A vitamin is an organic compound needed by the body and crucial for maintaining health and fitness. It helps in growth and repair of the body and in the maintenance of metabolism rate. It is a nutrient as the body cannot produce it on its own. Instead it is derived from external sources, mainly fruits and vegetables.The most common Vitamins are:
Vitamin A: It neutralized the effect of free radicals by acting as an antioxidant. It improves vision and ensures normal bone development. It helps in keeping the skin healthy. The common source of Vitamin A is apricots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach and carrots.
Vitamin B1: It is responsible for converting fats into energy which can be used by the body to perform various activities. It ensures proper functioning of the heart, digestive and nervous system. It is present in whole grains, wholemeal products, artichokes, leeks, mushrooms, soy beans, potatoes, peas, sweet corn, etc.
Vitamin B2: This vitamin is responsible for the normal growth and development and release of energy from carbohydrates. Food items such as artichokes, broccoli, whole grains, turnip greens, and milk and yogurt products are a good source of Vitamin B2.
Vitamin B6: It is essential for the development of antibodies to keep off infections and make the blood cell work efficiently. Its source is bananas, grapes, eggplant, green cabbage, shallots, squash, turnips, nuts, raspberries and whole grains.
Vitamin C: It is a healing agent and should be consumed in larger quantities especially during a period of injury or while fighting an infection. It fortifies the body against infection and quickens the healing process. Its sources include apples, squash, blackberries, radish, tomatoes, turnips, melons, pears, lettuce, citrus fruits and cabbage.
Vitamin E: This vitamin is an antioxidant and neutralizes the body against free radicals. Blueberries, green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and soy beans are a good source of Vitamin E.
Niacin (B3): This vitamin ensures proper functioning of the digestive and nervous system along with healthy skin. It breaks down fats into carbohydrates and is found in artichokes, mushrooms, peas, soy beans, sweet corns and green leafy vegetables.
Folate (Folic Acid): it is responsible for the healthy growth and development of new tissues. It can be consumed in higher quantity during a period of injury or even pregnancy. Sources of Folic acid are oranges, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, kidney beans, French beans and mushrooms.
Pantothenic Acid (B5): It breaks down fats, proteins and carbohydrates to release energy to maintain the cell structure of the blood. Avocado, artichokes, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, broad beans, broccoli and haricot beans are good sources of this vitamin.