Think you know your vitamin A from your vitamin B7? We thought not. Vitamins are vital to the upkeep of the human body, we all need them and they all come from a variety of sources. But breaking down exactly what each vitamin does and where we can get them from can be more painful than leg day.
To make things that little bit easier, personal trainer Pete O’Reilly has conveniently laid out a table on Instagram detailing everything you ever needed to know about micronutrients (vitamins). He says there are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble, and water-soluble. There are also essential and nonessential, which refer to vitamins we can only get from our diet and ones that our body produces naturally, respectively.
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Fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E, and K are most commonly found in fatty foods and are stored by the body for long-term use, whereas water-soluble vitamins – C and Bs 1,2,3,6,7,9,12 – can be found in fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains and pass through your body. And, before you ask, the gaps in the numbers are deliberate, they used to exist as vitamins – B4 for example – but have since been reclassified.
Some vitamins, such as C and D, are well-known and we know we can get them from orange juice and sunlight respectively, but B6 anyone? It’s Pyridoxine, which helps to make red blood cells, and improves our sleep, appetite, and mood. It seems pretty important, then. Excuse us while we go and stock up on tofu and bananas.
Fortunately, for the vegetarians and vegans out there, the majority of the vitamins our body needs to carry out its daily functions can be found in plant-based foods, not just meats. So at least you won’t have to resort to vitamin supplements, which have been found to have no real health benefits whatsoever. Although it’s also fair to say that a purely meat-based diet doesn’t exactly do your body any wonders. It’s most definitely all about balance.
So now that you’re clued up on all there is to know about vitamins, you can use your newfound knowledge next time you’re shopping to stock up the fridge. A healthier you awaits.