Vitamins, from A to Kby Myreille Simard
published January 30, 2008
It can be hard to keep track of all the different vitamins in existence and to make sure your body is getting enough of the ones it needs. We’ve put together a guide of the different kinds of vitamins you need to stay healthy, including why they’re important and which foods contain them—from A to K!
What it does: vitamin A, or retinol, is essential to good vision (especially at night). It’s also important for the growth of everything from your skin to your bones, intestines, etc. Vitamin A and beta carotene are often confused because beta carotene actually releases a small quantity of vitamin A into your system after having been transformed.
Where to find it: in animal products, particularly in beef liver. All vegetable products contain it in the form of beta carotene (in a smaller dose), but there is an especially high quantity in red and orange-fleshed fruits and vegetables.
What it does: also called “thiamine”, this vitamin affects morale and triggers a state of well-being. It decomposes carbs and transforms them into energy. A lack of vitamin B1 can lead to heart failure-related problems on the long term. It’s important to note that your need for vitamin B1 is greater if you consume alcohol on a regular basis.
Where to find it: meat (particularly pork) and grain products.
What it does: also called “riboflavin”, it decomposes lipids and proteins and transforms them into energy. It’s also the vitamin that gives urine its yellowish colour.
Where to find it: in meats, fish and goat cheese.
What it does: also called “niacin”, it contributes to the formation of red blood cells in your blood, as well as to providing an overall good blood circulation. It also transports oxygen to your cells. This vitamin is an important one to take, particularly for women who are expecting.
Where to find it: in most protein-rich foods such as nuts.
What it does: it regulates your cholesterol level and keeps it low.
Where to find it: you don’t need to worry about suffering from a lack of vitamin B5, since it can be found in all fresh foods. Beware of processed and instant foods, however, since they barely contain any.
What it does: it helps maintain an adequate blood sugar level, which is essential to your health.
Where to find it: in yeast, rice, potatoes and whole grains.
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