Vitamins C, K and Other Helpful Nutrients

by Wellness Editor – MH

The medicinal value of Vitamin D is well known to readers of Natural Knowledge 24/7. While regular amounts of Vitamin D are crucial to a healthier life, there are other vitamins that should be included in your daily diet. Below are some of these vitamins, complete with their benefits and the foods in which they are commonly found.

Vitamin C

Knowledge about the positive effects of Vitamin C dates back centuries. The famous British navigator, Captain James Cook, required his sailors to consume either lemon or lime juice every few days. This practice became so popular in the British navy that British sailors soon received the nickname “limeys.” Both lemon and lime juice are rich in Vitamin C, and proved invaluable in warding off crippling seaborne ailments, such as scurvy, pellagra, and beri-beri.

Modern medicine has unearthed a host of other reasons for Vitamin C consumption. Vitamin C has been shown to repair immune systems damaged by stress, and an American Journal of Clinical Medicine study suggested that a high intake of Vitamin C may significantly reduce the odds of stroke. This nutrient is also very helpful to those suffering from the common cold, as it can be used to prevent the cold virus from morphing into pneumonia and other lung infections.

Although the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin C is only 75-90 milligrams for adults, recent research argues that 500mg of Vitamin C are needed to fully reap the benefits of the nutrient. Good sources of Vitamin C include cantaloupe (59mg in 1 cup), orange juice (97mg in 1 cup), green pepper (60mg in 1 cup), red pepper (95mg in 1 cup), and cooked broccoli (74mg in 1 cup).

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is another nutrient that is often underappreciated. The most noticeable benefit of Vitamin K is its ability to boost bone health. One condition that can be treated with Vitamin K is bone demineralization, a process in which excessive bone cells strip bones of badly-needed nutrients and transfer them to other parts of the body. Vitamin K helps to prevent the formation of these cells, known as osteoclasts, thereby keeping your body’s bones supplied with key nutrients. As an additional benefit, Vitamin K facilitates carboxylation, a process which enables bone protein (called osteocalcin) to function properly.

In addition to strengthening bones, Vitamin K can also improve brain performance by producing a fat called sphingolipids. This fat is the key building block of the myelin sheath, a layer of cell insulation that allows nerve cells to transmit impulses. In addition, high levels of Vitamin K can guard against calcification (a build up of calcium in tissue), a condition that put the body’s cardiovascular system at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis and stroke.

The daily recommended dose of Vitamin K is 80 micrograms. Foods that contain significant amounts of Vitamin K include kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, green beans and brussels sprouts.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is best known for its role as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants fight oxygenated cells in the body called free radicals, which damage other cells by stealing their electrons. Oxygenated cells may lead to a multitude of diseases, such as cataracts, muscular degeneration, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer. Once in the body, Vitamin E merges with oxygen and hunts down free radicals, protecting compounds that are vulnerable to oxygenation, such as Vitamin A and polysaturated fats.

Vitamin E is far from a one-trick pony, as it can be used to prevent and treat a variety of illnesses and diseases. It is an effective tool against cancer, as it stunts tumor growth while protecting at-risk areas from becoming cancerous. Diabetics find Vitamin E useful for boosting insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. This vitamin can even help athletes to clear their body of free radicals after lengthy workouts.

It is recommended that adults consume 15mg of Vitamin E per day. Shoppers looking for good sources of Vitamin E should target sunflower seeds (7.4 mg per serving), dry-roasted almonds (6.8mg per serving), hazelnuts (4.3 mg per serving), peanut butter (2.9mg per serving) and dry-roasted peanuts (2.2mg per serving).

Vitamin A

The condition of your body’s immune system depends largely on its supply of Vitamin A. This nutrient bolsters the health of skin and mucous membrane cells, enabling them to stay moist and resistant to cell damage. The moist texture of skin and mucous membrane cells blocks bacteria and viruses from penetrating and infecting the body.

Vitamin A’s benefits are not just limited to reinforcing your immune system. Vitamin A also specializes in the upkeep of your eyesight. When converted into its retinal form, it solidifies the eye’s ability to observe and identify objects during night time hours. Your body’s bones and teeth also make good use of this nutrient, as Vitamin A is used by these body parts to replace tissue. Vitamin A hinders the development of DNA in cancerous cells, serving to disrupt the spread of tumors. A steady consumption of Vitamin A can also serve as a precautionary measure against strokes.

There are a number of foods that are rich in Vitamin A. This list features a number of vegetables, including carrots, spinach, collards, and kale, in addition to sweet potatoes, pumpkins and beef.

Vitamin B12

Our bodies require Vitamin B12 to manufacture new blood cells and maintain our nervous system. As with Vitamin K, Vitamin B12 helps protect the myelin sheath, allowing it to transfer messages to nerve cells throughout the body. Vitamin B12 is commonly found in seafood such as clams, oysters, mussels, lobsters and assorted fish. Beef, lamb, cheese and eggs are also good sources of Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is essential for a well-functioning body, as it fosters the development of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, metabolizes food into energy, reduces stress and depression, and allows the heart and brain to run smoothly. Given its importance, it is no surprise that a deficiency in Vitamin B6 can lead to serious consequences, such as tongue inflammation, irritation, weakness, and scale-like blemishes on the skin and mouth. In more extreme cases, Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause depression and seizures.

The best sources of Vitamin B6 are poultry products, like chicken, beef, turkey and pork. Like its cousin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 is readily found in fish, such as cod, salmon, halibut, trout and tuna. Vegetarians should feat not – this nutrient is widely found in a large variety of non-meat products, including bell peppers, spinach, baked potatoes, green peas, broccoli, peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, whole wheat bread, and bran.

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