"Vita" is Latin and means life. Vitamins are essential, vital chemical organic compounds that take on a variety of tasks in the organism. They themselves are not energy sources, but are significantly involved in the utilization of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, so they are indirectly related to energy. Vitamins are also important for the immune system and are involved in the development of blood cells, cells, bones and teeth.
Why vitamins are so important
YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VITAMINS
Because metabolism can not synthesize 11 out of 13 vitamins, we need to absorb it with food. Only two vitamins can be produced by the body itself: Vitamin D is produced in the body under the influence of solar radiation that hits the skin. Intestinal bacteria that live in symbiosis with us produce vitamin K. Vitamin B3 (niacin) can also be used the body itself produce under certain conditions.
All other vitamins are obtained from foods, especially fruits and vegetables, but also legumes, oils, meat, fish and animal products such as eggs and cheese. Due to their different functions, vitamins can not be interchangeable, but sometimes they complement each other in their effects.
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There are fat-soluble (lipophilic) and water-soluble (hydrophilic) vitamins. Fat-soluble means that they can not be chemically broken down and used in the body without additional fat molecules. Soluble in water means they can not do their job without water.
ATTENTION TO PREPARATION AND STORAGE
You should always prepare foods high in vitamins A, D, E and K with an oil such as olive oil rich in unsaturated fatty acids, otherwise your body will not be able to handle it. A lack of vitamins is as unhealthy as an overdose. In particular, an excess of lipophilic vitamins can have a lasting adverse effect on health.
Treat vitamin-rich foods gently. Wash them only briefly and do not use too much water for cooking. Pay attention to short cooking times and comparatively low temperatures. You should not leave sliced vegetables and fruits in the air too long.
What are vitamins anyway?
Vitamins are organic molecules that are vital to the normal functioning of our body. We need them for our growth, our vitality and our well-being. Vitamins bring our metabolism to life as the spark plugs the engine. Vitamins can - with a few exceptions - not be produced by the body itself. So most vitamins have to get into our bodies with our food and are part of the natural foods. Probably the most important exception is vitamin D, which the body can also produce via the skin if there is sufficient sunlight exposure if the diet does not contain enough D-vitamins.
A distinction is made between water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.
The water-soluble vitamins, eg. B vitamins (except B 12) and vitamin C are not stored by the body and therefore need to be replaced daily. Water-soluble vitamins form part of enzymes as coenzymes and thus contribute to the regulation and regulation of bodily functions as well as the generation of body energy. B vitamins such as choline and inositol, as part of cell membranes, perform certain functions in the cells.
The fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) can be stored in the body - especially in the liver - and given to the cells as needed. Vitamins A and D have hormone-like properties. The vitamin E protects the fatty acids in the cells from oxidation, which is mainly caused by the attack of free radicals.
Vitamins are sensitive substances.
Vitamins can be easily destroyed by external influences (light, air, heating). In fact, it has been proven that e.g. Canteen and preprocessed foods contain only 60% of the original vitamins. Of this then over the preparation again well half lost and the small remainder enters only in the cells, if the enzymes and mucous membranes in the intestine work properly and the intestinal flora is intact; All this is the exception today.
Which vitamins does a person need?
The still common classification and naming of vitamins is historically conditioned. In this case, newly discovered vitamins and vitamin-like substances were sorted not by their chemical molecular structure but by the function that they fulfill in the organism, or by the corresponding deficiency symptoms in the main groups A-E (later also K).
Thus, each vitamin fulfills its own unique functions in the metabolism, which are characteristic of the respective vitamin and therefore by definition can not or only to a limited extent be taken over by other vitamins.
Accordingly, despite certain overlaps (especially within the group of B vitamins), one can assume that a healthy body should be permanently supplied with sufficient amounts of all vitamins. This recommendation can also be pragmatically justified by a statistical comparison of the general health and fitness status of people with or without vitamin deficiency.