Vitamins: The Building Blocks Of Wellness

Vitamins are substances that your body needs for normal growth and development.  After the body’s development is complete, vitamins remain essential nutrients for the healthy maintenance of the cells, tissues, and organs of the body.  Each vitamin has a specific job.  The best way to get enough vitamins is to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods, but you may need to take a good multivitamin.

VITAMIN A helps cell reproduction, stimulates immunity, is essential for night vision, promotes bone growth and tooth development, helps maintain healthy skin and hair and is also an antioxidant which helps fight cancer-causing agents in the body.  Vitamin A can be found in cantaloupes, grapefruit, tomatoes, watermelon, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, pecans, pistachios, tuna, eggs, milk, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and sour cream.

VIAMIN B1 (Thiamine) helps our cells convert carbohydrates into energy and is essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system.  Not getting enough can leave one fatigued and weak.  Vitamin B1 can be found in oranges, pineapple, watermelon, grapes, avocado, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, macadamia nuts, oats, peanuts, pork, bacon, ground chicken and white beans.

VITAMIN B2 (Riboflavin) aids in body growth, reproduction and red blood cell production.  It also helps release energy from carbohydrates and is essential for maintaining good vision.  Vitamin B2 can be found in avocado, bananas, dates, grapes, mango, artichokes, mushrooms, Lima beans, Brussels sprouts, almonds, beef, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, navy beans and pinto beans.

VITAMIN B3 (Niacin) assists in the functioning of the digestive system, skin and nerves.  It too is important in the conversion of food to evergy.  Vitamin B3 can be found in peaches, nectarines, avocado, butternut squash, corn, mushrooms, peanuts, sunflower seeds, beef, chicken (dark meat), catfish, salmon, tuna and split peas.

VITAMIN B5 (Pantethenic Acid) is essential for proper metabolism and the formation of hormones and good cholesterol. Vitamin B5 can be found in grapefruit, raspberries, starfruit, corn, mushrooms, potatoes, sunflower seeds, oats, chestnuts, catfish, lamb, turkey legs, split peas and black eye peas.

VITAMIN B6 (Pryidoxine) plays a role in the creation of antibodies in the immune system, helps maintain normal nerve function and aids in the formation of red blood cells.  Vitamin B6 is required for the chemical reactions of proteins, so a higher intake of proteins requires a larger need for this vitamin.  Too little in the diet can cause dizziness, nausea, confusion, irritability and convulsions.  Vitamin B6 can be found in grapes, pineapple, passion fruit, green pepper, spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pistachios, cod, turkey breast, chicken breast, garbanzo beans and pinto beans.

VITAMIN B12 is important for metabolism, helps in the formation of red blood cells and helps maintain the central nervous system.  It is the only vitamin that is available strictly from fish, poultry, meat and dairy sources. Vitamin B12 can be found in beef, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, catfish, salmon, tuna, lamb, hamburger, beef hot dogs and ground chicken.

VITAMIN C is the most important of all vitamins because of its role as an antioxidant.  It protects your body tissue from the damage of oxidation and helps your body resist infection.  Vitamin C can be found in kiwi, grapefuit, pineapple, strawberries, oranges, broccoli, green pepper, Brussels sprouts, chestnuts, soy beans, cod, perch, goat milk and lowfat yogurt.

VITAMIN D is known as the sunshine source.  Ten to fifteen minutes of good sunshine three times a week is adequate to produce our body’s requirement.  It promotes the absorption of calcium and magnesium for the normal development of healthy bones and teeth.  It also helps maintain adequate levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood.  Vitamin D can be found in mushrooms, milk, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, whipping cream, eggs, sour cream, turkey,  hamburger and turkey and beef hot dogs.

VITAMIN E plays a significant role as an antioxidant and is important in the formation of red blood cells and the use of Vitamin K.  Vitamin E can be found in blackberries, kiwi, nectarines, peaches, pumpkin, butternut squash, almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, eggs, herring, turkey bacon and pinto beans.

VITAMIN K is known as the clot master for it’s ability to help clot our blood.  It also regulates blood calcium levels and activates at least three proteins involved in bone health.  Vitamin K can be found in cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, alfalfa sprouts, artichoke, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cashews, pistachios, anchovies, lamb, roast duck and split peas.

The benefits of vitamins are self-evident.  They enable the body to efficiently use chemical energy provided by food and help process the proteins, carbohydrates and fats required for life and growth.  They help prevent disease and blindness, give us healthy bones and teeth, protect our heart from damage and protect our bodies from cancer.  Vitamins enhance our health and well-being.  They are the building blocks of wellness.

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