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I am so glad that you have an interest in vitamins for nutrition. In this post I want to help educate everybody on all the different types of Vitamins. I also want to explain what each vitamin does for the human body and how much we should consume on a daily basis. Furthermore, I will explain where you can find all of the vitamins pertaining to plant based foods. This way, you can rest assured that a Vegan diet can suffice all of your vitamin needs.
There are 13 Vitamins in the world. Listed below are the amounts of plant based foods that will give you your daily intake for each vitamin.
Vitamin A –
-1 cup of Sweet Potato
-1 cup of Winter Squash
-1 cup of cooked Kale
-2 cups of Collard Greens
-3 medium sized Carrots
– 5 large wedges of Cantaloupe
Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin)
– 2 tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast
-2 cups of Black Beans
– 6 1/2 cups of baked Acorn Squash
– 15 ounces of Sunflower Seeds
– 7 cups of Whole Wheat Macaroni
Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin)
– 2 1/2 cups grilled, sliced Portobello Mushroom
– 1 cup of Almonds
– 15 Muscadine Grapes
– 1 cup of fortified Breakfast Cereal
– 2 cups of cooked Oats
Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)
– 8 tablespoons of Peanut Butter
– 4 medium Avocados
– 5 cups of cooked Mushrooms
– 5 cups of Green Peas
Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic Acid)
– 2 cups of Shiitake Mushrooms
– 1 cup of Sunflower Seeds
– 4 cups of Peas
– 4 cups of Tomato Pureed
– 5 cups of Yellow Sweet Corn
– 2 cups of Chickpeas
– 3 1/2 cups of Pistachios
– 3 Avocados
– 5 medium sized Bananas
– 4 cups of Acorn Squash
Vitamin B-7 (Biotin) *** There is No Recommended Daily Intake for Biotin ***
– Sunflower Seeds
– Sweet Potatoes
Vitamin B-9 (Folate)
– 1 cup of cooked Lentils
– 1 1/2 cups of cooked Asparagus
– 2 cups of cooked Spinach
– 2 1/2 cups of cooked Collard Greens
– 2 cups of cooked Turnip Greens
– 3 1/2 cups of raw Romaine Lettuce
– 2 cups of Fortified Cereals
– 2 table spoons of Fortified Nutritional Yeast
– 2 cups of Soy Milk
– B12 supplements (But do your research before consuming these)
– 1 Kakdu Plum
– 1/2 cup of Acerola Cherries
– 1 1/4 cups of chopped Kale
– 1 cup of Strawberries
– 2 medium sized Oranges
– 2 cups of cooked Mushrooms
– 5 cups of Soy Milk
– 2 cups of Fortified Cereal
– 2 Cups of Oatmeal
– 1 tablespoon of Wheat Germ Oil
– 2 ounces of Sunflower Seeds
– 2 ounces of Almonds
– 2 tablespoons of Sunflower Oil
– 6 ounces of Pine Nuts
– 1/2 cup of Kale
– 1/2 cup of Mustard Greens
– 1 Medium leaf of Swiss Chard
– 1/2 cup of Collard Greens
– 1 cup of Spinach
What are Vitamins? What is Their Role for Us?
Vitamins have many different roles and are composed of different periodic elements such as carbon, hydrogen and oxygen to name a few. The role of vitamins is essential for our bodies to operate effectively. We must consume all 13 vitamins in order for us to live and fight off disease. Here is an abbreviated list of what vitamins can do. They can store and release energy, metabolize fats and carbohydrates, metabolize proteins, repair and build cells, produce hormones, maintain our nervous system, protect our immune system, improve our vision, flush out toxins, prevent blood clotting, ensure bone growth and balancing of minerals. Very critical stuff, wouldn’t you say?
There are 2 Types of Vitamins : Water soluble and Fat Soluble Vitamins
The water-soluble vitamins are the 8 different B Vitamins and Vitamin C. Water-soluble vitamins, once consumed, are easily dissolved in water and therefore enter the body’s bloodstream quickly. This allows water-soluble vitamins to move around our bodies easily in order to help where needed. Our bodies Kidneys are responsible for regulating our water-soluble vitamins. Any excess or unneeded amount of these vitamins will be disposed through our urine.
