V is for Vitamins Part 2 Water-soluble Vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12* and Vit B7
There are 13 essential vitamins required for the body to function. They are divided into two types of vitamins :
fat-soluble vitamins (which are stored in fatty tissue and need to be consumed with fat for optimal absorption – Vitamins A, D, E and K) and
water-soluble vitamins (which are used immediately and any excess are excreted in your urine – Vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12* and Vit B7 (sometimes called Vit H) (* NB Vitamin B12 is water-soluble but can be stored in the liver for years)
So what is the function of each vitamin and how can we include it in our diet ?
This second post is going to look at the water-soluble vitamins
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all our body tissues. It's involved in many body functions, including formation of collagen , absorption of iron, the proper functioning of the immune system, wound healing (skin and blood vessels), and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth
The highest sources of Vitamin C are from :
Guavas, grapefruit, kiwis, lychees oranges, papaya, pineapple, bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, potato, tomatoes,
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Vitamin B1 Thiamin plays a vital role in the growth and function of various cells. It helps us to produce energy from foods and is good for the heart and nervous system. Only small amounts are stored in the liver, so a daily intake of thiamin-rich foods is needed.
Thiamin is found naturally in meats, fish, and whole grains. It is also added to breads, cereals, and baby formulas.
The highest sources of Vitamin B1 are from :
Fortified breakfast cereals, breads, noodles, brown rice, pork, fish – salmon, tuna , mussels, beans, lentils, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, asparagus, green peas,
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 helps us produce energy from foods
Riboflavin is found mostly in meat and fortified foods but also in some nuts and green vegetables.
The highest sources of Vitamin B2 are from :
Lean beef and pork, organ meats (beef liver), chicken breast, salmon, fortified cereal and bread, almonds, spinach, cheese, dairy milk, eggs, yogurt
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is an essential micronutrient that your body uses for proper metabolism, nervous system function and antioxidant protection It processes fat, helps to lower cholestrol and regulate blood sugar
The highest sources of Vitamin B3 are from :
ground beef, chicken breast, liver, pork, turkey, anchovies, salmon, tuna,
fortified and enriched foods, wholewheat bread and pasta, brown rice, peanuts
avocado, mushrooms, green peas, potatoes/sweet potatoes
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine)
Vitamin B6 is necessary for processing amino acids in the body, which form the building blocks of proteins and some hormones. It is involved in red blood cell metabolism, proper functioning of the nervous and immune systems and various other bodily functions.
Vitamin B6 is found in a variety of animal and plant foods.
The highest sources of Vitamin B6 are from :
Chicken, beef/lamb liver, pork chops, steak, turkey, salmon, tuna, fortified cereals e.g. bran flakes, chickpeas, bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, papayas, some vegetables especially avocados, dark leafy greens
Vitamin B9 ( folate, folic acid)
Vitamin B9 helps to form DNA and RNA and is involved in protein metabolism. It plays a key role in breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid that can exert harmful effects in the body if it is present in high amounts. Folate is also needed to produce healthy red blood cells and is critical during periods of rapid growth, such as during pregnancy and fetal development.
A wide variety of foods naturally contain folate, but the form that is added to foods and supplements, folic acid, is better absorbed.
The highest sources of Vitamin B9 are from :
Liver, seafood, fortified foods and supplements, whole grains, avocados, dark green leafy vegetables (turnip greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli) beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, fresh fruits, fruit juices, eggs
Vitamin B12* (cobalamin)
Vitamin B12 is necessary for keeping your nerves healthy and supporting the production of DNA and red blood cells, as well as maintaining normal brain function. It protects and helps combat tiredness, depression and improves the nervous system
Your body stores excess vitamin B12 in the liver, so if you consume more than the RDI, your body will save it for future use.
Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products, especially meat and dairy products. Luckily for those on vegans diets, fortified foods can be good sources of this vitamin, too
The highest sources of Vitamin B12 are from :
Beef, lamb’s liver and kidneys, other organ meats e.g. beef/veal, clams, salmon, sardines, tuna, trout, fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, fortified non-dairy milk
milk, cheese, eggs, yoghurt
Vitamin Vit B7(Vitamin H) (biotin)
Vitamin B7 promotes appropriate function of the nervous system and is essential for liver metabolism as well. Biotin plays a vital role in assisting enzymes to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in food. It also helps to regulate signals sent by cells and the activity of genes Biotin is commonly advised as a dietary supplement for strengthening hair , nails and skin care, which is why that it is also called Vitamin H (for hair) It is suggested that biotin aids cell growth and the maintenance of mucous membranes
The highest sources of Vitamin B7 (H) are from :
chicken liver/beef liver, pork, salmon, legumes – peas, beans, lentils, whole grains and cereals, nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast , nuts -almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, nut butters, soybeans, seeds, bananas, avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, eggs (cooked) especially yolks
Most foods provide multiple sources of vitamins. Here is a summary of those foods mentioned containing high levels of Vitamins Vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12* and Vit H (B7).
Summary of foods mentioned:
Fruit* -bananas, cantaloupe, guavas, grapefruit, kiwis, lychees oranges, papaya, pineapple
Veg - asparagus, avocado, bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, dark leafy greens e.g.kale, turnip greens, spinach, mushrooms, romaine lettuce, green peas, potatoes/sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes*
Fortified and enriched breakfast cereals - branflakes, wholewheat breads, noodles, pasta, brown rice
Meat -lean beef and pork (e.g. chops), ground beef, chicken esp breast, organ meats (chicken/beef/lamb’s liver), liver, kidneys, pork, steak, turkey
Fish/seafood - anchovies, clams ,salmon, sardines, tuna , trout, mussels,
Legumes – peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans
Seeds -flax seeds, sunflower seeds,
Nuts - almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, nut butters
Yeast - nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast
Dairy - cheese, dairy milk, eggs (cooked) especially yolks ,yogurt
fortified non-dairy milk, tofu