Where Do I Get My Vitamins From?

Where Do I Get My Vitamins From?

Have you ever wondered where you get vitamins from? What can happen if your body is lacking some of them? Learn more about vitamin sources and absorption.

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Vitamins are always best consumed from their natural source: fresh, healthy foods. However, which foods give you the most nutrition? As healthy as our diets might be, it's hard to keep track of how many vitamins we're getting daily. It is essential to follow the guidelines for healthy eating, including eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, following guidelines for sugar and fat intake, eating at least two portions of fish a week, and one oily fish.

Watch out for overcooking foods containing water-soluble vitamins that can deplete their vitamin value; aim to eat some of your vegetables' al dente' or raw as crudites. If you feel that you need a little extra insurance for your healthy eating choices, you can also consider taking a food supplement. It is always a good idea to make sure that you eat a wide variety of foods to ensure you get the range of nutrients from your diet.

To make it easy, we have listed the essential ones below. Including these nutrients in your diet or taking a supplement in combination with a healthy lifestyle will help support your body and your active lifestyle.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal hair, normal vision and supports the function of our immune system. Dairy products are abundant in vitamin A, chicken, fish, eggs, and beef liver.

B-Complex Vitamins

Vitamin B12 contributes to normal red blood cell formation. Also, our nervous systems use it to function normally. Our bodies don't produce it, and therefore it needs to be consumed regularly. Meat, eggs, dairy products and poultry are good sources of B12, which is why vegans need to be careful to get the vitamin from alternate sources, such as wholegrain cereals, broccoli, asparagus, bananas, potatoes, nuts, figs and dates.

Folic acid or Vitamin B9 works similarly to vitamin B12, in which it contributes to normal blood formation and plays a role in cell division. It is added to many fortified loaves of bread and cereals. Folate is its naturally occurring form and is recommended for pregnant women. The NHS recommend that all pregnant women take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day – from before you're pregnant until you're 12 weeks pregnant.

It can be found abundantly in beef liver, citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, tomatoes, dried beans and wholegrain products.

Vitamin C

It is well known that vitamin C is an essential nutrient to help support the immune system; it is also an antioxidant, which helps protect cells from the free radical attack, which is the cause of oxidative stress. Vitamin C is widely available in the diet if you eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Less well known is the role Vitamin C plays in the formation of collagen. Collagen is the major structural protein in the body and is used for the normal function of the skin, cartilage, blood vessels and bones.

Vitamin D

Sunlight is needed to produce Vitamin D in the skin, but it can be low in our bodies in the winter months with less sun. Vitamin D helps the body absorb and utilise calcium, supports normal bones and teeth, and supports the normal function of the immune system and plays a role in cell division. There are very few naturally occurring dietary sources of vitamin D. Cod liver oil and oily fish are very rich natural sources. We usually consume this vitamin via fortified foods such as milk, yoghurt, orange juice and breakfast cereals.

How Are Vitamins Absorbed In The Body?

The process by which vitamins are absorbed in the body is as important as the vitamins themselves. For those leading (or attempting to lead) healthy lives, we try to eat well-balanced diets and perhaps use a daily vitamin supplement to make sure we get all of the vital nutrients our bodies need to function correctly. However, if our bodies do not adequately absorb those vitamins, we get little or no benefit from our health efforts. So how exactly does absorption happen in the body?

After food is chewed and swallowed, it travels into your stomach, where hydrochloric acid and enzymes break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The digestive system extracts the vitamins and minerals in the digested food, absorbing it into the bloodstream. These nutrients are delivered to the cells, which then absorb the ones they require.

How to improve vitamin absorption?

Vitamin intake, however, is only part of the story. Some nutrients are needed to help your body absorb other nutrients more efficiently or transport them throughout the body. For example, vitamin C increases the absorption of iron. The body also uses copper to transport the iron it needs and helps protect cells from oxidative stress.

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