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IMPORTANCE OF VITAMINS (A'B'C'D'E'K')

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Vitamins are chemical substances that are essential to life. They protect the body from disease and they are needed for good health and proper nourishment.
An illness know as deficiency disease occurs if the diet does not contain a sufficient of vitamins.
 Vitamins are found in small amounts in many foods, but  a sufficient quantity of them can be obtained if a variety of food is eaten daily.
Some vitamins are found mainly in fatty food and these are called 'fat-soluble vitamins'; they are vitamin A,D,E and K.
The others such as the B group and vitamin C, are water-soluble vitamins.

Vitamin A (fat-soluble) promotes general good health, growth, and development.
A deficiency of this vitamin in the diet is cause of loos of weight, a low resistance to infection, and eye trouble.
 It is found mainly in red palm oil, okra, all green and yellow vegetables and fruits, dairy productions, eggs, liver, and fish-liver oils and animals fat, but not in lard. This vitamin is not affected by ordinary cooking temperature, but is destroyed by prolonged heating or in the presence of air.

Vitamin B Group. These are water-soluble vitamins. They are often found together in thesame foods.
They are resistant to ordinary cooking temperatures, but are destroyed by milling.
as in the removal of the germ and husk in white flour and polished rice, or the removal of husk in maize.
They are also destroyed by a high temperature and proloned cooking, by sterilization and the use of alkali.
  The best-known vitamins in the B group are:

1. vitamin B1 or aneurin (thiamine)
2. Vitamin B2 or riboflavin,
3. Nicotinic acid.

Vitamin B1 -anieurin (thiamine). A deficiency of this vitamin in the diet is the cause of tiredness,headache, nervousness, and sleepiness. A person suffering from this deficiency becomes dis pressed, quarrelsome.
A total absence in the diet results in the disease know as BeriBeri.
  Vitamin B is found chiefly in the germ of cereals, in brown bread, groundnuts, peas and beans, and in yeast and its manufactured products, e.g yeast extracts and also in fermented cereals.
Vitamins b2 or ribo flavin. This vitamin promotes growth in the young and protects the body against skin disease.
When an insufficient amount of riboflavin is provided in the diet, cracks and sores appear in the skin at the corners of the mouth, the tongue becomes sore and red, and the growth of the child is checked.
The first ailments are common in pregnant and nursing mothers and in adolescents.
This is because they need more food than the other members of the family.
  Riboflavin is present chiefly in liver, Wholemeal bread, eggs, beef, and yeast.

Nicotinic acid: this also promotes growth in children.
Irritability, loss of memory, dizziness, diarrhea, digestive upsets, and sore tongue are all signs of deficiency of nicotine acid.
When the deficiency becomes severe the disease know as pellagra develops.
 Nicotinic acid is chiefly present in the same foods as those in which Riboflavin is found.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is also water- soluble and is present in fresh fruits, particulary the citrus fruits, vegetables, e.g cabbage, okra, and tomatoes, germinated pulses, animal foods such as fresh liver,fresh meat, and in small quantities in fresh milk, and potatoes.
Its function is to maintain resistance to infection.

If insufficient vitamin C is provided in the diet, the growth of children is checked, there is swelling and bleeding of the gums, the healing of wound is slowed down, and if the deficiency continues, the disease scurry occurs.

 Vitamin C is very easily destroyed by cooking, by cutting up food, by exposure to heat of any kind, by exposure to air, by long storage, and by soaking food in water.
Whenever possible fruits and vegetable should be eaten raw. Large fruits like pawpaw or pineapple should be eaten immediately they are peeled and sliced. Lettuce leaves are best served whole or breaking up into large pieces if necessary.
Shredder lettuce loses a very large percentage of vitamin C with a very short time.
 Stewed and tinned fruit is of little value as a source of vitamin C.

Vitamin D, like vitamin A, is soluble in fat. It is resistant to heat. The body obtains vitamins D from two source: food and the effect of sunlight on the skin  which gives in the name 'sunshine vitamin'.
it is essential to the growth of bones and teeth. it is therefore of special importance to infants and children and to expectant mothers.
Lack of vitamin D in the diet of infants and children causes rickets and the early decay of teeth. It is presents in animal products, e.g fatty fish such as hearings, fish-liver oils, and dairy products.
  Sunlight acting on the skin can cause formation of vitamin D. Therefore in the topics where there is plenty of sunshine, the amount of vitamin D needed from food is greatly reduced.

Vitamin E aids reproduction and lactation. It is found in wheat germ or the embryo of cereals, groundnuts, green vegetable, meat, milk, and eggs.

Vitamin K is essential for normal clothing of the blood and is present in green plants, e.g cabbage and green peas. A well- balanced meal prevents deficiency of this vitamin.

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