vitamins nutrition

A vitamin is a nutrient that is essential for normal health and growth of the body and is required in small quantities.  There are 6 different vitamins, all playing their own unique part in the function of our health.

Vitamin C

The human body cannot make or store Vitamin C therefore it’s essential that we consume it in sufficient amounts.  It’s renown for being a good antioxidant and fantastic for healthy hair and nails.  The body needs Vitamin C for connective tissue, bones, teeth and also helps to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure,  Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and transferred into cells with the help of insulin.  It is vital for adrenal gland function; the body needs more vitamin C the more stressed you are.  The more cortisol you make, the more vitamin C you use.  Vitamin C is found in most fruit and vegetables and fresh fruit juices.

Vitamin B

There are eight B vitamins — called B complex vitamins.  They all have their own functions but collectively they help to produce energy.  Like Vitamin C, Vitamin B is  water soluble and is the most important vitamin for your adrenal function.  When you’re under constant stress, the body’s need for this vitamin will rise and  to help make Cortisol (the stress hormone).  They also have an important effect on blood sugar balance and needed for glucose metabolism.  Vitamin B6 is required for energy production and the metabolism of fatty acids.  Foods containing B Vitamins are salmon, leafy greens, organ meats, whole grains, seeds and nuts, citrus fruit, avocados, bananas, eggs and milk.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is one of the four vitamins that is fat soluble and is needed to maintain vision, help with body growth, immune function and reproductive health.  Vitamin A is found in oily fish, liver, cod liver oil, cheese and eggs.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the ‘sunshine hormone’.  It is fat soluble, the body can’t store it and is the only nutrient we produce in natural sunlight.    It is vital for regulating the absorption of calcium and helps with the immune system.  Foods high in Vitamin D are oily fish, cod liver oil, butter, canned tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, soya milk, orange juice, cereal and oatmeal.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is the third vitamin that is fat soluble and is a group of antioxidants that protect from oxidative stress.  Not getting enough can lead to infections, impaired eyesight and muscle weakness.  It is one of the most accessible vitamins in our food therefore easy to incorporate into your diet.  You can get your Vitamin E from sunflower oil and seeds, nuts, salmon, avocado, pepper, mango and kiwi to name but a few.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K concludes the 4 vitamins that are fat soluble and plays an important part in helping blood to clot and heart health.  Vitamin K is found in leafy vegetables, chicken pork, prunes, kiwi, hard cheese, avocado and soya bean oil.

Fibre

Although technically not a vitamin, fibre is essential in our diet and therefore important to discuss.  It is needed for good gut health as it leaves the stomach undigested and moves to the colon, feeding friendly gut bacteria.  Some fibres are also thought to help with weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels and easing constipation.   It is common to see many people lacking in fibre even though it is easy to get into the diet. Foods high in fibre include fruit and vegetables (leaving the skin on where possible), lentils, beans, chickpeas, legumes, quinoa, oats, dark chocolate, flax seeds and sweet potato.

It is important that we eat a balanced diet to ensure we get all the right nutrients for our body.  For more information about diet or for some advise get in touch at emma@emmawheeler.fitness.

If you enjoyed this blog, read my previous blogs here:

The Right Fuel for the Body | Emma Wheeler Fitness

Understanding Hunger Pains and Satiety | Emma Wheeler Fitness

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