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Vitamins and Its Health Benefits

Submitted by Stella Morgan on November 6, 2009

Vitamins are one of the basic nutrients required by the body for healthy and efficient functioning. They are essential in releasing energy from food; aiding immune function; energy metabolism; hemoglobin production; aiding central nervous system functions; development of bones, etc. Types of Vitamins – The body fulfills its vitamin requirements from the food we eat. Vitamins are broadly classified as fat-soluble (this includes Vitamins A, D, E and K) vitamins and water-soluble (this includes Vitamins B and C) vitamins. When vitamins are consumed, excess fat-soluble vitamins get stored away by the body for future use. Therefore you don’t need to consume them regularly.

Water-soluble vitamins on the other hand don’t get stored. Any excess is flushed out through urine and perspiration, which makes regular intake compulsory. Vitamin A – This fat soluble vitamin is essential for the proper development and functioning of several body functions.

It aids growth and repair of skin and tissues. It enhances the immune system by lowering susceptibility to infections. It maintains eyesight and aids bone and teeth growth.

Vitamin A deficiency can lead to blindness, poor bone structure and damaged skin conditions. Foods rich in Vitamin A include leafy greens, sweet potato, carrots, cantaloupe, milk, and eggs. Vitamin D – The body absorbs this vitamin directly from sun rays, the most reliable source of Vitamin D. It is required by the body for proper absorption of calcium in the system, maintenance of a stable nervous system and a healthy heart.

It is also important for proper bone and teeth formation. Deficiency of Vitamin D leads to poor bone structure. This can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Other sources of Vitamin D include milk, eggs and liver. Vitamin E – Vitamin E is a rich antioxidant. It absorbs the free radicals in the body, thereby protecting body tissue and cells membranes from damage. Vitamin E is also beneficial in muscle tissue formation and red blood cell production. This vitamin is known to boost blood circulation, enhance heart function, and reduce the risk of cancer (especially of the lung and stomach). It also improves blood clotting and healing in the body. Foods rich in Vitamin E include cereals, leafy vegetables, beans and bread. Vitamin K – Vitamin K is needed by the body for proper blood clotting functions. It enhances the body’s healing abilities. It also reduces the risk of internal bleeding and hemorrhaging. Vitamin K is also beneficial in controlling menstrual flow and pain, as well as regulating blood sugar levels in the body. Vitamin K deficiency is known to cause severe bleeding. Green leafy vegetables, peas, and potatoes are good sources of Vitamin K. Vitamin B – Vitamin B is an important nutrient. It helps the body metabolize fats and proteins. It also provides energy during the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose. Vitamin B includes Vitamin B12, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-1, Vitamin B-2, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, and Vitamin B-3. Vitamin C – Vitamin C is very important for absorption of iron in the body. It is also very important to maintain dental facility. It is a well known fact that Vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy. This water-soluble vitamin boosts immune function and helps reduce scar tissues. Vitamin C also reduces the risk of cancer by preventing harmful nitrates from turning to cancerous substances. Good sources of Vitamin C include green salads, citrus fruits, cauliflower, potatoes, and tomatoes.
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