Healing Power of Vitamins
How to Heal yourself with Healthy Food
Before I go into great detail about the Healing Power of Vitamins, I just want to say that we can get all the vitamins we need for optimum health directly from the food we eat. However, If you lead a less than healthy lifestyle, you may choose to take vitamin supplements as a substitute.
Having said that, it would a lot better for you to seriously consider changing your eating habits than taking any kind of supplement, be it prescribed or otherwise. Is it not better to have a healthy eating plan for a fabulous life without illness and disease than a life with pain and suffering caused by the over-consumption of unhealthy foods, prescription drugs and or vitamin supplements.
We all need vitamins for our survival, but we also need vitamins to help our bodies grow and glow. We need vitamins for an alert mind. We need vitamins for smooth skin. We need vitamins for bright eyes. In fact, we need vitamins for so many things, but just where do we get them from?
Vitamins give your body a boost and at the same time, help fight off illnesses. Just remember that the most important source of vitamins comes from the food we eat. Vitamin supplements can be beneficial only when used correctly. If you opt for a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating foods that benefit the mind and body, you’ll never need to take supplements again.
It’s extremely important to find out what vitamins do for you so that you can better understand why a properly balanced and healthy lifestyle is good for your wellbeing. You will note that I don’t like using the word diet, purely because a diet is more commonly associated with losing weight than living a life free of illness and disease. I am a strong believer that if we choose to eat foods that are healthy for us, we never have to worry about losing weight ever again. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is all up to you.
Okay! Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of vitamins, why we need them and where do we find them. Firstly, vitamins are essential nutrients your body needs to function properly. They provide energy. They boost the immune system. (The body’s ability to fight illness) They keep your skin healthy. They repair tissue and they ensure your nervous system and brain function properly.
Raspberries, Blackberries and Blueberries
There are two types of vitamins:
Vitamin A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. They are usually found in fatty foods such as oily fish like salmon and sardines as well as liver and dairy products. These vitamins are stored in the body’s fatty tissue and used when needed. However, many of these vitamins here can also be found from other sources such as broccoli, eggs, lettuce, yoghurt avocado, brown rice, soya beans and nuts.
Vitamins such as vitamin B, C and Folic Acid found in fruits and vegetables are known as water-soluble vitamins. These vitamins are not easily stored in the body for long periods and are excreted in the urine. You need to regularly take in enough of them. There’s a way to keep these vitamins in your system for a much longer period, for which I’ll discuss in another article. It’s also why I call my site Health Taboo, simply because not everything we eat or drink is as “they” say they are.
Vitamin A is important for healthy eyes, teeth, hair and skin. It also promotes a healthy immune system and protects you against nose, throat and lung infections. Vitamin A is often prescribed by dermatologists. (Skin Specialists) One is to prevent rapid skin ageing and another in the fight against acne.
The best source of vitamin A includes:
- Cod liver oil
- Dairy Products
- Yellow Vegetables
However, your body can also manufacture its own vitamin A from beta-carotene, which is found in dark green vegetables and yellow fruit and orange vegetables such as cling peaches and carrots respectively. It’s a great source of vitamin A should you be vegetarian or vegan.
Deficiency disorders can cause eye problems such as night blindness and general weakness to illnesses. Be careful not to ingest too much vitamin A as it can also poison your body. Signs of high doses of vitamin A are dry, cracked skin, bleeding gums, nausea and liver disease. Is it not ironic that the over-consumption of vitamin A in the animal liver can also result in human liver disease?
Yellow Cling Peaches
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Vitamin B1 keeps the nervous system healthy, aids digestion and helps your heart and muscles to function properly. Good sources of vitamin B1 are whole wheat bread and breakfast cereals. However, I would not recommend commercially produced cereals because most have added sugar and a few other additives you don’t want to know about. It’s best to purchase cereal such as raw steel-cut oats and other good grains in their whole form. You can add some fresh-cut fruit to the mix.
Other good sources of vitamin B1 include:
- Brazil nuts
- Pecan nuts
- Pistachio nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Adzuki beans
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Lima beans
- Kidney beans
- Green peas
You’ll also get vitamin B1 from seeds such as Sunflower seeds, Sesame seeds, Pumpkin seeds and Chia seeds. Fish, Brewer’s yeast and milk are also sources of vitamin B1. Though I don’t recommend the consumption of red meat products in any form, lean pork also contains a source of vitamin B1.
One thing to take into consideration is that like most vitamins, vitamin B1 is easily lost during the cooking process. If you’re doing any sort of cooking, rather lightly steam your vegetable. They’ll also taste a lot better too. And lastly, it makes a lot more sense to eat as many raw vegetables as possible.
