Vital vitamins: 5 major ones you need to know
Meeting all the vitamins you need to know to stay balanced.
Vitamins are an important element of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and consuming the recommended daily intake is recommended by health professionals.
However, with so many vitamins each offering their own widespread health benefits, it can be confusing and stressful trying to differentiate one from another.
While vitamins in the form of capsules or tablets can be handy if you are pressed for time or have limited access to fresh produce, they don’t come close to providing the nutrition vitamin naturally found in food can.
While there 13 essential vitamins in total, this week we explore 5 of these major vitamins you need to know, and break down where you can find these in a straightforward, easy to understand way.
A mandatory vitamin that offers a range of health benefits and protective qualities, Vitamin A is naturally present in a range of food products.
The science: Vitamin A is actually a group of fat-soluble compounds which contain retinol, retinoic acid, carotenoids and retinal. Confusing? We know! In short, Vitamin A is found in both plant and animal products.
Benefits: Good long term vision, healthy teeth and skin, protects against certain cancers, boosts immune system, supports strong bones, improved reproductive health, foetal growth and developed (in pregnant women).
Foods that contain Vitamin A: Eggs, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, certain breakfast cereals, skim milk, green leafy vegetables, sweet potato, cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, feta cheese.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, and can present with symptoms such as fatigue, paleness, gastrointestinal distress, heart palpitations and vision loss. Boost your B12 intake and reap the endless benefits.
The science: Vitamin B12 is part of what is referred to as “B group vitamins”. These include B1, B2, B5 and B6, and each play their own important role in supporting vitality.
Benefits: Normal brain and nervous system function, red blood cell formation, DNA regulation, foetal development and protection, anemia prevention, strong bone health, better vision, improved mood and lower levels of depression.
Foods that contain Vitamin B12: Meat, liver, fish (salmon, tuna and trout), dairy products, eggs, yeast, Vegemite, coconut milk, certain breakfast cereals, soy milk.
Arguably the most famous vitamin of them all, the importance of Vitamin C is something that is drummed into us from childhood. Half time footy oranges, anyone?
The science: Scientifically referred to as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is perhaps most well known for its many deficiencies that were common generations ago, most commonly in the form of the disease scurvy. Thankfully, scurvy is now rare thanks to the range of fresh fruit we now have access to.
Benefits: Healthy skin, bones and connective tissue, timely healing of wounds, infection prevention, iron absorption.
Foods that contain Vitamin C: Capsicum (all colours), kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, broccoli, tomato, berries, brussel sprouts, cauliflowers, potato (all kinds).
Be sure to prioritise Vitamin D during the cold months, to ensure optimum health and mood. Beat the winter blues with delicious food!
The science: Vitamin D intake should be boosted during the cold, dark winter months, as it is naturally taken in through exposure to sunlight. Another fat-soluble vitamin, Vitamin D plays a vital role in human biology.
Benefits: Calcium absorption, boosted immune system, less infections and illness, improved wound healing, better overall mood, improved energy, healthy skin and bones, faster hair growth.
Foods that contain Vitamin D: Fatty fish varieties (tuna, salmon etc), cheese, egg yolks, orange juice, soy milk.
Vitamin E deficiency is luckily a rare phenomenon, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t educate yourself on the importance of this essential vitamin. It’s also found in olive oil - so drizzle that La Española Olive Oil with abandon!
The science: A group of eight fat soluble compounds, Vitamin E can be naturally found in a number of foods and plant-derived substances, but is also often added during the food production process.
Benefits: Improved hair, eye and skin health, anti-ageing qualities, UV damage reduction, better heart health, immune system protection, inflammation protection, lower cancer risk.
Foods that contain Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, olive oil, avocado, spinach, salmon, pine nuts, mango, kiwi fruit, lobster, cod, cashew nuts, olives.
Following the Mediterranean Diet is an easy way to make sure you meet your recommended daily vitamin and nutritional intake. Our blog is full to the brim of articles examining this lifestyle switch and why it’s now named the healthiest diet in the world. You can also find many healthy Spanish recipes on our website, which are jam-packed with the vitamins we just looked at.