The Importance of Vitamins in Our Diet
Vitamins are organic substances contained in various natural foodstuffs in minute amounts. Because these substances play a critical part in normal metabolism, not having enough of them can cause illnesses or medical conditions.
As organic compounds, vitamins contain carbon, an essential nutrient that the body does not produce enough of, thus the need to obtain them from food. Unlike carbohydrates, proteins and fats, however, vitamins don’t supply energy, but they help the body work and grow at best capacity.
There are thirteen essential vitamins that provide a whole range of health benefits, including better eyesight, a stronger immune system, stronger bones, faster wound healing process, and several others. If you don’t take in enough vitamins, you increase your risk of developing diseases or medical conditions.
Types of Vitamins
Vitamins are either fat soluble or water-soluble, depending on body storage. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, and this means that they are stored in fats, where they stay for up to about six months.
Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, include vitamin C and the B vitamins (B6, B12, riboflavin, biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid and thiamine), which are distributed by the blood all over the body. Because your body doesn’t keep these water-soluble vitamins, you need to replenish your stores on a regular basis.
Each of the thirteen vitamins comes with is own particular functions, but they can also work as a team to improve your health. Vitamin A promotes good eyesight and immune function, as well as better skin, teeth and bones.
Vitamin C contributes to optimal tissue development, promotes iron absorption, and improves immunity. Vitamin, D coupled with calcium (another mineral), is vital to bone health and immunity as well. 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.
Effects of Vitamin Deficiencies
Without enough vitamin intake, you can be at risk of various medical issues, specially those linked to cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. A deficiency in vitamin B in particular can lead to irreversible nerve damage and anemia.
Without enough vitamin C in your diet, you will have limited stores of collagen, which makes up your body’s primary tissue. When vitamin C deficiency is severe, a person can have scurvy, with symptoms including gum disease, anemia, muscle and joint fatigue and skin hemorrhage.
Finally, vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, which can be seen as autoimmune diseases and poor bone health in adults, and as poor bone health and growth in kids.
There is so much information you can read these days about the importance of vitamins. With the above, you can begin on the right track.