Deficiency disorders of vitamin B1 are attributed to Beriberi, a condition that affects the nervous system. Can’t say that I know of anybody who might have contracted Beriberi, but you know what they say – Prevention is far better than any cure. Here’s to vitamin B1 and your health.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B1 helps to keep your metabolism functioning properly. It helps promote healthy skin, hair, nails and eyes as well as the liver. It also helps the body to convert food into fuel, notable carbohydrates into glucose, which in turn, is used to produce
Good sources of vitamin B2 include:
- Whole Grains
- Wheat Germ
- Brown Rice
- Dairy products such as Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green leafy vegetables such as Spinach and Kale
Deficiency disorders of vitamin B2
- Ariboflavinosis – A disease that affects the mucous membrane.
- Eye Fatigue
- Slow Growth
- Digestive Disorders
- Throat Soreness and Swelling
- Light Sensitivity
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B3 is an important water-soluble vitamin that helps with blood circulation and has the power to lower blood pressure. Vitamin B3 also helps with digestion, helps lower cholesterol levels and is vital for a healthy immune system.
Good sources of vitamin B3 include:
Severe deficiency of vitamin B3 can cause a condition known as pellagra, which is characterised by cracked, scaly skin and the so-called four D’s, diarrhoea, dementia, dermatitis and eventually death.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
Vitamin B5 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body manufacture antibodies to fight disease. Vitamin B5 aids in cell growth improve metabolism, helps heal wounds and is essential for the functioning of the adrenal glands, which produce hormones that assist in dealing with stress.
Good sources of vitamin B5 include:
- Green Vegetables such as Kale and Cabbage
- Whole Grains
- Wheat Germ
- Brewer’s Yeast
While vitamin B5 deficiency is rare, it may include symptoms such as depression, irritability, insomnia, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, respiratory infections and burning feet.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin involved in the process of making norepinephrine and serotonin, chemicals that transmit signals in the brain. It also promotes the absorption of vitamin B12, improves metabolism and is necessary for healthy skin and a strong immune system.
Good sources of vitamin B6 include:
- Wheat Germ
- Brussel Sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Melon
Deficiency disorders of vitamin B6 include Anaemia, which is a shortage of red blood cells that transports oxygen to your body. If you do not get enough vitamin B6, it can also cause skin and blood circulation problems.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin also known as cobalamin that has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system as well as the production of red blood cells. It also helps with your body’s growth.
Good sources of vitamin B12 include:
- Red Meat
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Crimini Mushrooms
- Nori Seaweed
Fermented foods such as Miso and Tempeh are traditional soy products said to contain inactive forms of vitamin B12. Sea vegetables are also sometimes reported to contain vitamin B12.
Anaemia, an iron-containing protein deficiency of vitamin B12, is a condition in which there are insufficient red blood cells or of haemoglobin in the blood, resulting in paleness and weariness. Haemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs. Without enough of it, your muscles and organs don’t get all the oxygen they need.
Vitamin C helps the body fight infection and also helps to prevent blood clots and high cholesterol. Many of us take vitamin C supplements whenever there’s a likelihood of getting colds or the flu. However, I strongly believe that if you’re getting enough vitamin C directly from vitamin C foods, you won’t ever have to worry about these symptoms again. It’s all a matter of prevention rather than a having to find a cure. If you’re living a high-fat lifestyle, and not eating enough fruit and vegetables, you’ll have a very good chance of vitamin C deficiency.
Good sources of vitamin C include:
Apart from colds and flu’s, the deficiency of vitamin C includes a variety of symptoms, including infections as well as scurvy, a condition that mostly affects your gums. On the other hand, too much vitamin C can cause diarrhoea.
Vitamin D helps with the healthy development of bones and teeth. It also helps to promote the absorption of minerals such as calcium and phosphorous.
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, however, you always need to use a sunblock and preferably stay out of the sun between 10 am and 3 pm to protect yourself from sun damage and skin cancer.
Other good sources of vitamin D include:
- Cod Liver Oil
- Oily Fish
- Dairy Products
Deficiency of vitamin D includes tooth decay and bone conditions such as osteoporosis and rickets.
Cod Liver Oil
Vitamin E helps protect you against rapid ageing. It also helps heal wounds and reduces scar development. Vitamin E is also used in moisturising creams.
Good sources of vitamin E include:
Deficiency of vitamin E includes Anaemia and muscular weakness.
Few people have even heard about Vitamin K, but this particular vitamin is important for normal blood clotting as well as the fact that it helps you to maintain bone mass.
Good sources of vitamin K include:
- Egg Yolk
Deficiency of vitamin K includes a tendency to bleed easily.