Vitamins, indispensable nutrients which can be found in food, carry out specific and crucial functions crucial for maintaining health. There are two types, categorized according to the substances within which they dissolve.
The first type, fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) are soluble in lipids. They are stored in body tissues and thus not necessarily a part of the everyday diet. The second type of vitamins, water soluble, break down in water and are excreted. Thus, an unceasing source is necessary for the human body to function well. These are vitamin C and the group of B vitamins.
Vitamin C is without doubt one of the most relevant water soluble vitamins. Its common nutritive sources are citrus fruits, green vegetables, tomatoes, etc. This important vitamin helps form collagen, aids with healing, the production of brain hormones and is an important antioxidant. Some symptoms of overconsumption are diarrhea and kidney stones. Like all water soluble vitamins, vitamin C is easily destroyed during food storage. The human body is not able to make vitamin C, and though it has a constant need for it, it has a limited storage capacity and must be taken regularly. There is an on-going controversy over mega-doses of vitamin C but what is certain is that the only ailment a vitamin can treat is the disease produced by a shortage of that vitamin.
The vitamin group known as B-complex (vitamin B1, B2, niacin, B6, folate, B12, biotin and pantothenic acid) is widely dispensed in various foods.
Vitamin B1 can be found in pork, liver and legumes. It is important in the functioning of the nervous system, and its cutback can cause muscle weakness, mental confusion, edemas, etc. Vitamin B2 is found in liver, milk and green vegetables, promoting good vision and healthy skin. Niacin can be found in fish, peanuts, meat, and aids digestion, as well as being beneficial for the nerves. Excessive use results in skin disorders, mental confusion and irritability.
Vitamin B6 can be ingested as pork or green vegetables. It is important in helping the body use fats but if used excessively can cause skin disorders, anemia and kidney stones. Grains, vegetables and fish, are some of the major sources of folic acid, which is especially important in pregnancy, as it prevents birth defects of the spine and brain. Vitamin B12 can be found only in animal foods and milk, as well as oysters and shellfish. It maintains the nervous system and aids in the development of normal red blood cells. Pantothenic acid can be found in an entire range of foods and is important in forming hormones and energy production. Overuse is uncommon, as it is so widely available in most foods. And lastly, biotin is found in eggs and seeds, is widely common and helps release energy from carbohydrates.
It is easy to destroy water soluble vitamins in the process of food storing and preparing, but adhering to the proper procedures can reduce the loss. Thus, it is a good idea to refrigerate fresh produce and keep milk and grains away from strong light.