Vitamins – Important for your health
We all know it is essential for our body’s health that we eat and maintain a healthy diet eating foods from essential foods groups that contain protein, minerals, carbohydrates and a little fat. However to keep fit and healthy we also need something else, vitamins:
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic products that help our body’s to regulate carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolisms in the body, it is essential we get vitamins from the food we eat because the body can’t make them itself.
Vitamins are categorised by water- soluble and fat- soluble. Water soluble vitamins cannot be stored within the body and they need to be replaced on a regular basis in the food we eat.
Fat soluble vitamins can be stored in the body and vitamins such as A, D, E and K are included in this category. Although our bodies can store these vitamins we still have to include them in our daily diet.
Where do vitamins come from?
Vitamin A – is needed for healthy skin and tissue and helps in the excretion of mucus, it also helps to prevent infection and is needed to maintain a healthy immune system. It can be found in liver, cheese, dark green vegetables and carrots.
Vitamin D – is essential for the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth and also helps to regulate calcium in our body, it can be found in eggs, milk, breakfast cereals and margarine.
Vitamin E – helps to protect our cell membranes and the nervous and immune systems it can be found in vegetable oils, whole grains, nuts and green vegetables.
Vitamin K – this helps to maintain our energy and helps with blood clotting and can be found in liver, meat, potato and cereals.
Vitamin B1 – helps regulate our energy metabolism and can be found in bread, potatoes, meat and whole grain cereals.
Vitamin B2 – this utilises energy from fats and protein and can be found in meat, milk and eggs.
Vitamin B6 – this is necessary for protein metabolism and can be found in potatoes, meat, vegetables, milk and fish.
Vitamin B12 – this is essential for our red blood cells and maintaining our nervous system and can be found in liver, milk, fish and eggs.
Folic acid – this helps with production of red blood cells and our nervous system and can be found in raw green vegetables.
Vitamin C – this helps heal wounds and infections and protects the immune system it can be found in fresh fruit and vegetables.
How do I know I’m getting enough vitamins?
Health experts tell us that as long as you are eating a healthy well balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and food from the main groups then we will be getting the correct amount of vitamins and minerals that our body needs.
Sometimes though at points in our life or if we are athletes who have particularly strenuous training regimes or pregnant women then it might be beneficial to take extra vitamin and minerals as supplements.
If you don’t think you are getting enough of the daily recommended allowance of vitamins and minerals then these can be taken as all in one supplement that contains the recommended daily allowance of most of the vitamins and minerals we need.