Vitamins the ABCs of Good Health

health and nutritionThese chemical substances found in foods provide you the ABCs of good health.  Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure that you have all the letters covered.

Vitamin A: This fat-soluble vitamin helps you resist infection, and possibly cancer, promotes vision, and builds strong tooth enamel.  Vitamin A is found in orange and leafy green vegetables; liver and other organ meats; butter; and whole and fortified milk.  You can’t get too much vitamin a in the food you eat, but excessive supplementation can be dangerous for you and your baby.

Vitamin B: These water-soluble vitamins help you to prevent anemia, aid digestion, and promote a sense of well-being.  Get your B vitamins from whole grains, organ meats, milk, leafy greens, almonds, and peanuts.  One part of the B vitamin, folic acid, or folacin, is particularly important.  Since a deficiency of folic acid has been linked to serious neural tube defects such as spina bifida, the U.S. government began in January 1998 to require folic-acid enrichment of grain products such as white flour, cornmeal, white rice, and commercial breads and breakfast cereals.

Vitamin C: This water-soluble vitamin contributes to sturdy cell walls and strong placenta, promotes iron absorption, and helps in the formation of a baby’s teeth and bones.  Vitamin C also aids healing.  You should get it daily in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin D: Your body needs this fat-soluble vitamin in order to use calcium. You can meet your quota each day by spending some time in the sun or by drinking four cups of fortified milk.  Other dietary sources include sardines, canned salmon, egg yolks, butter, and liver.

Vitamin E: This fat-soluble vitamin promotes the growth of tissue and the strength of cell walls.  Get vitamin E in vegetable oils, whole-grain cereals, meat, eggs, nuts, and seeds.

Vitamin K: Your intestines produce some of this fat-soluble vitamin, which is needed to help blood clot.  You can get the rest of the vitamin K you need from green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils.

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