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.

Vitamin Deficiencies 

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.

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