The Wonderful World of Vitamins...Part 2
By Colleen Palati
In Part 1 of this article I discussed the importance of vitamins in our diet and focused primarily on fat-soluable vitamins. Today, I will explore water-soluable vitamins and their importance in our daily diet.
Water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C, choline, biotin and the seven B vitamins dissolve in water and cannot be stored in the body for extended periods of time. Any excess water-soluable vitamins are excreted in urine.
The following are descriptions of water-soluable vitamins:
Vitamin C - Look for Vitamin C in broccoli, red peppers, currants, Brussel sprouts, parsley, rose hips, citrus fruits, and strawberries. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage. Aids in wound healing, reduces the severity of the common cold, lowers cataract risk, and helps to lower blood pressure. Aids in repairing damaged cells, bones and teeth.
Choline - Also known as "lecithin". Found mainly in soybeans, liver, oatmeal, cabbage, and cauliflower. Small amounts are present in most B-complex and multivitamin supplements. Choline is essential for cell membranes, normal brain function, and to facilitate the movement of fats in and out of our cells. Large consumption of choline results in smelling like a fish, so only a small amount is needed!
Biotin - Look for biotin in organ meats, oatmeal, egg yolks, soy, mushrooms, bananas, peanuts, and brewer's yeast. Great for brittle nails and recommended for diabetes.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) - Found in wheat germ, whole wheat, peas, beans, enriched four, fish, peanuts, and meats. Great for canker sores, recommended for diabetes, and reduces seasickness. Helps to keep our nervous system, muscles, and heart working well. It can also relieve tooth pain that occurs after a visit to the dentist and aids in the digestion of carbohydrates.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) - Look for Vitamin B12 in dairy, eggs, meat, fish and poultry. A small amount can be found in spirulina, tempeh, and seaweed. Required for normal nerve cell activity and DNA replication. Aids in depression, asthma, high cholesterol, and minor injuries.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) - Found in dairy, eggs, meat, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains. Required to process amino acids, fats, folic acid, and Vitamin B6. Helps our body to convert carbohydrates into the fuel we run on. Riboflavin helps our vision, refreshes tired eyes, aids in reproduction, and eliminates sore mouths, lips and tongues. When working with other vitamins and minerals, it metabolizes fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) - Look for Vitamin B3 in peanuts, brewer's yeast, fish, meat, and whole grains. Aids the body in releasing energy from carbohydrates. Helps to regulate cholesterol and raises HDL (the good cholesterol). Improves circulation, creates healthy looking skin, eliminates bad breath, reduces migraine headaches and dizziness, and can even reduces our cravings for sweets.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) - Can be found in liver, yeast, salmon, vegetables, dairy, eggs, grains, and meats. Helps our bodies make antibodies to fight infection. Converts sugar and fat into energy and reduces fatique. Our adrenal glands depend on pantothenic acid to function well.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) - Found in potatoes, bananas, raisin bran cereal, lentils, liver, turkey, and tuna. Considered the master vitamin when processing amino acids and the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. Aids in lowering the substance that has been linked to strokes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease. Helps our body to produce antibodies, stops nausea, reduces morning sickness, relieves mouth dryness caused by certain medications, reduces leg cramps, and reduces numbness in the hands.
Folic Acid (Folate) - Can be found in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, beets, wheat germ and meat. Has made big news recently with it''s proven ability to prevent spina bifida, a very serious birth defect. A recent study determined that folic acid reduces the risk of breast cancer in woman who drink alcohol. It can also help milk production in nursing mothers, reduce pain, make our skin look healthier, kill the germs that cause food poisoning, help cells grow and divide, and helps make DNA.
It is amazing how much our overall health can improve by simply being aware of the important nutrients required to sustain a healthy lifestyle and applying that knowledge to our everyday food choices. Remember that the only body you have is yours, so take care of it and it will take care of you!
Yours in healthy living,
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