When people talk about healthy produce, they instantly think of fresh vegetables as some of the best examples of healthy foods, and when asked why that is, people generally tend to focus on the fact that they are enriched with vitamins. Whilst vegetables do indeed contain copious amounts of vitamins, there are plenty of other foods out there that also contain vitamins, not to mention supplements as well. Whilst we know that we should ideally be consuming plenty of vitamins, sadly, for one reason or another, most people are deficient in at least one vitamin, though truthfully the numbers are generally much higher than that as deficiencies in multiple vitamins are now more common than ever. As people are generally eating more for convenience than health, we’re lacking vitamins and other nutrients and are paying a very heavy price. Here’s a look at 7 vitamins we should all be consuming, and where they can be naturally obtained.
Thiamine, otherwise known as vitamin B1, is a water soluble vitamin that simply must be consumed on a daily basis, because it cannot be stored in any other location in the body. Vitamin B1 is essential for a number of reasons, though primarily it is responsible for generating energy. This is because the vitamin enables the body to process carbohydrates that we consume each day, and convert them into energy in the form of glucose. It also strengthens and boosts the nervous system, assisting with cellular function within the CNS (Central Nervous System). Whilst vitamin B1 supplements are available, it can also be found naturally within foods such as sunflower seeds, yellowfin tuna, lentils, and black beans.
Vitamin C is one of the most common and well known vitamins in the entire world, yet people still lack it for one reason or another. It too is water soluble, so it has to be consumed daily. Vitamin C helps to boost and strengthen the immune system thanks to its natural antioxidant properties, where it helps to fight off toxins and free radicals, providing an element of protection for the immune system. It also has some physiological benefits, especially in regards to our muscles. Vitamin C helps to maintain and strengthen connective tissue located in cartilage and joints throughout the body, making it very important for athletes, bodybuilders, and elderly individuals struggling with joint issues. We all know that vitamin C supplements are very popular, but other sources of vitamin C also include: citrus fruits, garlic, colourful vegetables, and green leafy vegetables.
Biotin is another very important nutrient that isn’t strictly a vitamin. You see, biotin functions primarily by acting as a catalyst for other nutrients we consume, as it allows the body to absorb more of them and so it can therefore maximize their health qualities. Biotin also improves red blood cell health as it increases natural red blood cell production, which then increases natural haemoglobin levels. This allows red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body, so the more red blood cells we have, and the healthier they are, the more oxygen our cells have, and the more energy and health they will enjoy as a result. Biotin is scarcely found in whole food sources, so biotin supplements are essential.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, which means that it has to be broken down in the presence of lipids. Vitamin A is sometimes known as retinol, and it plays a vital role in strengthening the immune system, whilst promoting healthy eyesight and vision. Not only that, but vitamin A is also very important in regards to bone growth and density, which is why young developing children need plenty of this vitamin. Vitamin A is commonly found in carrots and sweet potatoes, along with other root vegetables such as turnips, squash, and pumpkin. It is also found in fresh spinach, and can be purchased in supplement form.
You may have heard vitamin D, which is fat soluble, as being referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ before, and for good reason. Vitamin D can actually be synthesized naturally by our own bodies, but in order to do so, it requires natural sunlight rays from the sun. Vitamin D is primarily used by the body to assist with the uptake of phosphorus and calcium, both of which are minerals which are very important for our bones. Without vitamin D, any calcium that we consumed would simply be absorbed into other tissues in the body, where it would basically be deemed useless. With vitamin D however, the calcium is absorbed by the bones, where it then helps to strengthen and heal them. As well as coming from direct sunlight, vitamin D can also be found in supplement form, plus in shrimp, salmon, grass-fed milk, and whole organic or free range egg.
Vitamin B2, which you may hear being called Riboflavin, is a water soluble vitamin, which is another member of B complex family, that also assists with natural energy production, in a very similar fashion to that of vitamin B1. However, vitamin B2 also enables the body to break down and process the other macronutrients as well, meaning that it enables the body to process and break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. This assists with nutrient uptakes, plus it has been found to help improve digestive health and well-being as well. Apart from supplement form, other natural sources of vitamin B2 include foods and drinks such as fresh milk and calf’s liver, which also happens to be rich in iron.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin renowned for its immune system-boosting antioxidant properties. On top of that, vitamin E plays a key role in blood flow and circulation, and it helps to naturally repair tissues within the body, making it a very beneficial post-workout vitamin. On top of natural supplements, some of the best natural sources of vitamin E include: olives, spinach, sunflower seeds, and almonds.