Every one of us needs vitamins for the body’s day-to-day functioning. Do you know what exactly vitamins are?
They are natural organic substances which cannot be synthesised internally. Vitamins must be obtained from the food or dietary supplements.
Vitamins are classified as fat soluble and water soluble.
Fat soluble vitamins, as the name suggests, require the presence of fat to be properly absorbed in the digestive tract. Fat soluble vitamins are Vitamins A, D, E and K. Once consumed, fat soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty tissues and in the liver.
Water soluble vitamins, in turn, are not stored in large amounts by the body and must constantly be replaced. These are Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, Biotin and Folate. Since they are water soluble, they leach into the water if you for example boil a vegetable which contains these vitamins, so you lose them in the process. This is why the food containing water soluble vitamins should not be boiled, it should be steamed instead.
Best Food Sources of Vitamins:
1. Dark Green Leafy vegetables – which is a broad term used which includes cruciferous, leafy greens, lettuce and edible greens amongst others.
Examples of food sources: Spinach, Collard Greens, Kale, Arugula, Pak Choy, Swiss Chard.
Food source of Vitamin K which helps our blood to clot, Vitamin C which contributes to the immunity
Vitamin A which supports the healthy skin, immune system, vision and the metabolism of iron.
Eat your greens raw, steamed, stir-fried with your preferred herbs and spices to add a beautiful side vegetable dish to your meal.
2. Orange and Yellow Fruits and Veggies – These bright-coloured fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C and beta-carotene ( vitamin A)
The nutrients help our bodies in many different ways, from our eyes to our bones:
Aids in eye health and reduces the risk of macular degeneration of the eye, lowers blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), promotes healthy joints and collagen formation, boosts immune system and builds healthier bones by working with calcium and magnesium
3. Fruits – Food source of Vitamin C, which is the main nutrient for keeping our immunity in good state,
Carotenoids (a form of Vitamin A) found in fruits like cantaloupe, grapefruit and orange-coloured fruits, and Vitamin B6.
4. Wholegrains – Amaranth, Barley Rye, Bran, Buckwheat, Rice (Brown/Wild ),Oats, Teff, Millet, Wheat Spelt, Kamut and Quinoa. Food source of Vitamins B1 which helps to support your energy levels, Vitamins B2 and B3, B6 which supports the normal function of the brain, the production of energy levels, the metabolism of proteins, as well as keeping your heart healthy.
5. Legumes – beans, lentils – are great source of vegetarian protein and are food sources of Folate, Vitamin B6 and some B1
6. Nuts and Seeds – Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds, Chia seeds, Walnuts, Sesame seeds
Food source of Vitamin E: works with Vitamin C and has a protective effect on our cells.
Vitamin B1; Biotin which supports the body to utilise carbohydrates, proteins and fats as energy sources, and supports healthy hair and skin.
Food source of Folate which supports the tissue growth, blood formation and production of amino acids (building blocks of protein)
7. Eggs – are a great source of Biotin and Vitamins B2, D, and B12. Vitamin D: contributes to the absorption of minerals like calcium and phosphorus, support our immune system and the health of our bones, teeth and muscles. Vitamin B12 support brain and nerve function.