A Guide to Vitamins

A Guide to Vitamins

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Food Facts » A Guide to Vitamins

What are they and what do they do?

Vitamins are found in meat and plant foods. Essentially, they promote biochemical processes in our bodies that keep them functioning efficiently. They are instrumental in promoting growth and vitality. They also play a part in a healthy metabolism and protecting us from disease. Should you take vitamin supplements? If you are a normal healthy person eating a good varied diet, usually there is no need to take extra vitamins. In most cases, vitamins that are surplus to requirements, just go in one end and out the other.Vitamin A is essential for repair and growth of the body, it also protects against disease by maintaining healthy mucus membranes in the lungs, throat, nose and mouth.

It can be found in liver, fish-liver oils, egg yolks, milk and dairy products, margarine, most fruit and vegetablesVitamin B1 (Thiamine) promotes a healthy nervous system, heart and muscles. It also helps the body cope with stress and trauma as well as being instrumental in breaking down carbohydrates into energy.It can be found in Wheatgerm, bran, whole-grain, enriched cereal, wholemeal bread, brown rice, pasta, lean meat particularly pork, fish, dried beans.Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) also helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates. Additionally growth and red cell production are facilitated by this vitamin.It can be found in lean meat, leafy green vegetables, dairy products, eggs, nuts, enriched cereal and bread.Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is instrumental in the smooth running of the digestive system, nerves and skin.It can be found in lean meat, nuts, dairy products and eggs. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) - this substance is essential for metabolising proteins, fats and carbohydrates as well as helping the body use other vitamins. Additionally, it is instrumental in building cells and antibodies.It can be found in dairy products, eggs, yeast, broccoli, cabbage and similar vegetables.Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) helps in the normal functioning of the nervous system, it is instrumental in breaking down amino acids and metabolising proteins, fats and carbohydrates.It can be found in nuts, whole grains, beans, meat, fish and eggs.Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) is important in early to pregnancy to prevent malformations of the foetus like spina bifida. It is important for tissue growth.It can be found in citrus fruits, beans, wheatbran, green leafy vegetables, poultry and liver.Vitamin B12 is instrumental in the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of the nervous system.It can be found in eggs, dairy products, meat and poultry.Vitamin C, probably the most common vitamin supplement, it is important in resistance to disease including the common cold. It also is instrumental in healing wounds, the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums.It can be found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, green vegetables, potatoes, peppers, strawberries and blackcurrents.Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It can be found in dairy products, oily fish, eggs. The principal source is sunshine. Less than an hour of sunshine spread over a week provides enough Vitamin D for the average person''s needs.Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and is important for the formation of red blood cells.It can be found in nuts, meat, green leafy vegetables, cereals, wheatgerm, eggs, seeds, olives, oils like soybean and sunflower.Vitamin K is instrumental in blood clotting for the healing of wounds.It can be found in green leafy vegetables, cereals and soybean.Copyright © 2002 by Carol Fisher

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