After viewing a list of vitamins, do you often wonder the importance of each vitamin and the relevance it has on your health? Do you also wonder what food sources best deliver that particular vitamin? After all, there are many different types of vitamins and it can be very confusing to sort through. Well, I have developed a list to help make sense of this valuable information.
In the following list of vitamins, the “Benefits” section outlines the areas of the body the individual vitamin seems to have the most impact, but please keep in mind that all vitamins affect virtually every system in our bodies to some degree.
In the “Food Sources” section, the food items described are foods that contain high amounts of that particular vitamin. It’s important to note, that you also receive high levels of other vitamins within that food source, because when vitamins are present in food, they naturally marry up with other supporting vitamins to provide absolute absorption.
|A (retinol and beta-carotene)||Skin, eyes and immune system||Liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash|
|B1 Thiamine||Brain function, digestive tract, energy production||Liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash|
|B2 Riboflavin||Metabolizes fat, proteins and carbohydrates into energy, skin, hair, eyes||Eggs, cheese, mushrooms, poultry, spinach|
|B3 Niacin||Energy production, brain function, balance blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol||Tuna, salmon, poultry, mushrooms, asparagus|
|B5 Pantothenic Acid||Controls fat metabolism, makes anti-stress hormones, energy production, skin, hair||Beef, avocados, eggs, mushrooms, lentils, whole wheat|
|B6 Pyridoxine||Good for physical and mental health, digestion, brain, hormone development||Carrots, poultry, eggs, bananas, cauliflower, nuts and seeds|
|B12 Methylcobalamin||Helps metabolize protein, assists the blood in carrying oxygen, nerves||Sardines, oysters, tuna, eggs, milk, cheese, dulse, kelp|
|Biotin||Cell growth, aids in using essential fatty acids, skin, hair||Oysters, eggs, sweet corn, almonds|
|Bioflavonoids||Should be used with vitamin C, helps heal sprains, muscle injuries and wounds, antioxidant||Citrus fruits, berries, peppers|
|C (ascorbic acid)||Immune system, tissue growth and repair, bones and joints, antioxidant and detoxifying, makes anti-stress hormones||Citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, greens, avocados|
|Choline||Liver and gallbladder function, supports nervous system||Lecithin, eggs, legumes, soybeans, nuts, citrus fruits|
|Coenzyme Q10||Produces energy, improves cardiovascular health, maintains normal blood pressure, immune system support, antioxidant||Mackerel, sardines, pork, spinach, beef, peanuts|
|D (ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol)||Bones and teeth, helps retain calcium||Herring, salmon, mackerel, oysters, eggs, dairy products|
|E (d-alpha tocopherol)||Skin, protects cells, helps body use oxygen, improves wound healing||Unrefined oils, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ, tuna, peas, sweet potatoes|
|Folic Acid||Brain and nerve function, helps use protein, red blood cell formation, energy production||Wheat germ, spinach, peanuts, sprouts, asparagus, nuts, seed, broccoli, beef|
|Inositol||Cell growth, brain and spinal cord health, hair, lowers cholesterol||Lecithin, eggs, fish, liver, brewer’s yeast, melon, nuts, citrus fruits|
|K (phylloquinone)||Blood clotting control, bone repair, promotes healthy liver function||Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, chicken|
|Omega 3 (EPA, DHA)||Cardiovascular health, inflammation, nervous system, skin, improves sleep, hormone health||Fish, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, sardines|
|Omega 6 (GLA)||Cardiovascular health, inflammation, nervous system, skin, improves sleep, hormone health||Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, wheat germ, safflower; sunflower; corn oils|
In addition to the information provided in the list of vitamins, it’s important to add that nutritional values in food can vary greatly. This is due to how it’s grown, where it’s grown, when it was picked, how it was shipped and how it was prepared; these factors play an important role in determining the actual amount of the vitamins in the food source.
Ideally, we should select organic foods with little, if any, exposure to harmful chemicals during its’ growing stage. We also need to consider the way the food was prepared, for this greatly influences the amount of vitamins the food retains; overcooked food can deplete most of the nutrient content. Generally speaking, raw, steamed or lightly sautéed food is best at preserving the nutrients in food sources.
Another way to be sure you receive the proper vitamin amount is to supplement, allow this list of vitamins to be your guide and be sure to select pure vitamins or whole food vitamin supplements. This is especially important because when you choose these types of vitamins you receive vitamins derived from actual food sources, instead of vitamins manufactured from chemicals. You will benefit by your body actually absorbing the vitamin instead of simply turning it into expensive urine.
And, of course, a good multi-vitamin/mineral supplement is always a great way to ensure you receive all the benefits of vitamins and minerals, so your entire body benefits. For a complete list of minerals, click here. Once again, be sure to select pure vitamins, also known as natural or whole food supplements, to ensure best absorption.
I hope the list of vitamins, their benefits and food sources I’ve provided, will help make sense of this sometimes confusing subject, after all, vitamins are important to our health and play a large role in healthy living.
I highly recommend the following books, they are loaded with fantastic information regarding supplementation and good health.
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