Our body needs a balanced diet to keep its system fit and healthy. A balanced diet must have important ingredients which our body needs such as minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamin, nutrients, iron, calcium etc. Vitamins are a very integral part of our diet.

What are vitamin?

Vitamins are organic compounds that are needed in small quantities to sustain life. Most vitamins need to come from food. Vitamins are essential to normalize metabolism. 

Vitamin is both:

An organic compound, which means it contains carbon, an essential nutrient that the body cannot produce enough of and which it needs to get from food.

Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble. In humans, there are 13 vitamins: 4 fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C).

Fat-soluble vitamins:-

Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty tissues of the body and the liver. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. These are easier to store than water-soluble vitamins, and they can stay in the body as reserves for days, and sometimes months.

Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of fats, or lipids.

Water-soluble vitamins:-

Water-soluble vitamins do not stay in the body for long. The body cannot store them, and they are soon excreted in urine. Because of this, water-soluble vitamins need to be replaced more often than fat-soluble ones.

Vitamin C and all the B vitamins are water-soluble

Vitamin A:

  • It is fat-soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause night-blindness and keratomalacia, an eye disorder that results in a dry eye cornea.
  • Good sources include: Liver, cod liver oil, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens, some cheeses, egg, apricot, cantaloupe melon, and milk.

Vitamin B:

  • It is water-soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause beriberi and Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome.
  • Good sources include yeast, pork, cereal grains, sunflower seeds, brown rice, whole-grain rye, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, liver, and eggs.

Vitamin B2:

  • It is water-soluble
  • Deficiency may cause ariboflavinosis.
  • Good sources include asparagus, bananas, persimmons, okra, chard, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, meat, eggs, fish, and green beans

Vitamin B3:

  • It is water-soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause pellagra, with symptoms of diarrhea, dermatitis, and mental disturbance.
  • Good sources include: liver, heart, kidney, chicken, beef, fish (tuna, salmon), milk, eggs, avocados, dates, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, nuts, whole-grains, legumes, mushroom, and brewer’s yeast.

Vitamin B5:

  • It is water-soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause paresthesia, or “pins and needles.”
  • Good sources include: meats, whole-grains (milling may remove it), broccoli, avocados, royal jelly, and fish ovaries.

Vitamin B6:

  • It is water-soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause anaemia, peripheral neuropathy, or damage to parts of the nervous system other than the brain and spinal cord.
  • Good sources include meats, bananas, whole-grains, vegetables, and nuts. When milk is dried, it loses about half of its B6. Freezing and canning can also reduce content.

Vitamin B7:

  • It is water-soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause dermatitis or enteritis, or inflammation of the intestine.
  • Good sources include: egg yolk, liver, some vegetables.

Vitamin B9:

  • It is water-soluble.
  • Deficiency during pregnancy is linked to birth defects. Pregnant women are encouraged to supplement folic acid for the entire year before becoming pregnant.
  • Good sources include leafy vegetables, legumes, liver, baker’s yeast, some fortified grain products, and sunflower seeds. Several fruits have moderate amounts, as does beer.

Vitamin B12:

  • It is water-soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause megaloblastic anaemia, a condition where spine bone marrow produces unusually large, abnormal, immature red blood cells.
  • Good sources include fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products, some fortified cereals and soy products, as well as fortified nutritional yeast.

So vitamins are an integral part of our diet and we should intake it in proper amount. Vitamins are very necessary to keep us away from health problems which occurred due to deficiency of these vitamins. We should take vitamins as our body needs and take care of amount we intake.

Stay Healthy, Stay strong and get the best out of life.

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In upcoming Article, we will discuss about remaining vitamins and their uses

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