The fat-soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, D, E and K. These vitamins enter the bloodstream in a more complicated fashion. They have to be broken down in our stomach acid and then digested in our small intestine. While in the small intestine, these vitamins meet Bile. Bile is a bitter alkaline fluid that aids in digestion and is needed for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Once bile has broken down the fat-soluble vitamins, they are able to be absorbed through the small intestinal walls into lymph vessels. Here, they are ready to be transfered from the lymph vessels to our bloodstream where they can help nurture and support our body. In order to move throughout the body, fat-soluble vitamins need to be aided with the help of proteins. Lastly, any excess of fat-soluble vitamins are stored in our liver and fat tissues. This allows our bodies to use these vitamins whenever we are running low on a particular fat-soluble vitamin. Pretty cool stuff!
What Each Vitamin Does for the Human Body
Vitamin A – This vitamin is classified as the “Retinoid” Vitamin. Vitamin A is a wonderful antioxidant because of its carotenoid properties. Carotenoids fight against free radicals which are highly reactive molecules that create a chemical imbalance in our bodies. This imbalance creates oxidative stress which has been linked to cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Vitamin A can also be great for eye sight. It helps eye sight with color vision, low-light vision, maintaining the membrane that protects our eye balls and also the inside of our eye lids. It also is great in maintaining surface tissues like our skin, lungs, bladder and intestines.
This vitamin is also great in supporting the immune system. It does this by facilitating the growth of T-cells, which is a certain type of white blood cell that protects our bodies from infection. Lastly, Vitamin A is great for fertility and fetal development. It helps with the health of placenta and also the development of sperm and eggs.
Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin) – This Vitamin is classified as the “Thiamin” Vitamin. There are different types of Thiamine. They are thiamine pyrophosphate, thiamine triphosphate, thiamine mononitrate and thiamine hydrochloride. Thiamin pyrophosphate is the most important one because it helps trigger chemical reactions that in turn help our body.
Thiamine pyrophosphate also helps in converting nutrients into energy. It is responsible for supporting glucose (sugar) formation. It is known as a coenzyme because it helps metabolic processes within our cells. Another way Vitamin B-1 can help us is with the flow of electrolytes in and out of our muscles and nerve cells. This positive impact on our cells and nervous system helps promote better memory and protects us against heart disease.
Vitamin B-2 – This vitamin is known as the “Riboflavin” B-2 Vitamin. It can be used as food coloring because it changes color in water to the color yellow. Like Thiamine, Riboflavin can also convert nutrients into energy. It is known as an antioxidant, which fights free radicals from creating oxidative stress like Vitamin A.
Riboflavin’s main function is to break down the nutrients in foods so that our body’s can access all of the wonderful benefits those nutrients have to offer. They literally break down everything from carbohydrates, proteins, fats and sugar. Without Riboflavin breaking down our foods, we would not be able to live. Lastly, Vitamin B-2 has been linked as a potential resource in treating migraines and cancer.
Vitamin B-3 – This vitamin is known as “Niacin”. This is the only B vitamin that our body’s are able to produce from the nutrient tryptophan. Niacin also functions as a coenzyme sparking chemical reactions within the body. The most important role it has is to extract energy from the sugars we consume.
It is also famous for lowering our bad cholesterol while raising our good cholesterol. Niacin has also been linked to preventing Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and brain fog. In addition to improving brain functions, Niacin has been shown to remove toxins from our liver, acting as a natural detox for our bodies. Lastly, Vitamin B-3 has been linked to help prevent “ED” for men.
Vitamin B-5 – This vitamin’s other name is “Pantothenic Acid”. It’s greek origin, pantothen, means from every side and this is because it is found in basically all foods. Pantothenic acid is mainly responsible for helping our digestive tract. Vitamin B-5 also has cosmetic uses. It is added to hair, makeup and skin products. It has been known to help with moisturizing our skin.
Most commonly, pantothenic acid is used in conjuction with other vitamin B’s to create vitamin B complex’s. Vitamin B-5 has been known to help create red blood cells. It also creates sex hormones and fights against stress. Lastly, it helps process other vitamins but most of the time it is Vitamin B-2 “Riboflavin”. That means this Vitamin also helps with the synthesizing of cholesterol.
Vitamin B-6 – Also known as “Pyridoxine“, this vitamin cannot be produced by the body so we must find foods that have it. It has been linked to improving our moods and fighting depression because this coenzyme creates chemical reactions within our neurotransmitters that regulate our emotions.
