Why are Vitamins Important when Dieting?
Vitamins are essential nutrients required by the body that cannot be manufactured internally. Vitamins are important in a diet for growth and development, boosting the immune system and keeping the system running properly. A body devoid of essential nutrients cannot survive.
Most vitamins come from food while others are found in the form of a supplement. Natural foods, free from preservatives and processing carry the most vitamin-rich content. The vitamins are naturally derived from food rather than synthetically manufactured. Most supplemental forms of vitamins have been extracted from food.
- Vitamin A – extracted from fish liver oil
- Vitamin B – extracted from liver or yeast
- Vitamin C – extracted from rosehips
- Vitamin E – extracted from soy beans
A person who does not eat clean and natural foods requires a supplemental form of vitamin that has been extracted from food. Too little vitamins in the diet may result in a disturbance in the body’s system leading to health problems.
The Function of Vitamins
Each vitamin plays a significant role in the health maintenance of the body. A diet rich in vitamins provides energy, strong bones and teeth, and a solid immune system. To prevent disease and other health problems consuming a diet rich in vitamins is crucial. Below is a list of some of the functions vitamins have in the body.
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A plays an essential role in the body’s vision, growth, development and the maintenance of healthy hair and skin. Vitamin A is also referred to as retinol and can be found in natural foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, mango and raw spinach.
- Vitamin B
The series of B vitamins are needed to convert consumed food into energy for the body. The most common B series vitamins are B-6 and B-12. These vitamins are needed to provide the body with healthy production of the red blood cells. Foods rich in vitamin B include eggs, liver, clams and fish.
- Vitamin C
Looking for healthy skin, teeth and even gums? Vitamin C is the vitamin of choice. Vitamin C provides the body with enough antioxidants to cleanse the system and boost immunities to germs and sicknesses. Foods rich in vitamin C include grapefruits, oranges, mangoes and most tropical fruits.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium to produce strong teeth and bones. Vitamin D is found in many dairy foods such as milk and eggs, and also found in fleshy fish such as tuna and mackerel.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is most recognized for its antioxidant properties in the body. It works in the system to combat free radicals. Vitamin E can be found in such natural foods as wheat germ, sunflower seeds, spinach, kiwi fruit, dry peanuts, almonds, safflower oil and tomatoes.
- Vitamin K
Vitamin K assists the body in normal healing processes such as blood clotting. Vitamin K also plays an important role in creating health bone mass in the body. Vitamin K deficiency, although rare, can result in liver and gallbladder disease. Some of the best sources for vitamin K include spinach, green beans, asparagus, mustard greens and kale.
According to the 2008 Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a lack of vitamins in the body can lead to disease. A person is at risk for vitamin deficiencies if entire food groups are eliminated from the diet or a person does not eat enough food to provide nutrients to the body.
There are certain times of a person’s life when more vitamins are needed. For women who are pregnant, a substantial amount of vitamins are required to keep mother and baby healthy. The need for vitamins and nutrients in the diet is increased during this time. If the mother-to-be does not consume enough vitamins during pregnancy health problems may arise. Eating a balanced diet and taking pre-natal vitamins throughout the pregnancy can eliminate the risk for vitamin deficiency.