The human body has the ability to produce many things by itself except vitamins that are essential for good health and long life. One’s food intake determines the kind and amount of vitamins which goes in and utilized by the body.
The good supply of these essential minerals should therefore be maintained to attain the full potential of the body. This has to be maintained even by people who are on a diet.
The word vitamin is coined from two words “vital” and “minerals”. These vitamins are very important to the proper functions of the body. Vitamins are generally grouped into 6 kinds- vitamin A, B, C, D, E and K. Each vitamin has vital role to play but they all compose the things that the body needs. These 6 groups of vitamins can be further classified into two kinds.
It could either be water soluble vitamins or fat soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins are those vitamins that can be stocked in the fat depots of the body and liver for 8 months or more for future use. Examples of this kind of vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K. On the other hand, water soluble vitamins are those that cannot be kept within the body.
This fact makes it necessary for the body to take this kind of vitamins regularly through the food intake or medical supplements. When the person eats, the vitamins coming from the food are dissolved and are transmitted to the different parts of the body through the blood for about two days. The excess are released from the body through urine. Included in this group are vitamins C and B.
Vitamin A is one of the fat soluble vitamins. Scientifically known as retinol, this vitamin has found its importance in sharpening the sense of sight and night vision. Aside from this, vitamin A is also good for the skin and is said to enhance male fertility. For those who are frequently sick, vitamin A is also good in strengthening the immune system.
Vitamin A is abundant in animal products such as liver and fish. A person can also avail of Vitamin A if he eats eggs and other dairy products like butter. Regular intake of milk is advised. It is also said to be present in a number of fruits and vegetables especially those with dark and orange colours. Carrots, spinach, cabbage, apricots and potatoes are just a few of the excellent sources of vitamin A that are actually available in the neighbourhood.
Unlike other vitamins, vitamin B is not composed of only one vitamin. It consists of eight different vitamins which can be found in the same source hence they are classified together as one. The vitamin B group is consists of the following: Vitamin B1 or Thiamine/thiamine, Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin, Vitamin B3 or Niacin/nicotinic acid/ niacinamide, Vitamin B5 or Pantohenic acid, Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine/Pyridoxamine, Vitamin B7 or Biotin (also known as Vitamin H), Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid/Folacin (also known as Vitamin M) and Vitamin B12 or Pyridoxine/Pyridoxamine.
All of these B vitamins are water soluble therefore must be taken by the body regularly. Although these B vitamins are separate and distinct from each other but it looks like they are working as a team in providing the essential needs for the body.
B vitamins are proven to boost the metabolism. It also helps in the growth of cells particularly the red blood cells which transmit oxygen in the blood. Furthermore, it contributes to the improvement of the immune system and nervous system and is medically accepted to ease stress and depression that could lead to more serious psychological problems. Poultry, fish, liver, potatoes, bananas, chilli, lettuce, oranges, peas, beans and milk are examples of excellent source of vitamin B.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid like B vitamins is a water soluble vitamin. It is known to strengthen the immune system and is excellent in fighting bacteria that causes infections. Working with iron, vitamin C is very important in the production of vital amino acids in the human body.
It also promotes in the production of the adrenalin in the nervous system. Other benefits taken from vitamin C is that it lowers the probability of developing cancer, diseases relating to the heart, and it eases the symptoms of a cold. Lack of vitamin C could lead to many sicknesses such as scurvy. Years ago, people working in the seas were the common sufferer of scurvy. This is due to the fact that they spent too long in seas without enough supply of vitamin C rich vegetables and fruits.
It must be remember though that cooking food will destroy vitamin C. It is therefore advisable to eat raw vegetable and fruits. Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, berries, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, plums, kiwis, pineapple, broccoli, spinach and other green leafy vegetables.
The human skin is interestingly capable of producing vitamin D when the light of the sun makes contact with it. But in places where the winter takes for several months, it is always good to take enough supplements of this vitamin. The good thing is, vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin hence it can be stored in the fat depot of the body to be used in later time. Aside from keeping the immune system in balance, Vitamin D allows the ingestion of calcium through the column and makes it available for the bones and teeth. Other sources of vitamin D include eggs, dairy products and fatty fish.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and is known as fatty vitamin primarily because it is generally present in fatty foods. This vitamin helps in maintaining and protecting body tissues. More importantly, vitamin E prevents the coagulation of blood that might cause blood clotting. Butter, plant oils, nuts, fatty fish and eggs are good source of vitamin E.
Vitamin K is also a fat soluble vitamin. This is very essential in blood clotting. It has also important function in the production of proteins. Liver, Dairy products, Cabbage, Spinach, Broccoli are good source of vitamin K.