Vitamins for Nutrition – Everything Vitamins!

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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.

LET’S BEGIN!

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

Colorful-Carrots

                                     -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 Butterpeanut-butter-jelly

                                         – 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

Vitamin B-6

– 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

– Oatmeal

– Sweet Potatoes

– Broccoli

– Walnuts

Vitamin B-9 (Folate)

– 1 cup of cooked Lentils

                                           – 1 1/2 cups of cooked AsparagusCooked-Lentils-with-Onions

                                        – 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

Vitamin B-12

– 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)

Vitamin C

– 1 Kakdu Plum

– 1/2 cup of Acerola Cherries

– 1 1/4 cups of chopped Kale

– 1 cup of Strawberries

– 2 medium sized Oranges

Vitamin D

– 2 cups of cooked Mushrooms

                                   – 5 cups of Soy MilkSoy-Milk

                                     – 2 cups of Fortified Cereal

                                  – 2 Cups of Oatmeal

Vitamin E

                                  – 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

Vitamin K

– 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-Pills

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-12Also 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!

Leave a Comment or Question Below!

 

 

 

 

Eric

Hello I'm Eric and I am striving to educate people about plant based diets. I enjoy bowling, gardening and nature in my free time. Marilyn and I hope you find our site helpful in learning about a proper Vegan diet.

20 Responses

  1. Yes, vitamins in food can also vary depending on the type of soil the food was grown in.  Enter supplements which are more standardised.

    I notice when drinking wheatgrass juice, my vision gets sharper (I am short sighted) and I can see the outlines of tree leaves in the distance.  Not so with my glasses!

    There are probably more than 13 vitamins that we know of.  It seems those are the ones we have discovered.  /there are many constituents of a plant and we need to work with nature and eat food that is synergetic in nature.  Personally, I prefer to take liquid vitamins such as wheatgrass juice as the body will easily recognise the structure and component of the juice or oil (if is an essential fatty acid).

    The main thing though is to get the right amount of nutrients for our individual weight and height.  Then we will.be adequately nourished.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for your comment.  I have not done any research on how soil affects vitamin potency.  I will have to look into this.  Thank you for your insight. 

  2. Thank you so much for such an informative post on vitamins. It is always tricky to get the right vitamins as some say this is good and some say that is good and I got confused along the process. 

    I read an article saying that the mg of vitamin doesn’t matter, what matters is that the amount of vitamin that your body can absorb the vitamin. That opened my mind on what I should get for vitamins, as natural as I possibly can get my hands on. 

    When you put food on those vitamins it made me realize that I cannot possibly be having all of that. It means that I have to eat all day to just get the vitamins that I need for my body. I work in front of my computer a lot in a day, is there any good vegan vitamin A that you would recommend?

    • Thank you for the Nuttanee for the question.  I would recommend that you incorporate a cup of Kale in your diet every day.  And do not feel intimidated by having to eat all of these different vegetables listed in the first section of this article.  A lot of these vegetables cross pollinate between Vitamins.  For example, Sweet Potato can satitsfy your Vitamin A, Vitamin B-7 and Vitamin C.  So just because you sit in front of a computer and are not mobile a lot of the day doesn’t mean that you have to eat a lot to get all of your vitamins.  I will try and incorporate which vitamins are used in the recipes we are about to start sharing on this site.  Let Marilyn or I know if you have any more questions. 

  3. Though you should definitely strive to obtain a variety of nutrients every day, including vitamins and minerals, and I don’t actually recommend of vitamin supplements, to achieve this goal. One can get the majority of vitamins and minerals needed by eating a healthy, and you have given the right idea on going about it. Much appreciated.

    • Thank you Jeremiah.  I too believe that there is little need to take any supplements after I have found plant based foods that will satisfy the Daily Value for all Vitamins needed in a Vegan diet.  Thank you for your comment. 

  4. Wow, this is a really educative post. I have heard many times about vitamin C and how it helps strengthen our white blood cells which in turn fights against illnesses and about vitamin D too and how we can get that when exposed to sunlight. Infact, we used to be put under the early morning sun just so we can understand what vitamin does. Seeing this is really helpful and I’m glad I came across it. Now I know of all the vitamins and how they help. If I get any foods, drug or supplement, I can tell what vitamins I need. Great post

    • Thank you Henderson.  I was no Vitamin expert before this post and I do not think I am now either but I have a very good understanding of the importance of each Vitamin.  I am now more aware of what Vitamins I need to have in my plant based diet. 

