The Importance of Vitamins in Our Diet
Vitamins are a group of organic substances that can be found in a wide variety of natural food. Because these substances play a critical part in normal metabolism, not having enough of them can cause illnesses or medical conditions.
Being organic compounds, vitamins contain carbon, which is an essential nutrient that the body produces in inadequate amounts, hence the need to source it from food. However, unlike proteins, fats and carbohydrates, vitamins do not give you energy, although they do help the body grow and function optimally.
There are thirteen essential vitamins that offer various health benefits, such as immunity boost, stronger bones, faster wound healing, enhanced eyesight, better use of food-sourced energy and many more. Without enough vitamin intake, you could be vulnerable to many different diseases or medical conditions.
Types of Vitamins
Vitamins are either fat soluble or water-soluble, depending on body storage. Fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K – remain in the body for a maximum of about six months and are stored in fat tissue.
On the other hand, water-soluble vitamins, which include vitamin C plus the B vitamins – B6, B12, thiamine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin, folate and biotin – are circulated around the body through the blood. Because your body doesn’t keep these water-soluble vitamins, you need to replenish your stores on a regular basis.
All the thirteen vitamins have their own individual functions, but they can work as a group as well in improving your health. Apart from stronger bones, teeth and immunity, vitamin A also gives you better eyesight and glowing skin.
Vitamin C contributes to optimal tissue development, promotes iron absorption, and improves immunity. Vitamin D paired with the mineral, calcium, also plays a big role in immunity and bone health. Vitamin E helps your body utilize vitamin K, and this improves bone health, blood-clotting mechanisms, and helps in the body’s production of essential red blood cells.
Of course, the B vitamins have their part to play, mostly in relation to better central nervous system functions, hormone synthesis, cardiac operation, basic cellular maintenance, brain activity and body metabolism.
Consequences of Vitamin Deficiencies
Inadequate intake of vitamins leads to health risks associated with osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease. Insufficient vitamin B intake sets the stage for anemia and irreversible nerve damage.
Without enough vitamin C in your diet, you will have limited stores of collagen, which makes up your body’s primary tissue. In prolonged cases of vitamin C deficiency, a person can develop scurvy, whose symptoms include gingivitis, skin hemorrhage, anemia and general weakness.
Lastly, vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, or the softening and weakening of bones in children, and the existence of autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure and poor bone health in adults.
There is so much information you can read these days about the importance of vitamins. The above can put you on the right track.