The Importance Of Vitamins
Eating a healthy diet is an important part of overall well-being. Good nutrition is instrumental for avoiding some types of chronic disease. Many people pay close attention to their diets to ensure that they consume the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. However, some groups of people are especially at risk for vitamin deficiencies, including women of childbearing age and Mexican-Americans. Shedding light on vitamins can help people understand their importance and easy ways to incorporate them into their diet.
Foods contain various vitamins and minerals. The human body needs vitamins to help support various functions, such as cell growth and development. Different vitamins perform different functions, and any deficiencies in specific vitamins could cause health problems. The body needs 13 essential vitamins for optimal function. These vitamins include vitamins A, C, D, E, and K. The B vitamins are also important, and they include B1, B2, B3, B6, B7, and B12. The body also needs folate and pantothenic acid.
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Vitamins fall into two separate categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. The body stores fat-soluble vitamins in fatty tissue. These vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. When people consume dietary fat, their bodies absorb fat-soluble vitamins more readily. The body must use water-soluble vitamins immediately because the body does not store most of them for future use. The body excretes most extra water-soluble vitamins in urine. However, excess vitamin B12 is not excreted. The liver can store this vitamin for an extended time.
Attention to vitamin consumption can help the body avoid specific health issues, such as heart issues. Eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can help ensure adequate bone density. When women of child-bearing age consume adequate amounts of folate, the risk of some birth defects decreases. Nerve damage can occur if people do not consume enough vitamin B12.
A number of lifestyle issues can contribute to a vitamin deficiency. A poor diet is one way that people might not ingest sufficient vitamins. Emotional stress and excessive alcohol consumption can also interfere with the way the body absorbs vitamins. If someone has a vitamin deficiency, they may often feel tired and low on energy. Sometimes people may have dry skin, dull hair, and chapped lips when they are missing important vitamins from the diet. Loss of appetite and emotional disturbances are also possible with vitamin deficiencies.
- Dietary Importance of Vitamins
Optimally, people will receive the vitamins they need for good health from the foods they eat. However, this may not always be possible. To avoid potential deficiencies, physicians might recommend a vitamin supplement. Supplements usually provide the essential B vitamins, folate, and vitamins D and E. Supplements can be a safety net in place for times when meals do not include foods rich in vitamins. Supplements may also be beneficial for people in high-risk groups who may lack specific vitamins.
Experts have researched to determine the amounts of vitamins people need every day for optimal health. These amounts are called the recommended daily allowances. People should try to ingest a healthy diet that provides these vitamins. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins. Dark leafy vegetables and dark fruits are high in vitamins A, E, and K; folate; and pantothenic acid. Lean meats are high in niacin and vitamins B1, B6, and B12. It is important not to exceed the RDA for fat-soluble vitamins, however, because the body will store these excess vitamins in fatty tissue. Harmful health issues could result from exceeding vitamin RDAs. Some product lines like TruVision, that claim to have vitamins, should also be taken with caution incase of exceeding RDAs.
Generally, physicians urge people to get the bulk of their vitamins from the foods they eat and to use supplements as a backup to ensure that they reach RDAs for specific vitamins every day. A focus on fresh fruits and vegetables and striving to eat a variety of different types of healthy foods will usually provide ample vitamins. Additional goals include consuming more whole grains, lean meats, and foods rich in calcium. Consult a physician or a registered dietitian for specific dietary and vitamin recommendations that fit your age, ethnicity, and lifestyle.
Summer Banks has researched over 5000 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. Previously, she managed 15 supplement brands, worked with professionals in the weight loss industry and completed coursework in nutrition at Stanford University.