It may come as no surprise that we can obtain all the natural vitamins needed for optimum health directly from the food we eat. It might take a bit of adjustment but if you're seriously thinking of switching to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, it would easily afford you all the essential vitamins nature intended us to have. Having said this, would it not be so much better to have a healthy eating plan for a life without illness and disease than a life with pain and suffering caused by the overconsumption of unhealthy food, prescription drugs and maybe some of the vitamin supplements readily available to us.
Let's be honest here, we all need vitamins for our survival but we also need vitamins to help our bodies grow and glow. We need vitamins for an alert mind. We need vitamins for smooth skin. We need vitamins for bright eyes. We need vitamins for so many things but just where do we get them from?
Vitamins give your body a boost and at the same time, help fight off illnesses. The most important source of vitamins comes from the food we eat. Vitamin supplements can only be beneficial when used correctly. If you opt for a vegetarian type healthy lifestyle which includes eating foods that benefit the mind and body, you might never have the need for supplements.
It's extremely important to find out what natural vitamins can do for you so that you can better understand why a proper balanced and healthy lifestyle is good for your wellbeing. You'll note that I don't always like using the word diet, purely because a diet is more synonymous with losing weight than living a life free of illness and disease. I'm a strong believer that if we choose to eat the right kinds of food that is healthy for us, we'll never have to worry about losing weight ever again.
Okay! Let's get down to the nitty-gritty of vitamins, why we need them and where do we find them. Firstly, vitamins are essential nutrients your body needs to function properly. They provide energy. They boost the immune system. (The body's ability to fight illness) They keep your skin healthy. They repair tissue and they ensure your nervous system and brain function properly.
Vitamin A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. They are usually found in fatty foods such as oily fish like salmon and sardines as well as liver and dairy products. These vitamins are stored in the body's fatty tissue and used when needed. However, many of these vitamins here can also be found from other sources for vegans and vegetarians such as broccoli, eggs, lettuce, yoghurt, avocado, brown rice, soya beans and nuts.
Natural vitamins such as vitamin B, C and Folic Acid found in fruits and vegetables are known as water-soluble vitamins. These vitamins are not easily stored in the body for long periods and are excreted in the urine. You need to regularly take in enough of them. However, there is a way to keep these vitamins in your system for a much longer period, for which I'll discuss in another article. Not everything we eat or drink is as "they" say they are.
Vitamin A is important for healthy eyes, teeth, hair and skin. It also promotes a healthy immune system and protects you against nose, throat and lung infections. Vitamin A is often prescribed by dermatologists. (Skin Specialists) One is for the prevention of rapid skin ageing and another is for the fight against acne. The best source of vitamin A for this is found in liver, cod liver oil, eggs, dairy products and yellow vegetables.
However, your body can also manufacture its own vitamin A from beta-carotene, which is found in dark green leafy vegetables and yellow fruit and orange vegetables such as apricots and carrots respectively. It's a great source of vitamin A. Good news for vegans and vegetarians.
Deficiency disorders can cause eye problems such as night blindness and general weakness to illnesses. Be careful not to ingest too much vitamin A as it can also poison your body. Signs of high doses of vitamin A are dry, cracked skin, bleeding gums, nausea and liver disease. It's also a fact that the overconsumption of vitamin A in animal liver can also result in human liver disease.
Vitamin B1 keeps your nervous system healthy, aids digestion and helps your heart and muscles to function properly. Good sources of vitamin B1 are whole wheat bread and breakfast cereals. However, I wouldn't recommend commercially produced cereals because most have added sugar and a few other additives you don't want to know about. It's best to purchase cereal such as raw steel-cut oats and other good grains in their whole form. You can always add some fresh-cut fruit to the mix.
Other good sources of vitamin B1 for Vegans and Vegetarians include:
You'll also get vitamin B1 from seeds such as sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Fish, Brewers yeast and milk are also sources of vitamin B1. Though I don't recommend the consumption of red meat products in any form, lean pork also contains a source of vitamin B1.
One thing to take into consideration is that, like most vitamins, vitamin B1 is easily lost during the cooking process. If you're doing any sort of cooking, lightly steam your vegetable rather. They'll also taste a lot better too. And lastly, it makes a lot more sense to eat as many raw vegetables with natural vitamins as possible.
Deficiency disorders of vitamin B1 are attributed to Beriberi, a condition that affects the nervous system. Can't say that I know of anybody who might have contracted Beriberi, but you know what they say - Prevention is far better than any cure. Here's to vitamin B1 and your good health.
