Vitamins; do we need them?. YES. What Are Vitamins?.
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Vitamins are a group of organic food substances or nutrients found only in living things, plants and animals. They are needed to maintain normal body functions. The body cannot synthesize its own vitamins so we must get our vitamins from the foods we eat, or from dietary supplements. Vitamins are essential for metabolism, growth, and physical well-being.
To put it plainly, if we did not consume adequate amounts of vitamins our bodies would not be able to function properly. Vitamins are essential to so many processes within the body that it would be very difficult for me to tell you all of the things vitamins are needed for. The fundamentals of cells depend greatly upon vitamins. Vitamins are responsible for keeping cells strong, binding tissues, fighting infections, etc. Without vitamins our cells would not function properly and thus our organs would suffer and eventually we would no longer be able to survive. Vitamins help regulate metabolism, help convert fat and carbohydrates into energy, and assist in forming bone and tissue.
Vitamin A is found in animal foods like liver, butter, whole milk, cheese, and egg yolks. In plants, vitamin A occurs in carotene such as yellow vegetables, spinach, beet greens, carrots, and turnips.
Vitamin B1, Thiamine, can be found in whole grains, poultry, liver, fish, seeds, nuts, brewers yeast, bran and wheat germ.
Vitamin B2, ribolflavin, is found in dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, whole grains, and leafy, green vegetables.
Vitamin B3, Niacin, can be found in salmon, tuna, wheat germ, brewer's yeast, green, leafy vegetables, beans, peas, dried figs, prunes, and dates.
Vitamin B5, Pantothenic Acid, is found in many common foods such as meat, egg yolks, peanuts, whole grains and beans.
Vitamin B6, Pyridoxine, is in salmon and herring, pork liver, bananas, pears and brown rice. Eat lots of whole grain cereal, beans, meat, and fresh vegetables and you should have plenty.
Vitamin B12 is manufactured by microorganisms so it is not found in fruits and vegetables. Meat, poultry, non-fat dry milk, and fermented soybean products like tempeh will give you what you need. Vegetarians need to be aware of sufficient vitamin B12.
Folic Acid has been the talk of late and there is a great need for women who are of child bearing age to be aware they are getting enough. Folic Acid can be found in foods like kale, green, leafy vegetables, kidney, liver, spinach, parsley, brewer's yeast, and watercress. This vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects and miscarriages.
PABA, Para-aminobenzoic Acid, can be found in eggs, brewer's yeast, molasses, wheat germ and whole grains. Yes, like PABA in sunscreen.
Choline is prominent in eggs, liver, beans, bran, whole grain, nuts, lecithin, meat, and fish. Choline is essential to regulating cholesterol levels so mind your choline levels.
Inositol is found in most of the B carrying foods but also found in oranges, nuts and molasses.
Biotin, the last of the B vitamins, is manufactured in the intestinal tract due to microorganisms stimulated by inositol. It is also found in eggs, cheese, nuts and other common foods.
Vitamin C, the most accessible vitamin, is found in large quantities in broccoli. Next is sweet green peppers. Then you can find it in almost all fruits and vegetables. Citrus, potatoes, collards, anything with color it seems.
Vitamin D, if you like the sun you probably have plenty of vitamin D. If you are not a sun-lover here is where you can find it too: fish liver oils, fortified foods like butter and milk, seafood, and egg yolks.
Vitamin E is ideally found in wheat germ and wheat germ oil. The other ways of getting it sound a little more appetizing, whole grain baked goods, seeds, nuts, bran, and unrefined cereal.