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Vitamins We Need To Function

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

VITAMINS YOU NEED TO FUNCTION

We need vitamins to function. Our bodies don’t make them on their own. This is why it is essential for us to make sure we are fueling with nutrient-dense foods. My previous post was about EATING the foods that contain the most vitamins and minerals. Today I am going to give a brief overview of what vitamins actually do inside our bodies. If you know their function it may be more motivation for you to consume foods that contain them.


VITAMIN A

Vitamin A is essential for vision, skin, proper function of the immune system, and bone growth. It is also an antioxidant. A few foods that contain Vitamin A are sweet potato, Bok choy, tuna, eggs, cheese, carrots, kale, and spinach.


B VITAMINS

There are 5 B Vitamins. I will go through each one at a time.

Vitamin B1, or Thiamin helps us metabolize carbs and fat. It’s also necessary for growth and development and nerve and muscle function. Foods that contain B1 are pork, tuna, beans, salmon, and green peas.

Vitamin B2, or Riboflavin helps us metabolize ALL foods and release energy to our cells. It also helps us produce red blood cells, which we need to live. You can get B2 from foods like salmon, mushrooms, pork, eggs, yogurt, lamb, beef, almonds, and mackerel.

Vitamin B3 or Niacin helps convert food to energy. It also helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and nervous system. B3 is present in chicken, tuna, pork, salmon, beef, turkey, shrimp, mushrooms, and potatoes.

Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine is necessary for protein metabolism and absorption. It promotes nerve and brain function and helps with blood glucose regulation and red blood cell formation. B6 is present in a variety of foods such as dark meat turkey, sesame seeds, oatmeal, salmon, edamame, avocado, banana, chickpeas, lentils, and beef.

Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin helps with nerve function, brain function, and red blood cell formation. You can get B12 by eating beef, chicken, tuna, turkey, yogurt, mussels, cheese, and almond milk.


VITAMIN C

Vitamin C supports the body’s tissues that strengthen bones, teeth, skin, and tendons. It also aids in the absorption of iron and is an antioxidant. You can get Vitamin C from bell peppers, citrus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and sweet potato.


VITAMIN D AND E

Most people think they can only get Vitamin D from milk, but this is not true. We synthesize Vitamin D via direct sunlight on the skin. So, being in the sun for 20 minutes is a good thing and your body needs it. However, you can also get Vitamin D from tuna, salmon, and egg yolks. Vitamin D’s function is to help build and maintain teeth and bones and it also enhances calcium absorption.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant and protects cell membranes from damage. It is a natural blood thinner and improves skin health by reducing collagen breakdown. Foods that contain Vitamin E are sunflower seeds, spinach, squash, swiss chard, and almonds.


FOLATE

Folate assists with red blood cell formation and protein metabolism. It also works to build genetic material and prevent birth defects during pregnancy. Foods like broccoli, avocado, chickpeas, beets, asparagus, and black beans contain folate.


VITAMIN K

Vitamin K helps your blood clot and also helps build and maintain healthy bones. You can get Vitamin K from foods like sauerkraut, parsley, brussels sprouts, broccoli, romaine lettuce, blueberries, and avocado.


PANTOTHENIC ACID

This plays a key role in energy metabolism and can be found in foods like chicken, egg yolks, beef, turkey, lentils, yogurt, and mushrooms.

This is not an end-all-be-all list of foods that contain these vitamins, nor does it cover every detail of what each one does precisely. That would take a lot of blogs to cover all of the scientific detail. However, this hopefully helps you understand the importance of the food you are eating. Why it is essential that you choose vegetables over a bag of chips or eggs over cereal.

Small swaps add up, not just in the way of weight loss, but also in the way you feel, the way you function, and the length and quality of your life.

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