Vitamins are nutrients our bodies need in order to function and stay healthy. People get their vitamins from sources such as plants, animal food products, and vitamin or dietary supplements. They are broadly categorized into fat- and water-soluble vitamins. The deficiency of certain vitamins can increase the risk of developing chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression. There are many different vitamins that play important roles in keeping us healthy. Listed below are some vitamins and their health benefits.
Folate, which is also known as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in foods such as legumes, asparagus, eggs, leafy greens, and beets. This vitamin is also available in the form of dietary supplements. It decreases the risk of congenital deformities, depression, maintains a healthy heart, and lowers the risk of a stroke. Those who have a deficiency can take folate supplements, but only after consultation from a doctor.
Vitamin B6 and other B vitamins together help the body turn food into energy. B6 alone contributes to the maintenance of a healthy body and development of a healthy brain. Some natural sources of vitamin B6 are pork, fish, soybean, and peanuts. People who are unable to fulfil their need of vitamin B6 can get it from B6 supplements upon consulting their doctor.
This vitamin plays a crucial role in the production of red blood cells and keeping the nervous system healthy. Some natural sources of B12 are eggs, milk, cod, salmon, meat, and some fortified breakfast cereals. The deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to health conditions like anemia, dementia, peripheral neuropathy, and depression. Taking supplements can reverse the effects of the deficiency of vitamin B12.
Vitamin D is needed by the body for healthy and strong bones. One of the primary functions of vitamin D is to help the body absorb phosphorus and calcium in the small intestine. A sufficient amount of vitamin D in the body contributes to lowering the risk of heart diseases, cancer, and cold and flu. Foods rich in vitamin D include certain fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, and herring. Our bodies also make vitamin D when it is exposed to the sun. Vitamin D deficiency can be treated by taking vitamin D supplements or fortified foods.
Vitamin E plays many important roles in the body because of its antioxidant activity. Vitamin E is effective in preventing the body from cancer, arthritis, oxidative stress, age-related vision loss, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cataracts. Natural sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnut oil, wheat gram oil, peanuts, avocado, Brazil nuts, kiwi fruit, and blackberries. Doctors may recommend vitamin E supplements in cases of deficiency. The supplements are often available in the form of capsules, tablets, and liquids.
Vitamin C plays a vital role in strengthening the body’s natural defenses. Vitamin C also helps in controlling high blood pressure, fighting heart diseases, reducing blood uric acid levels, and preventing iron deficiencies. Foods that provide our bodies vitamin C include potatoes, tomatoes, and citrus fruits, such as sweet oranges, grapefruit, limes, and mandarins. People with a vitamin C deficiency can consume its supplements.