It also regulates our serotonin, which helps with sleeping. Another hormone Vitamin B-6 regulates is dopamine, which helps makes us feel good. You usually feel dopamine after physical activity. One study of 60 premenopausal women, they found that taking 50 mg of vitamin B-6 helped with their irritability and tiredness.
Vitamin B-7 – This vitamin’s other name is “Biotin”. This vitamin is a key component in fatty acid synthesis, sugar formations and amino acid metabolism. Many people take Biotin in order to help them with their skin and hair but more research is needed to support a scientific success.
Among its uses for hair and skin, it is also important to have this vitamin during pregnancy and breast feeding due to its ability of convert food into energy. No other information is factually related to this vitamin other then its ability to break down glucose and fatty acids.
Vitamin B-9 – This vitamin’s other name is “Folate” or Folic Acid. Folic Acid is not the active vitamin B-9 but “Folate” is the active vitamin B-9. Folic Acid requires enzymes to trigger a reaction that creates active vitamin B-9. The reason behind Folic Acid is that we do not naturally consume enough Folate, so they add Folic Acid to a lot of our refined grains and cereals to ignite Folate within our bodies.
Now to the benefits. High Folate consumption has been linked to preventing breast, gut, lung and pancreatic cancer. Folate consumption has also been linked to reducing inflammatory molecules that develops heart disease. Folate is also known for synthesizing our DNA and producing red blood cells. Just like many other B-Vitamins, Folate helps with the digestion process and tissue growth.
Vitamin B-12 – Also goes by the name of Cobalamin. Our body’s can not produce this so we must find ways to consume this vitamin. It is essential for our health. Just like Vitamin B-9, Vitamin B-12 is very important for the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are important because they move from our bone marrow and deliver oxygen to our vital organs.
Vitamin B-12 also fights against our bone mineral density levels. Low levels of bone minerals can lead to fragile bones and more of a risk of osteoporosis. Cobalamin has been known to fight against depression and anxiety because of it’s ability to metabolize serotonin which is a chemical in the body that helps stabilize our moods.
Vitamin C – This vitamin’s other name is “ascorbic acid”. Vitamin C is famous for fighting off diseases and colds. It is a strong antioxidant that helps with our immune system. Vitamin C helps fight off free radicals which cause oxidative stress that eventually leads to a chemical imbalance in our bodies. This leaves us vulnerable to disease and also depression.
Since Vitamin C is good in creating healthy blood cells, it has been linked to lowering high blood pressure. It has also been shown to help fight heart disease which is the leading cause of death in the world. This is because Vitamin C lowers our bad LDL cholesterol. Lastly, Vitamin C is great for healing wounds. It helps creates and nurture white blood cells that help fight off infection so that our skin can heal properly.
Vitamin D – This is also know as the vitamin that you get from the Sun. This is because its produced in our skin when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D helps prevent bow-legged appearances, which happens due to the softening of bones. Vitamin D’s famous role in the body is to help extract calcium from food in our small intestines which in turn helps with the strengthening and maintenance of bones.
This vitamin has also been known to reduce the risk of the flu during the winter by consuming it daily. Another benefit Vitamin D has been linked to is weight loss through a couple of studies. Just like a lot of the B-vitamins, Vitamin D also plays a role in helping with our moods and anxiety.
Vitamin E – Vitamin E is best known for protecting our cells. It is an antioxidant and a powerful one at that. It is able to protect us from free radicals that can lead to a chemical imbalance in our bodies. Vitamin E is great is repairing damaged cells. Repairing cells leads to longer cell life which helps fight cancer and heart disease.
Just like Vitamin C, Vitamin E helps with infection because of its efficiency in protecting our immune system. Vitamin E has also been linked to helping body processes such as muscle contractions and blood pressure. Lastly, Vitamin E has been known to help with our eye sight because it helps in decreasing cataracts.
Vitamin K – If you have read this far into the article, you are a true vitamin rock-star. Last on our list is Vitamin K. Vitamin K is famous for it’s ability to fight off blood clotting. Vitamin K produces prothrombin, which is a protein that helps fight against blood clotting. This vitamin is also known for supporting strong and healthy bones by improving bone density which leads to less fractures.
Vitamin K is also known for improving memory. A study showed that people over the age of 70 with the highest average blood levels of Vitamin K had better short term memory or episodic memory. Lastly, since this vitamin is great against blood clotting, it is great for heart health. It lowers blood pressure because it can help with preventing minerals building up in our arteries.
Thank you for Reading! You are now a Vitamin Expert!
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