Vitamins play an essential role in the diet of humans, but it can be difficult to ensure that we’re getting the recommended amounts. We’ll take a look at a list of vitamins, as well as which sources contain these compounds. However, let’s first discuss how a vitamin can be defined. These substances are organic, without calories, and required in relatively small quantities. An important feature of a vitamin is that it must perform a needed function in at least one chemical reaction or process that is necessary within the human body. Now, let’s explore some of the different vitamins that exist, using information that was retrieved from Dr. Rolando Ceddia.
The role of Vitamin A is crucial regarding the topic of vision. It can be found in many animal products, such as beef, liver, milk, chicken, and egg yolks. In addition, a collection of plant-derived foods contain Vitamin A. These include spinach, carrots, mango, apricots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.
This particular compound can come in two main forms. The first being Vitamin D₂, which is present in plant foods. Egg yolks and fatty fish (namely salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna) also possess significant amounts of Vitamin D. Vitamin D₃ is the second, which is produced in the skin following exposure to UVB light from the sun.
The main function of Vitamin E is its ability to serve as an antioxidant. Examples of sources that offer this substance are sunflower seeds, wheat germ, almonds, vegetable oils, and whole-grain cereal.
Vitamin K plays an important assistive role in a couple of processes. These include calcium metabolism within bones and blood clotting. Vitamin K can be found in a number of foods, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, spinach, canola, and egg yolks.
Some primary functions of Vitamin C involve acting as an antioxidant, regenerating used Vitamin E, and assisting with collagen synthesis. Collagen helps maintain the rigidity of skin and blood vessels. Furthermore, Vitamin C enhances immune function, improves iron absorption, and supports the synthesis of hormones and DNA. Citrus fruits and juices, apples, grapefruits, guavas, oranges, lemons, strawberries, broccoli, kale, spinach, and green peppers possess high quantities of Vitamin C.
Vitamin B₁ (Thiamine)
Notably, this compound was the first vitamin discovered. It is a crucial part of energy metabolism. The following is a range of sources that provide Vitamin B₁: pork, eggs, oatmeal, wheat (whole grain), black beans, wheat germ, soy milk, fortified cereals, enriched rice as well as pasta, asparagus, green peas, tuna, and legumes.
Vitamin B₂ (Riboflavin)
The highest concentrations of Vitamin B₂ are located in the liver, kidneys, and heart (compared to other organs). Metabolic rates are influenced by the amount of Vitamin B₂ available within the body. A variety of beverages and foods contain this substance, such as milk, yogurt, egg yolks, meats, and liver, as well as enriched bread, cereals, and grains.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B3 primarily assists with energy production. Another characteristic is that it plays a role in both cell differentiation and the replication and repair of DNA. This vitamin can be obtained from certain products, including beef liver, chicken breast, salmon, Cheerios, corn flakes, canned tomato items, and enriched bread and grains.
For carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism to occur, Vitamin B₆ is required. It also helps during the synthesis of blood cells. Liver, chicken (both white and dark meat), steak, ground beef, salmon, bananas, broccoli, zucchini, baked potatoes, and Cheerios are examples of sources rich with this compound.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Although the most recent vitamin to be discovered, this substance is essential in the maintenance of health. If Vitamin B12 is missing within the body, the result is a delay or failure of regular cell division and a halt in the synthesis of DNA. This leads to the problematic formation of enlarged cells, such as bigger (but fewer) red blood cells. When Vitamin B12 deficiency is present, neurological abnormalities will develop as well. The best foods and beverages that offer this vitamin include beef, liver, egg yolks, herring, salmon, tuna, oysters, and milk.
To conclude, the remaining vitamins are Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Folate. The first of which can be found widely distributed in both plant and animal products. The second plays a significant role in different metabolic processes. Soybeans, walnuts, wheat bran, and peanuts have some of the greatest quantities of this vitamin. Lastly, the third is needed for amino acid metabolism and DNA synthesis to occur. Sources that provide this compound when added or raised in the diet are mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, soybeans, and spinach (to name a few). All in all, it’s valuable to think about and make note of vitamin intake, and the benefit is maximized when meals and snacks are broadened in order to consume these substances.