Vitamins are good for you. Everyone knows that. But do you have any clue what each one does or where it can be found? No worries. It's HG to the rescue with the lowdown on all things vitamin. Weeee!
What it does: This antioxidant is important for keeping eyes healthy, and is also necessary for keeping bones, teeth, skin, and hair strong and well maintained. The beta carotene that's found in Vitamin A may also protect you from getting cancer or heart disease. Way to go, Vitamin A!
Where to get it: Vitamin A is especially present in brightly colored fruits and veggies. In fact, the richer the color of the food, the more beta carotene it contains. So some great sources of this important vitamin are the prettiest fruits and veggies -- apricots, asparagus, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, kale, skim milk, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.
When you don't have enough: Luckily, the body stockpiles this vitamin, so it's hard to become deficient in it. If you do, though, you may experience night blindness and dry eyes.
What it is: There are 8 essential B vitamins. All help the body break down fats, proteins and carbs, thus providing you with energy. B vitamins are also important for liver and intestinal health, as well as being effective in alleviating depression. As if all that weren't enough, the stuff is also great for making hair and skin look healthy, vital and shiny.
Where to get it: In addition to being low cal and delicious, whole grain cereals, eggs, skim milk, nuts, fish and green leafy vegetables are all also fantastic sources of vitamin B.
HG Heads Up: Since many of the foods rich in B vitamins are animal based, vegetarians are at risk for a vitamin B deficiency!
What it does: Vitamin C's biggest claim to fame is it's ability to aid in the prevention and treatment of colds, flus and other illnesses. This super vitamin helps the body fight off stress and infections, and maintains red blood cells. And that's not all. Vitamin C is also known for lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and fighting asthma and diabetes. Sounds like vitamin C is workin' overtime!
Where to get it: Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and lemons are the most obvious dietary sources of vitamin C. Some lesser known sources include blueberries, strawberries and tomatoes. Mmmmm.
When you don't get enough: A lack of Vitamin C can result in hair loss, dry skin, bleeding gums, nosebleeds and muscle weakness.
HG Tip: Eat zinc-rich foods with your vitamin C to help your body absorb the helpful vitamin more fully.
What it is: Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin." The body naturally produces the stuff when the suns rays shine upon us. Luckily, you don't need to be a sun-worshipper to get the benefits of this vitamin. Just a few minutes in the sun each day is enough to meet daily requirements.
What it does: Vitamin D is essential for helping the body absorb calcium. Not surprisingly, then, it's important for bone, hair and teeth health. It is also helpful in boosting the immune system.
Where to get it: Besides the sun, you can get vitamin D from food sources like salmon, tuna and sardines.
What it is: Vitamin E is a group of seven compounds known as tocopherols. They are alpha, beta, delta, epsilon, eta, gamma, zeta, Sneezy & Doc (ok, we lied about the last two).
What it does: Vitamin E helps preserve vitamins A, B, C and others by fending off damaging free radicals. It also increases endurance and stamina, and boosts your immune system. And since it improves circulation and blood pressure, it helps prevent heart disease. Impressive.
Where to get it: Load up on vitamin E with almonds, asparagus, avocado, broccoli and whole grains.
What it is: Vitamin K is a group of vitamin compounds.
What it does: Vitamin K's main job is to regulate blood clotting, prevent hemorrhaging and keep blood flow healthy.
Where to get it: Cheddar cheese, spinach, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, alfalfa and broccoli.
When you don't get enough: A lack of Vitamin K can lead to nosebleeds, bruising, and, over long periods of time, osteoporosis.