Vitamins

Working your way through the minefield of what vitamins to take can indeed be a daunting task.  While many people take copious quantities of vitamins at different times throughout their life very few know or understand exactly what they do.

Vitamins are organic compounds that help maintain normal bodily functions, such as reproduction, growth and cellular repair. 

Vitamins work with minerals and other substances such as enzymes to help cells function correctly.  An adequate amount of vitamins needs to be consumed for our bodies to function.  Our bodies cannot manufacture vitamins so we need to obtain them from food.

Most of our vitamins come from the food we eat.  However vitamin D which we absorb from our exposure to the sun, and vitamin K which is produced by the bacteria contain in our intestines.  In our busy lives it is sometimes difficult to receive adequate supplies of certain vitamins.  Vitamin supplements can be an alternative but should never replace food, as our major source of vitamins.

Other health conditions such as pregnancy may require vitamin supplementation to ensure adequate intake.  However large doses of certain vitamins can have an adverse effect on pregnancy so always check with
your doctor before consuming handfuls of vitamins especially fat-soluble vitamins.

Nutritionists categorize vitamins into two areas; water soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.  Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and the B complex group.  These vitamins travel via our blood stream.  Most of these vitamins, which are not used by the body immediately, are normally excreted via urine.  In many cases people taking large quantities of water soluble vitamins end up with very expensive urine.  Therefore it is important to consume food throughout the day to ensure a good supply of vitamins.  Our fat soluble vitamins; A, D, E, and K are stored in adipose (fat) tissue or in many cases large quantities of fat soluble vitamins will be stored in our liver.  Over consumption of fat-soluble vitamins may cause health problems. 

These group of vitamins also need to be consumed with fat to ensure their absorption.  If you want to get the most vitamins possible out of food ensure your food is as fresh as possible, keep food away from strong light after harvesting and refrigerate.  Most vitamins are either destroyed or washed down the sink during food preparation and storage.  When cooking food either microwave or steam vegetables.  Eat fruit as fresh and naturally as possible.

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