Vitamins – part 2

Vitamins regulate a variety of essential bodily functions.  They are crucial in many of our metabolic processes so that we can benefit from the energy in our foods.  Vitamins are also very important in helping to build our bones, teeth, skin, blood and many other vital body tissues.

Vitamins are classified as either water soluble or fat soluble based on how they are absorbed and used by the body.

Following on from my last blog, this week we focus on the water soluble vitamins.

Water soluble (Vitamin C and all of the B vitamins): Water soluble vitamins are vitamins that our bodies do not  store. These vitamins dissolve in water when they are ingested, then go into the blood stream.

The body keeps what it needs at that time, and excess amounts are excreted in the urine. Since they can’t be stored, everybody needs a continuous supply of water soluble vitamins in order to stay healthy.

In this blog, we explain the why we need each water soluble vitamin and which foods are good sources of them.


Why do we need it?

Where do we find it?

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

It is an antioxidant, increases our immunity, and is important to help our uptake of iron. It is also used in the production of collagen, which we need for healthy skin, hair, and the cartilage in our joints.

Many fruit and vegetables especially kiwi and citrus fruits, cranberries, guava, peppers, broccoli, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts

(vitamin B1)

Important in the processing of carbohydrates to produce energy and other metabolism processes

Pork, wholegrain breads and brown rice, many fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals.

(vitamin B2)

Keeps our skin and eyes healthy

Milk, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, rice, mushrooms.

(vitamin B3)

Helps to process cholesterol, which should inhibit the likelihood of heart disease, as well as in the production of energy

Beef, pork, chicken, wheat flour, eggs, milk

Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5)

Important in our metabolism processes, especially in the production of energy in cells.

Beef, chicken, potatoes, oats, tomatoes, liver, kidneys, eggs, broccoli, wholemeal bread, brown rice, some breakfast cereals

Vitamin B6

Important roles in the processing (metabolism) of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Fortified breakfast cereals, liver, pork, chicken, turkey, cod, wholemeal bread, brown rice, oatmeal, eggs, peanuts, some vegetables (potatoes, peppers, garlic), dried prunes and dried apricots

Folate, Folic Acid
(vitamin B9)

Important to ensure cell division works well, hence importance to pregnancy, where folate is also particularly crucial in the prevention of neural tube defects. Also important for red blood cell production .

Green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach, sprouts, peas), fortified breakfast cereals, chick peas (humous), yeast extract (e.g. Marmite), brown rice, some fruit (oranges and bananas)

Vitamin B12

Similar to folate, as it is important to cell division, red blood cell production and also for functioning of nerves.

It originates in bacteria, yeast and microbes in soil. Plants can’t store it, so people get their B12 almost exclusively from meat, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, yeast extract (e.g. Marmite)

(vitamin B7)

Important in our metabolism processes

Liver, kidney, eggs, dried fruits (e.g. prunes, apricots)

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