health benefits of vitamins

 
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Vitamins are one of those things that people always talk about but we're not exactly sure what they actually are and what their real purpose is. To put it very simply, vitamins are nutrients that we need in order for our body to work properly- for our eyes to see, our wounds to heal, our food to digest and hundreds of other functions. Our body is a wonderful machine, constantly healing and working on itself. The body and our cells don't take vacation days or paid time off. We are always working and therefore we need proper fuel. Think of the body as a luxury vehicle. You have this car that you love and depend on. It's a large expense so you take good care of it. You clean the interior. Bring it to the car wash. Fill it with premium oil. You certainly wouldn't leave it running all night, fill it with diesel or keep the windows down during a rainstorm. Like the car, in order for our bodies to work efficiently and be dependable, it needs the correct fuel and care. Yes, food is delicious and gives us joy. But, it's not there solely for our enjoyment. Food is our fuel. It's where we get our energy and it's how every cell in our body runs. If you're not eating the right foods, your body isn't working up to its full potential and is probably starving for nutrients. Eating a nutritious diet ensures that we get the correct vitamins so that our bodies can fight off disease, allow us to feel and look great and live a long, healthy life. 

Below is a list of vitamins, how they benefit the body and what food source you can find them in.
 

V I T A M I N  A
-necessary for vision
-allows you to see in the dark
-helps the body to fight off infection
-supports the immune system
-helps repair tissue and bone
-found in carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, bell peppers
 

B  V I T A M I N S
-group of vitamins that are responsible for turning the carbohydrates we eat into glucose, which our bodies run on . They also help metabolize (aka breakdown) the fat and protein in our diets. 
-found in kidney beans, asparagus, spinach, brussels sprouts, green peas, and dark green vegetables
-in addition to turning food into fuel, these B vitamins also...

B1 (Thiamin)
-regulates our appetite
-helps manage stress
-promotes a healthy nervous system

B2 (Riboflavin)
-an antioxidant that rids the body of free radicals
-help prevent headaches
-regulate body temperature

B9 (Folic Acid)
-will increase energy levels
-reduce the risk of stroke
-helps build and maintain skin cells

B12
-helps manage depression and anxiety
-important part of cell reproduction- essential for healthy hair, skin and nails
-will need to take in supplement form if vegan, learn more from my post here


V I T A M I N  C
-helps decrease bad cholesterol  
-builds and repairs tissue in the body
-important for healthy bones and teeth
-a powerful antioxidant that can protect your body from producing cancer cells
-necessary for the production of collagen that helps keep skin smooth and young
-helps you to grow strong and healthy hair
-found in berries, citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, peas, yellow peppers

V I T A M I N  D
-can help elevate your mood
-helps keep your bones strong
-aids in absorbing calcium
-can protect you from diseases such as type 1 diabetes, cancer and multiple sclerosis
-mostly from sun exposure but vegans can get it from mushrooms, tofu and fortified soy or almond milk

V I T A M I N  E
-heaps of antioxidants that ward of free radicals that keep you looking younger and disease free
-can help normalize blood pressure levels
-helps to repair damaged cells and protect us from environmental factors like second hand smoke, pollution and harmful UVA rays
-found in almonds, spinach, beans, whole grains, vegetable oil, avocado, sweet potato, butternut squash

V I T A M I N  K
-helps prevent blood clotting in the arteries  
-can help prevent heart disease, Alzheimer's and type 2 diabetes
-reduce skin conditions like spider veins and stretch marks
-heals bruises and injuries
-found in leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, parsley romaine, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts