Vitamins are essential organic compounds that our bodies need in small amounts to function properly. There are 13 different vitamins, each with their own unique role in the body. Some vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, are water-soluble and need to be replenished daily. Others, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, are fat-soluble and can be stored in the body.
Vitamin A is important for healthy vision, skin, and immune function. Good food sources of vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps convert food into energy and is important for nerve and muscle function. Good sources of thiamine include whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is important for energy production and healthy skin and eyes. Good sources of riboflavin include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and almonds.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) is important for energy production, skin health, and cholesterol control. Good sources of niacin include poultry, fish, and whole grains.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is important for energy production and healthy skin and hair. Good sources of pantothenic acid include mushrooms, avocados, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is important for brain development and function, as well as the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Good sources of pyridoxine include bananas, chicken, and chickpeas.
Vitamin B7 (biotin) is important for healthy hair, skin, and nails, as well as energy production. Good sources of biotin include eggs, nuts, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) is important for cell growth and development, as well as the prevention of birth defects. Good sources of folic acid include leafy green vegetables, legumes, and fortified cereals.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is important for nerve function, DNA synthesis, and the formation of red blood cells. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, fish, and dairy products.
Vitamin C is important for immune function, wound healing, and the formation of collagen. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, and broccoli.
Vitamin D is important for bone health and immune function. Our bodies can produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, but it can also be found in fatty fish and fortified dairy products.
Vitamin E is important for skin health and acts as an antioxidant in the body. Good sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and bone health. Good sources of vitamin K include leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and soybeans.
While it’s important to get enough vitamins in our diets, it’s also possible to get too much of certain vitamins, which can lead to toxicity. It’s always best to get our vitamins from whole foods rather than supplements, unless advised otherwise by a healthcare professional.