Your Simple Guide To Essential Vitamins And The Foods You Need To Eat


Are you getting enough vitamins? Should you be taking supplements? If so, which ones? And are they going to break the bank? The world of vitamins is confusing but knowing why you need certain vitamins and which foods to get them from is vital for living a healthy life. 

Well, worry no more, we’ve taken the stress out of it for you with our simple guide to essential vitamins…

Vitamin A

Why you need it: It’s essential for reproduction and embryonic development as well as immune function, synthesising proteins, healthy sight and maintenance of body tissues. A deficiency in vitamin A can cause dry eyes, affect sight in dim light and cause dry skin and acne.

Eat more: red/orange and yellow vegetables and fruits. Try bell peppers, carrots, pumpkin, orange sweet potato, orange melon, papaya and dried fruits like prunes, apricots and peaches. Also add dark leafy veg, eggs, fish oils, liver, dried herbs and paprika to your diet.

Vitamin C

Why you need it: It’s a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals, it’s needed for a strong immune system, essential for collagen and bone formation, used or regenerating vitamin E stores and improving iron absorption. A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to poor dental health and cause wounds to not heal properly.

Eat more: Colourful fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers, kiwis, strawberries and oranges, also opt for greens like snow peas, broccoli and kale, for a super boost of vitamin C go for guava fruit!

Vitamin D

Why you need it: For immune system function, regulating glucose tolerance, modulating gene transcription and to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. A deficiency can cause low bone density and tooth decay in adults and rickets and deformed bone growth in children.

Eat more: Most should come from the sun but you can also get it from fatty fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon, egg yolks, shrimp, beef liver, cheese, milk and mushrooms.

Vitamin E

Why you need it: It’s an essential anti-oxidant and helps the body use oxygen properly and stops fats getting damaged. Vitamin E is also needed to boost immunity and reduce infections in the elderly and some studies have shown that it can help protect against heart disease. A deficiency can cause muscle weakness, impaired vision and coordination problems.

Eat more: Nuts and seeds especially almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds, plant oils, spinach, avocado, turnip greens and kale. 

Vitamin K

Why you need it: To aid with blood clotting, amino acid metabolism and helps with bone health. A deficiency can lead to a tendency to bleed, bruise or haemorrhage as well as calcium being redirected incorrectly, resulting in too much in blood vessels and not enough in bones.

Eat more: For vegetable sources (K1) go for leafy greens such as kale, turnip greens and spinach as well as broccoli, sprouts, and asparagus. For animal sources (K2) try dairy, poultry, egg yolks and beef

B Vitamins

B1 Thiamin, B2 Riboflavin, B3 Niacin, B5 pantothenic acid, B6 pyridoxine, B7 Biotin, B9 Folate, B12 Cobalamin

Why you need them: The B vitamins are a group of predominately water-soluble vitamins that cover everything from producing energy, red blood cell production and forming new proteins to maintaining healthy skin and digestive systems, nervous and immune system function and DNA synthesis and repair. Folate (folic acid in it’s supplement form) is used in feotal development. Deficiency can cause a variety of ailments depending on which B Vitamin you’re short of, these can include fatigue, anxiety, depression, anaemia, loss of appetite, damage to skin membranes and mouth inflammation.  

Eat more: To cover all the B vitamins fill your diet with he likes of beans, whole grains, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, spinach, eggs, most meats and fish and seafood  

In rare cases it is possible to have too much of a certain vitamin which can lead to toxicity, known as hypervitaminosis. Alway consult a trained professional before making dramatic changes to your diet. 

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Devinder Bains