Vitamins A, B and C are all vital parts of our everyday diet. But what exactly are they? Why are they so important? And where can we find them?
Learn your ABC’s......................................
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and is essential for healthy vision, eyes, skin formation, proper bone growth and mucous membranes. Vitamin A also acts in the body as an antioxidant (see our blog on antioxidants for more information). Whilst Vitamin A is extremely important, excess Vitamin A can be dangerous and is therefore stored in the liver. Excess Vitamin A can cause headaches, double-vision and liver and bone damage. There are two sources of dietary vitamin A, active forms and precursors. Active forms of vitamin A are obtained from animal products. Precursors, also known as provitamins, are obtained from fruits and vegetables containing yellow, orange and dark green pigments. These pigments are known as carotenoids, the most well-known being beta-carotene. Our body can convert carotenes into retinol. Adequate intake of beta-carotenes has been linked with low risk of certain cancers. Foods rich in Vitamin A include, liver, carrots, sweet potato, capsicum and spinach.
Now B is a complex one as it takes many forms. Vitamin, B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12 are all required by our bodies for many different functions. B1 is needed to help release energy from carbohydrates and can be found in foods such as, quorn, yeast, sunflower seeds, peanuts and lean pork. B2 releases energy from fats and protein and good sources of our B2 friend are found in yeast, liver, cheddar cheese and eggs. B3 is also an “energy from food” releaser and is hiding in great quantities in yeast, liver, chicken breast and tuna. B6 is needed for, amongst other things, healthy blood, and rich sources are found in lentils, salmon, turkey and squid. Finally B12 is important for the formation of blood cells and nerves and to find this little fellow you need to be eating liver, oysters, scallops and prawns.
Now here is a vitamin we have all heard of. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant vitamin that is essential to maintain a healthy immune system, to build healthy corrective tissue, bones and teeth, to heal wounds and it also assists in the body’s absorption of iron. Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and is also loved for reducing the severity of the common cold. No body organ stores vitamin C, hence the reason we need to consume this vitamin on a daily basis. Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, however can be lost in preparation and cooking, therefore fresh is the key! Find your friend Vitamin C in guava, chilli peppers, capsicum, strawberries, oranges, kiwi fruit, red cabbage and broccoli.
Now you know your ABC’s next time won’t you eat with me!