Taking vitamins has long been considered as a prerequisite to good health. In fact, health experts are in agreement, that these organic molecules are needed to be taken by the human body in minute quantities, to ensure proper health. According to these experts, a person deprived of a particular vitamin would eventually exhibit disease symptoms particular to the said vitamin.
The importance of vitamins for good health is a fact well known to everybody. Even children at the primary school level are well aware of this because they are being educated on the importance of vitamins for their body. But while everybody knows how important vitamins are, not everybody knows where to get them. In fact, many believe that the only source of vitamins is the medicine bottle.
Vitamins, however, are not limited to those that are sold on drug stores as food supplements. In fact, vitamins do exist naturally. To give more light on this topic, it may be better if we give you first a background on the basic types of vitamins available today.
The Basic Types of Vitamins Available in the Market
There are three general types of vitamins being sold in the market today. These three types are the natural vitamins, crystalline vitamins, and synthetic vitamins.
- Natural Vitamins
Natural vitamins are those vitamins that can readily be found in natural foods. If processed into a commercial food supplement, the vitamin must have all of its components intact, including its enzymes, co-enzymes, minerals, mineral activators, and co-vitamin helpers.
- Crystalline Vitamins
Crystalline vitamins are those vitamins that are extracted from natural food sources but were already treated with various high-powered chemicals, solvents, heat and distillations to separate the specific vitamin from all other synergistic components attached to it. As such, these vitamins have a very simple structure compared to the complex structure of natural vitamins.
- Synthetic Vitamins
Synthetic vitamins are those vitamins that were chemically formed in laboratories by scientists. While they are not derived from any natural source, the structure of these vitamins would usually resemble that of their crystalline counterparts.
As you can see, vitamins are not limited to those found on drug stores and medicine bottles. In this article, we’ll concentrate on those vitamins that can be found on natural food sources the natural vitamin supplements.
Natural Vitamin Supplements
According to studies, our body needs 13 vitamins for proper bodily functions. These vitamins are composed of the vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins. The B vitamins, on the other hand, are composed of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate.
Now, all these vitamins are available in drug stores in various concentrations. However, all of these 12 vitamins can also be found on natural food sources. In fact, a person having a variety of foods in his diet must already be taking minute amounts of these vitamins everyday. And as have previously been said, only a minute amount of all these vitamins are needed by the body to function properly.
So if you are interested on keeping your health at its prime, then you can bank on the natural vitamins that nature has to offer. Here is a list of the food sources from which you can extract natural vitamin supplements:
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A can be found from meat sources and dairy products like milk, cheese, cream, liver, kidney, and cod liver. But since all of these are high cholesterol products, you may want to try getting vitamin A from its precursor, beta-carotene. Common sources of beta carotene are raw carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, cantaloupe, spinach, mango, broccoli and other red- or yellow-skinned fruits and vegetables.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Common sources of thiamine are fortified breads, cereals, pasta, whole grains, lean meats, fish, peas and dried beans. Some dairy products, fruits and vegetables are also rich in vitamin B1.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Dairy products like milk and yogurt are the primary sources of riboflavin. Other sources are chicken meat, green and leafy vegetables, fruits and almonds.
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Food products that are rich in niacin include dairy products, poultry, fish, lean meats, nuts and eggs. Some legumes and cereals also contain traces of niacin.
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
Vitamin B5 rich foods would include, fish, dairy products, poultry, lean beef, yeast and vegetables in the cabbage family. Also rich in vitamin B5 are white and sweet potatoes as well as peanuts and peas.
- Vitamin B6 (pyroxidine)
Fruits like bananas, watermelons and tomatoes are known sources of vitamin B6. Other common sources are chicken, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, white rice, peanuts, oats and fortified cereals.
- Vitamin B12
Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and dairy products comprise the rich sources for vitamin B12.
Green and leafy vegetables are the largest source of folates, although this vitamin can also be found on tomato juice, peas, wheat germ, oranges and mushrooms.
- Vitamin C
The most common sources of vitamin C are the citrus fruits and their juices like strawberry, melon, cranberry, grapefruit and others. Most other fruits and vegetables also contain small amounts of vitamin C.
- Vitamin D
The largest sources of vitamin D are dairy products, poultry, and cereals. Aside from these food sources, the body also synthesizes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the heat of the sun.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is mostly derived from plant oils and products made from it, like margarine and mayonnaise. Other sources include peanuts, whole grains, wheat germ, corn, nuts, olives, spinach and other green and leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin K
Leafy and green vegetables like cabbage and spinach are the primary source of Vitamin K. Other sources include soybeans, cereals, fruits, beets, potatoes, dairy products, meat products and poultry. Bacteria found in the stomach and in the intestines can also synthesize vitamin K.
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