It has been proved that vitamins help us improve not only our health but also our mental state. Depression and low serotonin levels can be alleviated by simply eating a better diet, rich in fresh vegetables and fruits that contain many vitamins. Next I will give you some general information about vitamins, because in my opinion a basic knowledge about our body’s needs is the first step in creating the perfect diet.
General definition and classification
Vitamins are organic chemical compounds (or set of compounds) that cannot be synthetized in sufficient quantities by your organism, and must be obtained from the diet. Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. In humans there are 13 vitamins: 4 fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C). Be careful with fat-soluble vitamins because they’re not excreted from the body as easily as water-soluble ones , so the risk of hypervitaminosis is higher.
List of vitamins and foods we find them in
- Vitamin A
– animal foods : liver, eggs, butter, cheese, milk, fish, meat;
– plant foods : green leafy vegetables, yellow fruits and vegetables, carrots;
High level of Vitamin A : halibut liver oil – 900.000 mcg/100g , cod liver oil 18.000 mcg/100g, carrot 1167 mcg/100g, butter 825 mcg/100g, spinach 607 mcg/100g;
Functions of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is the “beauty vitamin”. It keeps the skin smooth and soft and also it is beneficial for your eyes. It also prevents infections and controls the action of bone cells.
The daily requirement for Vitamin A in adults is 5000 UI for men , and 4000 UI for women.
Most frequent deficiency symptoms
– Inability to see in the dim night, muddy and wrinkled skin , kidney and bladder stones;
Over dosage symptoms
– drowsiness, sluggishness, severe headaches, peeling of skin, hair loss, fatigue;
- Vitamin B Complex
B vitamins are found in whole unprocessed foods. Processed carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour tend to have lower B vitamin than their unprocessed counterparts. B vitamins are particularly concentrated in meat such as turkey and tuna, in liver and meat products. Good sources for B vitamins include whole grains, potatoes, bananas, chili peppers,beans, and molasses.
The B vitamins may be necessary in order to: support and increase the rate of metabolism, maintain healthy skin and muscle tone, enhance immune and nervous system function, help prevent anemia, reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.
1. Vitamin B1 : rich in : whole wheat 0,4 mg/100g , egg 0,1mg/100g , liver 0,36 mg/100g , groundnut 0,9mg/100g;
Daily requirements : adults 1,8 mgm
2. Vitamin B2 : rich in : liver 1,7 mg/100g , egg 0,4 mg/100g , leafy vegetables 0,15 – 0,3 mg / 100g , milk 0,19 mg/100g;
Daily requirements : adults 1,5-1,8 mgm
3. Vitamin B3: rich in : meat, fish, liver, maize;
Daily requirements : adults 12-18 mgm
4. Vitamin B5 : rich in liver, kidney, egg yolk , milk;
Daily requirements : not precisely known , aprox. 10 mgm
5. Vitamin B6: rich in cereal germs, leafy vegetables, liver, kidney, meat, yeast;
Daily requirements : adults 2 mgm
6. Vitamin B8 : rich in yeast, egg yolk, cauliflower, peas, liver, kidney.
Daily requirements : 150 – 300 micro-grams
7. Vitamin B9 ( folic acid) : rich in spinach, broccoli, beans, grains, liver;
Daily requirements : under 400 micro – grams (toxicity level)
8. Vitamin B12 : rich in milk, cheese, liver, kidney, fish , eggs;
Daily requirements : 1 mcg
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
– fresh fruits, mainly in citrus fruits(orange, lemon, papaya, guava) , fresh vegetables like cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, parsley.
Benefits: Vitamin C acts like an antioxidant helping with tissue development and repair, increases the power of our immune system and lowers the level of LDL ( bad cholesterol).
Daily requirements: 75 mgm,;Vitamin C does not have a toxicity level , it also is the only vitamin that cannot be supplied by our body. Anyway, it is not indicated to overcome 1g per day.
Deficiency symptoms : fatigue, hemorrhages, risk of infections.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is found in some food but mainly it is produced by our body from contact to UV rays of the sun. Vitamin D + Calcium helps our body develop strong bones and also prevents osteoporosis. it is stored mainly in the fat depots.
– halibut liver oil , cod liver oil, shark liver oil, fish fat, eggs, butter, milk.
Daily requirements : approx. 500-600 i.u.
Deficiency symptoms: soft, easily bent bones, dental caries, loss of calcium.
- Vitamin E
Sources: widely distributed in foods; vegetable oils, sunflower seed, egg yolk, butter.
Daily requirements : 15-20 mgm
Deficiency symptoms: sterility in males, abortion in females;
- Vitamin K ( antihaemorrhagic factor)
Sources: spinach, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, asparagus, green beans.
Daily requirements: a normal mixed diet supplies the necessary amount of Vitamin K
Deficiency symptoms: imperfect blood coagulation, haemorrhages.