"Eat the Rainbow." It's the latest advice in health food.…
What you put into your body affects what your body looks like and how healthy it is. This concept is generally well enough understood on a conceptual level, but putting it into practice effectively is another story.
While your body needs all kinds of nutrients, like protein, fiber, and carbohydrates, to function, another very big and important part of good nutrition is getting enough vitamins. There are a variety of vitamins that the body needs to function, or that can help the body function better, and they all have very specific roles to play. They can be acquired through your diet (often in the form of dark fruits and leafy green vegetables, among other things), or taken with supplements, but one way or another, they’re an important part of your nutrition you shouldn’t overlook. As such, Vine Vera’s going to give you a little more information about them and what they do, and we’ll look at a few of the most needed ones and their roles.
What Are Vitamins, Exactly?
Vitamins are organic compounds and nutrients that you require in specific (very small, compared to nutrients like proteins and carbs) amounts in order to survive. They tend to consist of specific molecules that serve some function in the body. Some have functions similar to hormones, such as Vitamin D, which regulates mineral metabolism, some are natural antioxidants the body relies on, like vitamin C. Vitamins fill all manner of roles in the body, and they’re all needed for optimal functioning.
Vitamin A has a few different forms, including retinol and beta-carotene. This vitamin is necessary for general growth and development, and helps maintain the immune system. Sufficient vitamin A intake is also associated with good vision.
Vitamin B Complex
The vitamin B complex consists of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12, also known as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folic acid, and calamine, respectively. Collectively, they have a crucial role in cell metabolism, the process of breaking down and converting food into useable energy, and making sure you get enough of them can help maintain steady energy levels. These 8 vitamins are often lumped into the term “B complex” because they all help with cell metabolism and work together, but they do each have specific functions that work in tandem the others in the complex, so be sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of all eight.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant, meaning it reduces stress on cells by preventing oxidation reactions from occurring. It does more than that, though: vitamin C is a necessary component in the process of collagen formation, making it essential for good skin.
Vitamin D is the vitamin that’s known to be formed by exposing yourself to sunlight. However, getting it from your diet or supplements is preferable, because getting it from sun exposure is tricky and you could easily damage your skin or get a sunburn. Vitamin D is necessary for increasing absorption rates for calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc, meaning you’ll only get the most out of consuming those minerals if you have enough vitamin D.
Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant, and also plays an important role in neurological function, so getting the right amount (but not too much!) of vitamin E is helpful for nervous system health.
The last of the thirteen vitamins known to medicine, vitamin K is essential for synthesizing various proteins that the body uses to coagulate blood and bind calcium to bones, making them strong and healthy.