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Food Sources of Vitamins


Vitamins are essential for the normal functioning of our body, as they play a vital role in cell functions, growth, and development. Vitamins can be grouped into two types: water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins. Out of the 13 essential vitamins, four vitamins, namely, vitamins A, D, E and K, are fat soluble vitamins, while the other 9 vitamins, including vitamins C and the B vitamins, are water soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins can be stored in the fatty tissues, whereas water soluble vitamins except B12 are flushed out of the body through and should be replenished regularly.

One has to include a variety of foods in his/her diet in order to obtain all essential vitamins, as there is no single food that can provide all the vitamins to the body.

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Many people have the misconception that they can fulfill their vitamin requirement through supplements or pills. However, many food sources of vitamins are available and by including such food groups in a balanced way, one can easily meet the daily requirement of most of the vitamins. There are several natural sources of vitamins are available. Given below is a list of all the vitamins and their natural sources.

What are natural food sources of vitamins?


Here is a list of some of the best natural sources of vitamins. A diet that includes most of these fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products will ensure that you get your daily vitamin requirement, without the need to supplements.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays a vital role in bone growth, vision and cell division. It promotes good vision and helps to maintain healthy bones, teeth, skin, and soft tissues. Sources of Vitamin A include both animal and plant sources.

Animal sources include the following:

  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Seafood

Fruits and vegetables are good plant sources. Some of the fruits that are high in vitamin A include:

  • Apple
  • Apricots
  • Oranges
  • Mangos
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Kiwis
  • Plums
  • Peaches
  • Blackberries

Some of the vegetables that are high in vitamin A are

  • Greens
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Collards
  • Pumpkin
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Tomato
  • Turnip
  • Escarole
  • Wheat germ

Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are also good natural sources of vitamin A.

Vitamin B Group

Vitamin B complex includes B 1 or thiamine, B2 or riboflavin, B3 or nicotinic acid, B6 or pyridoximine, B12 or cobalamin, and folate folic acid. Vitamin B complex helps in cell repair, digestion, and metabolism, and boosts the immune system. Some of the best food sources of vitamin B include:

  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Dates
  • Dairy products
  • Fish
  • Figs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Spinach
  • Pulses
  • Potatoes

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is vital for growth and it boosts the immune system, thereby preventing many ailments such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, malabsorption of iron, etc. We already know that citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C; however, apart from citrus fruits, other foods that are high in vitamin C include:

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Green pepper
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Lemons
  • Strawberries
  • Pears
  • Lime
  • Chicken
  • Seafood
  • Pork

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is vital for healthy bones and teeth. It helps to absorb calcium and maintain the level of calcium and phosphorus. Sun is the best source for vitamin D. However, several food sources are also available. Some of the best food sources of Vitamin D include:

  • Breakfast cereals like corn flakes
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Dairy products
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Organ meats such as liver, kidneys
  • Eggs
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps in the production of red blood cells. Foods that are rich in vitamin E include:

  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Watercress
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Berries
  • Salmon
  • Whole grain products
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Mackerel

Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays a vital role in the blood clotting process in the body and helps to maintain strong bones. The best food sources of Vitamin K include:

  • Meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolk
  • Whole grain
  • Vegetables like
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Celery
  • Parsley
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Soybean

Vitamin P

Vitamin P, also known as bioflavonoids, helps in blood circulation by strengthening the capillaries. People whose diet includes fruits and vegetables, automatically can fulfill vitamin P requirement, as brightly colored fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamin P. The best food sources of vitamin P include:

  • Fruits such as oranges, lemons, lime, tangerines, mangos, grapefruit, cherries, blackberries, and plums
  • Vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, green pepper, broccoli, onions
  • Red wine
  • Buckwheat
  • Garlic
  • Herbs like milk thistle, pine bark, and yarrow

Apart from these natural sources of vitamins, dietary supplements help to fulfill the vitamin requirements, if the food that you eat does not supply the required amount of vitamins. It is best to consult a doctor to find out if you are suffering from any vitamin deficiency. Based on the doctor’s advice, you can then either improve your diet or consume appropriate supplements.

References:

http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/002399fod.htm
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002399.htm

Submitted on January 16, 2014
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