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 & hair strong and well maintained. Beta carotene, a source of vitamin A, may also protect you from getting cancer or heart disease. Way to go, vitamin A!
Where to get it: While vitamin A is only found in animal-based foods and by-products, fruit and vegetable compounds called carotenoids can be converted into vitamin A in your body (cool, huh?). These compounds are 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, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
When you don't get enough: Luckily, the body stockpiles this vitamin, so you're not likely to face deficiency. If you do though, you may experience night blindness and dry eyes.
HG Heads Up! Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so be sure you're getting enough healthy fats in your diet to absorb it. Slurp on some Amy's Organic Butternut Squash Soup; a 1-cup serving's got 50% of the RDA of vitamin A and a few fat grams (but not too many!) to go with it.
What they do: 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 'em: In addition to being low-cal and delicious, whole grain cereals, eggs, skim milk, fish and green leafy vegetables are all also fantastic sources of B vitamins. In fact, a half-cup serving of Fiber One Bran Cereal provides 25% of the RDA of SIX of the B vitamins!
When you don't get enough: A lack of B vitamins can cause anemia, heart problems and trouble in your nervous system.
HG Heads Up! Since many of the foods rich in B vitamins are of animal origin, vegans are at risk for a vitamin B deficiency. So "B" careful, vegans!
What it does: Vitamin C's biggest claim to fame is its ability to aid in the prevention and treatment of colds, flus and other illnesses. This super vitamin helps the body fight off stress & infections and maintain red blood cells. And that's not all. Vitamin C is also known for lowering cholesterol & blood pressure and fighting asthma. 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 bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries and papaya. 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 fully absorb the helpful vitamin. Try this by making our Crazy-Creamy Crab Stuffed Mushrooms. The red pepper provides more than 35% the RDA of vitamin C, and the mushrooms themselves supply the zinc! (Pssst...other zinc-rich foods include spinach, summer squash, asparagus, shrimp, pumpkin seeds and yogurt.)
What it does: Vitamin D is essential for helping the body absorb calcium. Not surprisingly then, it's important for healthy bones, hair and teeth. It is also helpful in boosting the immune system.
Where to get it: Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin". The body naturally produces the stuff when the sun's rays shine on 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. Besides the sun, you can get vitamin D from food sources like salmon, tuna, sardines, milk and shrimp.
When you don't get enough: Too little vitamin D = weak bones. Without enough D, you could experience pains in your bones and be more susceptible to breaks and fractures.
HG Tip! Whip up some of our Creamy Coconut Shrimp for a D-licious dose of the vitamin! Click here!
What it does: Vitamin E helps preserve vitamins A, B, C and others by fending off damaging free radicals. It also increases endurance & stamina and boosts your immune system. Since it improves circulation & blood pressure as well, it helps prevent heart disease. Impressive.
Where to get it: Load up on vitamin E with almonds, sunflower seeds, blueberries, avocados, olives and whole grains.
When you don't get enough: Vitamin E deficiency has been linked to digestive problems as well as nervous system issues in the limbs.
What it does: Vitamin K's main job is to regulate blood clotting, prevent cell damage and keep blood flow healthy.
Where to get it: Soybeans, Brussels sprouts, carrots, spinach & other 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.
HG Sushi Spree! Get your vitamin K and so much more! Hit up your fave sushi spot for a vitamin party! Have edamame (vitamin K), ohitashi (boiled spinach for vitamins A & K), and California rolls (vitamin E from avocados and B & D from the fish). Then enjoy some orange segments for a post-meal pop of vitamin C!
CHEW ON THIS: June 22 is National Onion Rings Day. A cup of onion has 17% DV of vitamin C, 4% vitamin K and various B vitamins. So whip up a batch of HG's famous O-rings today!
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