Vitamin B1 helps to keep your metabolism functioning properly. It helps promote healthy skin, hair, nails and eyes as well as your liver. It also helps your body to convert food into fuel, notably carbohydrates into glucose, which in turn, is used to produce energy. The antioxidants found in riboflavin help fight free radicals and it's important for the production of red blood cells and human growth. Riboflavin is also needed to change vitamin B6 and folate into a format your body can use.
Good sources of vitamin B2 for Vegans and Vegetarians include:
Deficiency disorders of vitamin B2
Vitamin B3 is an important water-soluble vitamin that helps with blood circulation and has the power to lower blood pressure. Vitamin B3 also helps with digestion, helps lower cholesterol levels and is vital for a healthy immune system.
Good sources of vitamin for Vegans and Vegetarians B3 include:
Severe deficiency of vitamin B3 can cause a condition known as pellagra, which is characterized by cracked, scaly skin and the so-called four D's, diarrhoea, dementia, dermatitis and eventually death.
Vitamin B5 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps your body manufacture antibodies to fight disease. Vitamin B5 aids in cell growth improves metabolism, helps heal wounds and is essential for the functioning of the adrenal glands, which produce hormones that assist in dealing with stress.
Good sources of vitamin B5 for Vegans and Vegetarians include:
While vitamin B5 deficiency is rare, it may include symptoms such as depression, irritability, insomnia, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, respiratory infections and burning feet.
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin involved in the process of making norepinephrine and serotonin, chemicals that transmit signals in the brain. It also promotes the absorption of vitamin B12, improves metabolism and is necessary for healthy skin and a strong immune system.
Good sources of vitamin B6 for Vegans and Vegetarians include:
Deficiency disorders of vitamin B6 include Anaemia, which is a shortage of red blood cells that transports oxygen to your body. If you do not get enough vitamin B6, it can also cause skin and blood circulation problems.
Vitamin B12 may not be such a big concern for vegetarians but it is a little unsettling for Vegans. While vegetarians can get their daily dose from dairy products, vegans have to dig little deeper. But there are a few options. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin also known as cobalamin that plays a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system as well as the production of red blood cells. It also helps with your body's growth.
Good sources of vitamin B12 for Vegans and Vegetarians include:
Fermented foods such as Miso and Tempeh are traditional soy products said to contain inactive forms of vitamin B12. Sea vegetables are also sometimes reported to contain vitamin B12.
Anaemia, an iron-containing protein deficiency of vitamin B12, is a condition in which there are insufficient red blood cells or haemoglobin in the blood, resulting in paleness and weariness. Haemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to your body's tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues back to your lungs. Without enough of it, your muscles and organs don't get all the oxygen they need.
We've all heard of Vitamin C. It helps the body fight infection and also helps to prevent blood clots and high cholesterol. Many of us take vitamin C supplements whenever there's a likelihood of getting a cold or flu symptoms. However, I strongly believe that if you're getting enough vitamin C directly from vitamin C foods, you won't ever have to worry about these symptoms again. It's all a matter of prevention rather than having to find a cure. If you're living a high-fat lifestyle and not eating enough fruit and vegetables, there's a good chance you'll have a vitamin C deficiency.
Good source of vitamin C includes:
Apart from colds and the flu, the deficiency of vitamin C includes a variety of symptoms including infections as well as scurvy, a condition that mostly affects your gums. On the other hand, too much vitamin C can cause diarrhoea.
Vitamin E helps protect you against rapid ageing. It also helps heal wounds and reduces scar development. And it's also used in a lot of moisturising creams.
Good sources of vitamin E for Vegans and Vegetarians include:
Deficiency of vitamin E includes Anaemia and muscular weakness.
Few people have even heard about Vitamin K, but this particular vitamin is important for normal blood clotting as well as the fact that it helps you to maintain bone mass.
Good source of vitamin K for Vegans and Vegetarians include:
Deficiency of vitamin K includes a tendency to bleed easily.
Vitamin D helps with the healthy development of your bones and teeth. It also helps to promote the absorption of minerals such as calcium and phosphorous.
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, however, you always need to use sunblock and preferably stay out of the sun between 10 am and 3 pm to help protect yourself from sun damage and skin cancer.
Other good sources of vitamin D include:
Deficiency of vitamin D includes tooth decay and bone conditions such as osteoporosis and rickets. So folks, that just about wraps things up for these natural vitamins. I hope you gained a fair amount of knowledge from all of this.
Please take note that the information on this site is designed for educational purposes and is intended solely for general readership. The contents herein are not intended to offer any personal medical advice or to diagnose any health issues you may have. This information is also by no means a substitute for medical care by a licensed healthcare provider. For that, you'd need to consult your medical doctor or a health care practitioner for any advice should you require prescription medication.