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Food Sources of Essential Vitamins: How are you getting yours?

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What are VitaminsBy Tania Flack

Guy: A few months ago Tania wrote a great article on Essential Minerals and has followed it up with this post on Vitamins.

I often wonder if people even care if they are getting enough vitamins daily. The next time you see someone stuffing their face with a baguette, ask them if they know what vitamins are and why they are essential?

You’ll be surprised by how many do not know what vitamins are! And just in case you are not sure… read on.

What are vitamins?

For some, reading literature on organic compounds and nutrients is like sticking pins in ones eyeballs, as you’ll get the same effect by researching it!

So this a brief description of what a Vitamin is:

It is an organic molecule that is not found in the body (Except vitamin D & Biotin). They help break down the food we eat to produce energy and play out multiple roles within the body.

You have water-soluble vitamins that are within… yep you got it… water within the body. These are excreted with urine so it’s important to continually eat a healthy range of food.

And then you have fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K). These are found in the fat component of cells and are stored.

Not sure if vitamins are essential?

Think of it this way, life can not be sustained without vitamins…. just ask any sailor 400 years ago. At the time sailors where getting struck down by a ‘mysterious’ disease which was costing many sailors their lives. This went on for way longer than you would guess to imagine! It turns out that the ‘mysterious’ disease was Scurvy which was caused from Vitamin C deficiency. To solve the problem they took lime juice on long journeys earning the sailors the nickname of ‘limeys’.

A fatal disease was resolved through a very simple act. I wonder how much of this rings true for today?

Enough of my blabbering.. so over to Tania….

Tania: A lot of people ask me how to increase their levels of specific vitamins from food in the diet – it’s very simple if you know where it comes from.

I feel most would rather make changes in their daily diet than take multivitamins on a long term basis. While vitamins are an essential part of naturopathic treatment in some conditions, a well balanced diet, full of fresh vegetables, fruits, lean protein and whole grains really helps to boost energy,vitality and keep us vibrant and healthy.

With a little bit of organising and nutritional planning, your diet could be rich in nutrients that will benefit your health now and in the future. Keep in mind fresh is always best and buy organic wherever possible.

Listed below is a list of essential vitamins & where to source them

Vitamin A

Cod liver oil, livers – veal, beef, lamb and chicken , egg yolks, butter, carrots, tomatoes, rock melon, mango, apricots, peaches, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, basil, chives, parsley, dill

Vitamin B1

Yeast spreads, Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ (fresh), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tahini, soybeans, buckwheat, wheat bran, oatmeal, pork, cashews, peanuts.

Vitamin B2

Yeast spreads, Brewer’s yeast, livers – beef, chicken, lamb and veal , kidney –  beef, lamb and veal, almonds, cheese – Parmesan and cheddar, wheat germ (fresh), milk, egg yolk, anchovies, mussels, oysters, broccoli, parsley, chili

Vitamin B3

Baker’s Yeats and yeast spreads, rice bran, wheat flour, rice flour, peanuts, red meat, kidney – beef, lamb, veal and pork, liver – veal, lamb, beef and chicken, salmon, chicken, tuna, white fish,  sardines, anchovies, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, passion fruit, chili

Vitamin B5

Liver – lamb and chicken, dried yeast, yeast spread, rice bran, cheese – Camembert and brie, egg yolk, mutton, pork, cashews, peanuts, coconut – dried, salmon, crab, mushrooms

Vitamin B 6

Kangaroo, chicken, turkey, mutton, veal, salmon, silver beet, egg plant (aubergine), sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts

Vitamin B12

Chicken livers, sardines, mussels, scallops, oysters, mullet, snapper, rabbit, beef, veal, lamb, turkey, eggs, cheese – Camembert, brie

Folic acid

Green leafy vegetables, yeast spreads, liver – chicken and lamb, carrots, celery, spinach, oranges, limes,  chickpea and soy flour, wheat germ, hazelnuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, spinach, cabbage, chives and watercress

Biotin

Rice bran, sun dried tomatoes, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, cooked soybeans, mushrooms, broccoli, pork, chicken, turkey

Vitamin C

Blackcurrant juice, guava, citrus fruits, banana, blackberries, red chili peppers, red and green peppers, parsley, watercress, cabbage, strawberries, papaya, rock melon, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, snow peas

Bioflavenoids

Fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh herbs, tea – green and black, red wine (resveratrol), soy beans, dark chocolate, blueberries, and blackberries, citrus fruits, Brassica family vegetables – broccoli, cabbage etc

Vitamin D

Herring (pickled), sardines, calamari, cheese, milk, egg yolk – and don”t forget sunlight in moderation

Vitamin E

Wheat germ, sesame seeds, tahini, sunflower seeds, safflower oil, olive oil, maize oil and canola oil, soy beans, egg yolk, almonds, sunflower seeds, olives

Vitamin K

Kale – raw, sliver beet, spinach, broccoli, parsley, soybean and canola oil

If you would like some professional nutritional advice on making simple changes in your diet to benefit your long term health contact us today.

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