  5. Excellent article, your write-up has opened my eyes to the essence of vitamins in the body, the types and where I can find all of the vitamins about plant-based foods, I enjoyed you very thoroughly,explaining in details. The work that vitamins do 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, and improve our vision, and I agreed with it, thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for your comment Abayomi.  I learned a lot writing and researching for this post.  It was incredibly insightful going through all of the vitamin benefits. 

  6. I had no idea of the hugely important function that these vitamins have. My wife and I are ‘nearly vegans’. No meat or dairy is a far as we’ve got to date. Considering what our diets were like ten years ago, it’s a major improvement. I take a ‘multivitamin’ every day and have done now for a few months. I like to think it helps and after reading through your article, I’m pretty sure it does. One of the benefits has to be our ability to function at a higher level. Had I not been following the diet I am sure I wouldn’t manage to accomplish as much I do.

    It was interesting to read about two in particular that reminded me of how important vitamins are to life in it’s very essence. My wife was given ‘Folic Acid’ when she was pregnant and all of our children had a Vitamin K dose when they were first born. Sometimes easy to forget how important all of this is. The list of foods is a valuable find, for sure. I’m sure it is better to get the vitamins from their natural sources, whenever possible.

    • Hey Romero.  Yes I learned a ton doing this post.  I was astounded by the fact that I thought I was getting enough Vitamin D but I had no idea so little plants have Vitamin D.  I am now aware to create a more balanced diet.  I also think people take for granted eating a better diet while pregnant.  Being pregnant is probably the most important time to be eating a balanced diet with all the proper Vitamins.  Kudos to you  and your wife and thank you for your comment. 

  7. Thank you. This was a great article. I can tell you put a lot of thought into how to get all your vitamins as a vegan. I tried being vegan and I can never figure that out. I did pretty well and tried to eat enough stuff to get enough vitamins and I took some supplements but I still wasn’t getting enough of everything. I wish I had known about this article. I think it’s good to be vegan because it’s sad what they do to animals.

    • Thank you for your comment Charles.  Soon we will be putting out Vegan Weekly Recipes.  We will have recipes for the whole week and what to buy at the shopping mart.  This way you do not have to think about what you need to get.  Hope this can help you.

  8. So glad I came across a vegan site. I am trying to ge vegan and I seem to worry if I’ll get all the goodness of non-vegan foods. I love sweet potatoes and I am glad it contains some vitamins as well. When you say it doesn’t have a recommended vitamin intake, does that mean I can have as much as I want?

    You have really explained well the roles of vitamins. I had no idea that they were that many.

    Thank you for taking your time to give us such useful insights.

    • Yes Carol.  Science has not uncovered what is the correct daily intake.  With any vitamin, especially that fat soluble vitamins, you  need to be careful with how much you consume in one day.  You can consume too much of one vitamin and become sick.  So do not go over-board with supplements.  Hope that helps!

  9. Hello Eric, interesting article you have written here and has helped to enlighten me to the germaneness of vitamins to the body and the various types of vitamins and how they could be gotten. Vitamins essence can not be overemphasized in the general maintenance of our body health and I learned on how it helps to store and releasee energy, carbohydrates, muscle maintenance and hormones maintenance too and many more. Serious, thanks for sharing this post.

  10. Thank you Eric for making me feel like a Vitamin Expert! Vitamins are awesome substances, but now I feel a bit confused. I am currently undergoing vegetarian diet (not yet into vegan), but I don’t know which vitamins should I prioritize to take first. I’m not sure that I can take all type of vitamins equally (or correct me if I’m wrong). Any basic tips for which foods to consume to cover most of the vitamins need? Thank you in advance for your answer.

    • Yes no problem.  All vitamins are important and have their benefits so I am not sure if any out rank the other.  I do know that the fat soluble vitamins can be stored in your body up to a certain time.  The water soluble vitamins tend to exit the body quicker.  I have the listed foods that contain each vitamin in the beggining of the post to help people with what to eat.  Hope that helps and hope you join the vegan way : )

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