Did you know that the foods you eat can have a direct impact on your ability to think creatively, regulate your mood, up to your energy levels, and even bolster your immune system? It’s true. Certain vitamins found in the food we eat are essential for their ability to help us function well and live our best lives.
This article will discuss eight of the most essential vitamins for healthy living and explore how you can get them from the foods you eat. We’ll also touch on how natural products like digestive health supplements can help you get more from the foods you eat. So if you’re looking to boost your quality of life, read on!
What Are Essential Vitamins?
Before we go any further, let’s discuss what essential vitamins are and why they’re so important. Essential vitamins support your body in many different ways. They are vitamins that your body is unable to make on its own. Therefore, these vitamins are necessary to get from the food you eat and the products you use.
Without essential vitamins, your body will not function like it should and may lead to adverse health issues down the line.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there are 13 essential vitamins that we need for good health:
- Vitamin A (beta-carotene)
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (folate)
- Vitamin B12(cobalamin)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
This article will discuss these vitamins, why each is essential and what food you can include in your diet to ensure you’re getting enough of each.
Essential Vitamins, Their Functions, and Where To Find Them
Now that we know what essential vitamins are, let’s explore why they’re important by finding out what each vitamin is responsible for and where we can get them.
Vitamin A – Also known as beta-carotene, vitamin A is essential for healthy eyesight and helps produce white blood cells, which fight off infection in the body. Foods that contain vitamin A include:
- Fatty fish like salmon
- Beef liver
- Leafy greens like spinach
- Dairy products
B Vitamins – There are eight different vitamins in this category, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, and folate. B vitamins are essential because they help your body break down and process carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. B vitamins are also responsible for releasing the energy from those foods so you can use them. Foods that contain B vitamins include:
- Milk and other dairy products
- Legumes like black beans and kidney beans
- Meat including poultry, fish, beef and organ meats
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. Many people associate this vitamin with a healthy immune system. Still, it plays a more significant role in skin health and wound repair. This vitamin is essential for repairing tissue in the body, creating an important protein called collagen, and helping with neurotransmitter release. Foods that contain vitamin C include:
- Fruits like oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, and papaya
- Leafy greens like kale, turnip greens, and Swiss chard
- Sweet peppers like red and green bell peppers
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
Vitamin D – Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin.” Yet, it is estimated that 50 percent of the global population suffers from vitamin D deficiency. Our body can create vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun. However, it’s important to get it from food sources when sunlight exposure prevents us from producing enough. Vitamin D has numerous functions. It helps regulate calcium and phosphorus to be used and absorbed by the body for strong bones. It also plays a vital role in muscle contraction, nerve functioning, and immunity. Foods that contain vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish like salmon
- Fortified dairy and plant milk
- Egg yolks
- Mushrooms exposed to sun or UV light
Vitamin E – Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for protecting your cells from damage. The role of vitamin E supplements has been widely researched in disease prevention related to cardiovascular disease, vision issues including cataracts, and stimulating immune responses. Foods that contain vitamin E include:
- Nuts like almonds and hazelnuts
- Seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, and flax
Vitamin K – Vitamin K, also known as phylloquinone, helps with blood clotting and assists enzymes responsible for building proteins in the body. It has also been suggested that vitamin K can help treat diseases related to aging, such as atherosclerosis and osteoporosis. Foods that contain vitamin K include:
- Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower
- Organ meat such as beef and goose liver
Probiotics And Digestive Health Supplements For Essential Vitamins
In addition to eating a balanced diet, natural probiotics and natural digestive enzymes can be beneficial when it comes to getting the most out of your nutrients from food. Supplementing these digestive health supplements can help ensure that your body can absorb the nutrients you need, especially if you are dealing with any digestive issues. In addition, probiotics can improve your overall gut health, so you feel better and absorb more nutrients.
A Well-Balanced Diet A well-balanced diet rich in whole foods supplemented with high-quality, natural digestive health supplements is the best way to get your essential vitamins. Not only will this ensure you are obtaining all of the nutrients your body needs, but it will also help improve your gut health and digestion.
If you are dealing with any digestive issues, supplementing with probiotics can be extremely helpful in ensuring that you can absorb all of the nutrients from the food you eat.