Vitamins are organic compounds that are vital to the functioning of our physiology. Though required in very small amounts, they are indispensable for our health and well-being. There are a total of 13 of these essential vitamins. Since the human body cannot produce vitamins, we have to get them from external sources. A diverse, nutrient-rich diet is therefore necessary.
Vitamins do not directly serve as a source of energy, but they do act as coenzymes that help the body obtain energy from other nutrients.
Fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins
There two types of vitamins that determine the way they act within the body:
- fat-soluble vitamins – A, D E, K
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues. Which means, that even if you don’t ingest them on a daily basis your body will be able to function properly by using those resources. They also withstand the process of cooking. And since they require fat in order to be absorbed in the bloodstream, it is important to eat vitamin A, D, E and K rich-foods with oils or butter.
A balanced diet will normally provide you will all the vitamins you need, but if for some reason you choose to use supplements keep in mind that when consumed in excess, fat-soluble vitamins can be toxic.
- water-soluble vitamins – C and all B vitamins
Water-soluble vitamins are not stored within the body, so a continuous daily supply is necessary to ensure proper functioning of our system.Vitamins C and B are easily destroyed during the process of cooking, preparation and storage of food. To reduce vitamin loss, store grains away from sunlight, use cooking water from vegetables to make soups and most importantly eat as much fresh vitamin C and B rich foods as possible.
The Importance of Vitamins
Vitamin deficiencies can create or aggrevate chronic health conditions.
A healthy well-balanced diet and some sunlight (vit.D) will provide you with all the vitamins you need. Resort to supplementation only if absolutely necessary, as concentrated and especially artificial forms of vitamins may be very harmful. To read more about nutritional supplementation wait for the next post;)
Adequate vitamin intake is necessary to prevent deficiency and promote optimal health. Vitamins are also important for those trying to loose fat and gain muscle. To find out more about vitamins and vitamin-rich foods go to 13 Vitamins, their Functions and Food Sources