Your Natural Vitamin Supplements

WHEN most people think of vitamins they think of a pill, or several pills, as their source. If you ask about the "natural" source of specific vitamins you would probably hear that you can find vitamin C in an orange or vitamin D from the sun.

To refresh our memories, or perhaps to learn this for the first time, let's take a look at the basic vitamins, what they do for us and where, they can be found in nature.

Please note that this is provided as information only, and is in no way meant to help with any self-diagnosis.

As with everything health related, if you believe you may have a deficiency or wish to know how much of a vitamin you should be taking, see your physician.

Vitamin A and beta-carotene

Vitamin A aids in maintaining good vision, such as preventing night blindness and cataracts, as well as reducing the risk of heart attacks and some forms of cancer.

Beta-carotene is a compound that makes up the red, orange, and yellow pigments in plants that, when in the body, is converted into vitamin A. Excellent natural sources of vitamin A are raw carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and spinach.

Vitamin B1 - (Thiamine) - Helps convert blood sugar to energy, forms red blood cells and maintains skeletal muscle. Sources are sunflower seeds, whole grains, beans, seafood.

Folate - A B vitamin called folic acid, aids in metabolism and all of the body's biological reactions. It has recently been found to be especially important in pregnancy, as it aids in development of the fetus while preventing neural tube defects such as spina bifida and incomplete brain formation. Sources are beans, spinach and other leafy greens, wheat germ, oranges, and mushrooms.

Vitamin B2 - (Riboflavin) - Aids in production of body energy. The more active you are the more B2 you need. It also protects against cancer and anemia. Sources of B2 are milk, yogurt, chicken, leafy green vegetables, fruit and almonds.

Vitamin B3 - (Niacin) - Required for proper metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein, as well as production of digestive acid. It is also essential for healthy skin, proper blood circulation and the functioning of the central nervous system. Sources are chicken breast, canned tuna, Brewer's yeast, peanut butter, beans, and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin B5 - (Pantothenic acid) - Vitamin B5 has been found to help fight depression, reduce stress, metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and aid in the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Its presence is needed to produce healthy red blood cells, antibodies; cholesterol and Vitamin D. Sources are organ meats, fish, grains, egg, peanuts and peas.

Vitamin B6 - (Pyroxidine) - Often hailed as a wonder vitamin as it aids in the treatment of many disorders, such as : PMS, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, nervous disorders hyperactivity, diabetes, kidney stones, asthma, skin problems, acne, schizophrenia, and maintains a strong immune system. Sources are bananas, chicken, baked potatoes, chick peas, fortified cereals, oats, and peanuts.

Vitamin B12 - Increases energy, reduces stress, improves memory, and aids the digestive system and strengthens the immune system. Sources are fresh fish, dairy products, beef and pork, and eggs.

Vitamin C - Vitamin C is known for fighting colds and cancer as well as enforcing strong teeth, healthy gums, and prevention of heart disease and cataracts. Sources of vitamin C are Strawberries, Melons, Citrus fruit, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Red Peppers and Cranberry juice.

Vitamin D - Builds and maintains strong bones and teeth as it aids in calcium absorption. It is also believed to aid in treatment of psoriasis, tuberculosis and cancers. Sources are the sun (5-10 minutes, 3 times per week), egg yolks, fatty fish, fortified milk, and liver.

Vitamin E - (Tocopherol) - Protects cells from damage caused by destructive oxygen molecules (free radicals), aids in prevention of certain cancers, cataracts, and heart disease and improves the immune system. Sources are vegetable oil, mayonnaise, peanuts, whole grains, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes and yams.

Vitamin K - Vitamin K plays an important function in blood clotting, maintaining healthy bones as well as aiding in the healing of fractures. Sources are leafy green vegetables, fruits, beets, potatoes, eggs, seeds, dairy products, meats, and are also made by bacteria in stomach.

Vitamin P - (Bioflavonoid) - Vitamin P is a group of bioflavonoid that includes hesperidin, citrin, rutin, quercetin, calechin, flavone, and flavonals. They protect the capillary lining which is made up of the tiniest blood vessels in the body, as well as aid in the absorption and processing of Vitamin C. Sources are fruits, as bioflavonoid are actually a group of coloured substances that are found in fruit skin and the pulp of the fruit.

Eating a well-balanced diet is the best way to ensure getting adequate vitamins. If you feel you may need to supplement, along with eating a healthy diet, consult your physician for your recommended daily allowances.

Types of colours you need in your diet

RED: It's the colour of love, passion, anger, power.. But it's also the primary colour of some of the foods that do amazing stuff for our bodies. These `red foods' can boost your brain power while acting as a powerful memory booster. They can beef up your immune system and provide a source of energy and at the same time keep your body hydrated and your skin supple.

Green: The colour that children hate and mothers love feeding their kids with. But it's a quintessential colour staple in our daily diet as it keeps the blood toxin-free by balancing out the acidic and alkaline levels in the bloodstream to improve cardiovascular health.

White: The colour of purity. But it is a little known fact that foods that come in this colour can actually lower blood pressure and act as an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent.

Purple: It keeps the nervous system up-and-going while protecting the brain, so it gives a solid boost to your memory power.

Orange: It's synonymous with Vitamin C, and for good reason. This tangy shade helps to protect your skin from harsh ultraviolet rays and shields you from attacks from all sorts of ailments.

Yellow: And you thought only carrots help to improve eyesight. Yellow foods contain pigments that will ensure healthy eyesight in your later years.

Black/Indigo: Reminds you of a black hole and all things emo or goth? The pigments in such fruits can actually treat an innumerable amount of diseases. This colour combination is also widely used by colour therapists to cure a broad range of mental disorders from schizophrenia to insomnia.

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