A nicely presented plate of sliced cucumber and strawberry

The Importance of Vitamins to Your Health

Why Vitamins?

Have you consciously thought about the health benefits of vitamins? You must have read or heard about how important this class of food nutrient is to the body. You might have been instructed by a health practitioner to take it in minute quantities and advised on how essential the tiniest amount of vitamin is to your health. A lack of this important nutrient can be detrimental to your health, so don’t forget to include it in your daily diet. What are vitamins?

Vitamins Defined

Vitamins are nutrients your body needs to function and fight off disease. When you starve your body of essential vitamins, you stand at risk of developing a vitamin deficiency disease.  According to an online Medical Dictionary, “vitamins are organic components in food that are needed in very small amounts for growth and for maintaining good health.” There are different types of vitamins that perform different functions in the body. Here they are.

A container containing various fruits

Types of Vitamins and their Sources

There are basically two types of vitamins namely:

  1. Water-soluble vitamins

These are vitamins that can dissolve in water. They are carried to the body’s tissues but are not stored in the body, hence, the need to replenish them on a daily basis. The following are examples of water soluble vitamins:

  • Vitamin C – Sourced from the juice of such citrus fruits as oranges and grapes; vitamin C is also obtained from peppers of all sorts
  • Vitamin B12 – Is found in dairy products, poultry, fish and meat
  • Vitamin B9 also known as Folic Acid – Can be gotten from leafy vegetables
  • Vitamin B7 or Biotin – Is obtained from fruits and meats
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – Can be found in cereals and soy products
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) – Is sourced from whole grains, meat and poultry
  • Vitamin B3 ( Niacin) – Is derived from fish, poultry, meat and whole grains
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – Comes from dairy products and whole grains
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) – Is found in animal liver, nuts, seeds and whole grains
  1. Fat-soluble vitamins

Unlike water-soluble vitamins, fat soluble-vitamins are stored in your fat cells and require fat to be absorbed. Fat soluble vitamins include:

  • Vitamin D – Found in cereals, fortified milk and dairy products, is also sourced from mild sunshine, especially in the morning hours.
  • Vitamin K – Can be obtained from dark green leafy vegetables and turnips
  • Vitamin A – Is derived from dark leafy greens and orange colored fruits and vegetables
  • Vitamin E – Comes from seeds, nuts, leafy green vegetables and fortified cereals

Why not help your body to function at its best by taking a good dose of vitamins at every meal?

Vitamin Deficiency Diseases

Image showing the internal structure of the body

Most vitamins are closely associated with a corresponding vitamin deficiency disease. Vitamin deficiency diseases occur when your diet is lacking in certain important vitamins. Some common vitamin deficiency diseases include:

  • Rickets and Osteoporosis – These are bone diseases caused by Vitamin D deficiency
  • Night Blindness and Total Blindness – These result from Vitamin A deficiency
  • Spontaneous Bleeding and Megaloblastic Anaemia – Vitamin K deficiency is responsible for these; the symptoms of megaloblastic anemia are tiredness and weakness.
  • Megaloblastic Anaemia and Irreversible Nerve Damage – These occur when the body is deficient of Vitamin B12.

You will do well to stay healthy and keep your immune system strong by including vitamins in your daily diet.

 

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