What Do Vitamins Actually Do?

We all seem them on the packaging our food comes in but have we ever really stopped to think what the vitamins that we eat every day actually do. This isn’t designed to spook anyone or spark and panic; as far as I’m aware pretty much all vitamins (especially the ones in your food) will do you no harm. However, knowing what benefits each kind of vitamin provides will be handy to know as we are trying more and more to eat a nutritious and balanced diet.

Vitamin A

One of the most common ones you are likely to see on the side of a food packet, Vitamin A is vital for everyone. It is important for a strong and healthy immune system so make sure you get a good amount during those cold winter months. It also crucial for maintaining healthy eyes and vision; a deficiency in vitamin A has been proved to be a cause of impaired vision.

Sources: spinach, carrot, broccoli, butter, papaya and beef, pork, chicken and fish liver

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is a vital supplement; it benefits pretty much every area of your body from healthy skin and hair to increasing the metabolism (therefore aiding weight loss). It is also very important for the body’s immune system and has been proven to reduce the risk of some types of cancer.

Sources: potatoes, whole grain, lentils, most beans, tuna and chilli peppers

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a well-known vitamin and, in the form of lemons and limes, was responsible for preventing diseases such as scurvy in the great navies of the 18th and 19th centuries. So aside from enhancing the immune system what else does vitamin C do? Well vitamin C also works as a natural antihistamine and is an incredibly good source of anti-oxidants.

Sources: citrus fruits (oranges, limes and lemons), spinach, kale, broccoli, most berries and garlic

Vitamin D

A deficiency of vitamin D has been linked to rickets and so it is an especially important for children and teenagers. Research also seems to point towards vitamin D improving bone strength and bone density. Aside from that vitamin D is still unproven in a lot of areas but has been linked with decreasing cardiovascular diseases as well as some cancers; although these have not yet been proven.

Sources: mushrooms (notably portabella and button varieties), fatty fish (salmon, tuna and mackerel) and eggs

Josh Hansen writes for XXPress PCR an innovative UK biotechnology company specialising in DNA testing machines.

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