Get to know your vitamins

Get to know your vitaminsIt’s easy to remember important vitamins by simply thinking of your ABCs. To ensure you and your family are getting enough of them in a balanced diet,nutritionist Louelle Levenberg outlines the key benefits of vitamin supplements from A to E:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps maintain bones, teeth, skin and vision and also supports a healthy immune system. Food sources of vitamin A include liver, dairy products and fish—but did you know that the body also converts carotenoids from plant foods into vitamin A? Carotenoids are found in high quantities in dark green, yellow, orange and red vegetables and fruit.

Vitamin B

Important B vitamins include Thiamin (B1), Niacin (B3), Riboflavin (B2), Folate, B6 and B12. They work to make red blood cells, form DNA,keep the nervous system healthy and even help the body use energy from food. B-vitamins are found in all four food groups, so be sure to eat a variety of foods from Canada’s Food Guide.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is important for the growth and repair of bones, teeth, skin and other tissues and can increase the body’s ability to absorb iron from plant foods. Well-known for its antioxidant properties, vitamin C also helps prevent cell damage and supports immune health. Vegetables and fruit are the best sources of vitamin C; some foods, like peppers, broccoli, cabbage, guava, papaya and oranges, provide higher levels of vitamin C.

Vitamin D

It’s important to get enough Vitamin D because it helps the body absorb and use calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth. It can also help protect against infections by keeping your immune system healthy. Food sources of Vitamin D include milk, yogurt, eggs and fish.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that helps protects cell damage by free radicals and also helps support healthy immune functions. Vitamin E is found in foods that contain healthy fats like nuts, seeds and cold pressed vegetable oils, and also in green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals.

“When you lack key vitamins and nutrients, feel stressed, or are sleep-deprived, your immune system can suffer, increasing your susceptibility to illness and fatigue,” says Levenberg. “If you can’t always eat healthily, you may want to add a supplement.” She suggests a spectrum multivitamin to top up vitamins A through E and other key nutrients. “Everyone has different nutritional needs depending on age, health or dietary needs,” she explains, “so it’s important to choose a supplement that is right for you.”

“A helpful online source for information is the vitamin finder at www.lifebrandvitamins.ca,” Levenberg points out. “If you would like to make it easier to take vitamin supplements, take a look at new formats the like latest vitamin D offering from Life Brand that comes in a chewable tablet.” Other formulas, such as vitamin C, are available in blueberry and citrus flavours. For kids, Levenberg recommends Life Brand vitamin D drops and gummy multivitamins.

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