In my recipe posts I tend to mention what vitamins the food is high in so I thought I would share with you guys what each vitamin does and in what foods it can be found! Check out my ‘Minerals, minerals and more minerals!’ post too 🙂
- A is required for colour and night vision, proper functioning of the immune system, sperm production, and skin cell growth and can be found in milk, eggs, green leafy vegetables, as well as red and yellow fruit & vegetables.
- D is mostly made through exposure of your skin to the UV rays of the sun as our skin contains a compound which on exposure to the rays gets converted to vitamin D. Interestingly mushrooms contain the same precursor compound found in skin and if put out in the sun can produce vitamin D too. Mushrooms tend to be grown in the dark so do not contain vitamin D…but if you leave them in direct sunlight they will! Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium and so helps keep your bones and teeth in a good condition.
- E is a powerful antioxidant, which can be found in plant based oils and cereal grains. On a daily basis our bodies produce free radicles, which are substances that are highly unstable and can cause damage to our cells. Antioxidants stabilise these free radicles and reduce the impact they have. (I am going to do a post all about antioxidants soon!)
- K is found in the yolk of eggs, liver, and green leafy vegetables (stock up on your spinach…and liver if you fancy it!). Vitamin K is crucial for blood clotting mechanisms and without it uncontrollable bleeding can result. In order for vitamin K to work calcium also needs to be present.
- B is actually a group of vitamins in itself consisting of 8 compounds; Thiamin (B1) , Riboflavin(B2), Niacin (B3), Cobalamin (B12), Folic acid or folate, pantothenic acid, Biotin, and Choline. Sorry for the chemistry there and don’t ask me why there is 1,2,3 then 12! These vitamins are involved in a wide range of processes from DNA synthesis to the production of cholesterol, as well as respiration. They are found in many foods including green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, yeast, cereal grains…
- C is an antioxidant(see definition in vitamin E description), which is involved in the production of neurotransmitters (molecules involved in the nervous system) and collagen that you find in the connective tissue within your body. Citrus fruit, leafy vegetables and kidney are all great sources.
A, D, E, & K are fat soluble vitamins whereas B&C are not. A, D, E, & K therefor require fat in order for them to be absorbed and used by the body …this is one of many reason why you have to remember fat is an essential part of your diet! There is no use in eating loads of fruit and vegetable if you have no fat in your diet as the vitamins contained within the fruit will not be absorbed by your body, but it is important to note that certain fats are more beneficial than others, such as the polyunsaturates found within olive oil rather than the saturated fat of meats. If you are eating a balanced diet, containing many of the foods mentioned above, you should be getting enough of all the vitamins you need… so no need to worry!