusion. Can be seen in chronic alcoholism.

Sources for Thiamine:

  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Pork,
  • Fruit
  • Yeast

Vitamin B2: Riboflavin

Deficiency is uncommon in developed countries, but can be in the form of a painful red tongue and sore throat. This was originally called Vitamin G.

Best sources for Riboflavin

  • Dairy – milk, cheese
  • Eggs
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Liver, kidney
  • Mushrooms

Vitamin B3: Niacin

Deficiency in sever case can cause pellagra, symptoms include dermatitis, insomnia and mental confusion.

Best sources for Niacin:

  • Seafood like tuna
  • Lean meats like pork, turkey
  • Mushrooms

Vitamin B5: Pantothenic Acid

Deficiency in this vitamin is very rare, though these cases may lead to acne. Can also be seen in people suffering from starvation.

Best sources for Pantothenic Acid:

  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Liver, kidney
  • Egg yolks
  • Sunflower seeds

Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine

Vitamin B6 deficiency may lead to seborrhoeic dermatitis-like symptoms, pink eye or neurological symptoms.

Best sources for Pyridoxine:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Tofu
  • Pistachios
  • Non citrus fruits

Vitamin B7: Biotin

Deficiency with this vitamin may lead to brittle fingernails, hair loss, conjunctivitis, dermatitis and neurological symptoms. Previously known as Vitamin H.

Best sources for Biotin:

  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Yeast
  • Avocado

Vitamin B9: Folate

Symptoms of Vitamin B9 deficiency could lead to diarrhea, confusion, depression, fatigue and poor growth.

Best sources for Folate:

  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Liver

Vitamin B12: Cobalamin

Deficiency in B12 can lead to troubles with fatigue, depression, poor memory, breathlessness and difficulty walking. Cobalamin is important for normal functioning of the nervous system and is not abundant from plant products.

Best sources for Cobalamin:

  • Lean meats
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk

Vitamin C: repair your body

Ascorbic Acid

Deficiency in Vitamin C leads to several enzymes not working properly in the body. Severe cases result in the disease scurvy.

How it supports the body:

  1. Development and repair of body tissues
  2. Aids the absorption of iron
  3. Maintenance of cartilage and bones
  4. Prevents the disease scurvy

Effects at high levels:

  1. Excess is excreted in urine
  2. Rare indigestion, nausea

Best sources for Vitamin C:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Capsicum / Bell peppers
  • Kakadu plum
  • Camu camu

Vitamin D: your fight for stronger bones

Calciferol

Severe Vitamin D deficiency can lead to impaired bone mineralisation resulting in the weakening of bones, causing diseases like osteomalacia and rickets in children.

How it supports the body:

  1. Strong immune system
  2. Helps absorb nutrients in the body
  3. Skin protection and rejuvenation 
  4. Maintaining healthy bones

Effects of too much exposure:

  1. Sunburn, fever, chills, can lead to cancer
  2. Hypercalcemia – a build-up of calcium in the blood

Top sources for Vitamin D:

  • Ultraviolet sunlight
  • Fungi like mushrooms
  • Cooked egg yolk
  • Fish like Salmon, mackerel
  • Liver, beef

Vitamin E: the fight against free radicals

Alpha-Tocopherol

Although vitamin e deficiency is rare in humans, mainly from genetic abnormalities. This may lead to ataxia, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting muscle movements.

How it supports the body:

  1. Supports immune function
  2. Promote eye health
  3. Reduces inflammation
  4. Lowers risk of cancer
  5. Slows the aging process

Effects of high doses:

  1. Can interfere with blood clotting ability

Best sources for Vitamin E:

  • Wheat germ
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts
  • Leafy vegetables – spinach

Vitamin K: helps in healing wounds

Menadione

Deficiency – Although rare, may come in the appearance of excess bleeding from the inability to form blood clots. One sign is if you are easily bruised.

How it supports the body:

  1. Important for blood clotting
  2. Supports wound healing
  3. Helps bone metabolism

Toxicity in high doses:

  1. No known toxicity from natural sources
  2. May cause allergic reaction in rare cases
  3. Synthetic forms may pose danger in high amounts

Best sources for Vitamin K:

  • Leafy vegetables (spinach, kale)
  • Legumes like green beans

Choline:

Technically not a vitamin but is normally classed among them due to its similar properties to the Vitamin B group. This is still an essential nutrient for the body. Severe deficiency can cause muscle damage though it is rare in humans as we tend to get enough of it in our diet.

How it supports the body:

  • Aids in nerve and brain activity
  • Metabolises and transports fats
  • Reduces pregnancy complications
  • Lowers risk of some cancers

Toxicity in high doses:

  • May cause low blood pressure
  • Heavy sweating
  • A fishy body odour

Best sources for Choline

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Peanuts

The alphabet soup of vitamins

While it is important to sustain a healthy supply of vitamins to maintain a strong immune system, taking high doses may lead to detrimental problems. It is important to take the necessary daily amount to stay in optimal health, but not to go overboard.

As you may notice the naming convention for vitamins are jumbled up a bit. This is due to the reclassification of vitamins over time. Some have been discarded for not fitting a Vitamin description, others moved to be included within the B-complex group.

Healthy is your new lifestyle choice

Can you afford to life your life as an unhealthy individual, is the cost of feeling inadequate just too much for you? You are armed with the knowledge and you know what to do?

You can’t put it off any longer, the quality of your life depends on it. Your future, your connections with friends and family, the whole fibre of your being.

While it is important to get your necessary amount of vitamin, for complete wellness, you also require the right minerals in your diet.

It’s time to become serious in your quest to get healthy!

Are you getting enough of the essential vitamins for your lifestyle?

By Johan

2 thought on “Living for Wellness with Vitamins”
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