Vitamin E

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Vitamin E could be called the “Warrior Vitamin”! It protects our bodies in so many ways. It is an antioxidant that helps to protect us from toxins, pollution and premature aging. It also protects other nutrients from being damaged. Our immune system, nerves and muscles all need vitamin E to function properly. It helps to heal injured tissue and prevent scarring. It also has some anticoagulant properties to keep our blood from clotting. We store it in our liver, but if we have excess our body eliminates it through our urine. This is one powerful vitamin.

Since vitamin C and selenium are also antioxidants they are good to take with vitamin E to help fight toxins in our bodies. Vitamin E helps our bodies to absorb vitamin A, but iron absorption is hindered by vitamin E so take them at separate times.

So how can we get Vitamin A into our diet? According to http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/vitamin-E.php here are the top ten sources: sunflower seeds, paprika and chili powder, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, dried herbs (basil and oregano), dried apricots, pickled green olives, cooked spinach and cooked taro root. No doubt you already eat many of these foods. Obviously adding vitamin E to your diet is simply and delicious. I do wonder though if anyone has ever cooked and/or eaten taro root. What is it like?

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The information about Vitamin E comes from the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Group, 1997.

Vitamin D

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So today we’re moving on to Vitamin D which is another fat-soluble vitamin like Vitamin A. This means they dissolve in fat. If your body has a problem absorbing fat-soluble vitamins there are forms that have been turned into water-soluble forms for easier assimilation in your body.

We all know that we get Vitamin D from the sun, and if you follow the latest health news you are also aware that more and more emphasis is being placed on the importance of Vitamin D. The precursor to vitamin D comes from the cholesterol in our skin. Sunlight converts it to Vitamin D, and then for our bodies to be able to fully use it  it has to be activated first by our liver then by our kidneys. Wow! Who knew? It’s amazing how our bodies have to work together like an orchestra so that we can be healthy.

So you know Vitamin D comes from the sun, but do you know why our bodies need it? Our bones need if for growth and renewal because Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium. It also helps in the absorption of Vitamin C and is required for our nervous system and for our blood to clot. Without enough Vitamin D we run the risk of rickets. Rickets cause the bones to weaken and in children to not form properly. Since adults have fully formed bones, rickets causes pain in the bones.

Other than getting enough sun there are foods we can eat that will increase our Vitamin D. Here are the top ten according to www.healthaliciousness.com. First up – cod liver oil. Thankfully, this comes in capsule form and we don’t have to plug our noses and take a gulp every morning. There there is fish, fortified cereal, oysters, caviar, fortified soy products (not sure if I recommend this one – we try to avoid soy as much as possible), salami/ham/sausages, fortified dairy products, eggs and finally mushrooms.

There is much fear today about getting too much sun. The problem is that with all the sunscreen we slather on our bodies we are cutting down the amount of Vitamin D we can get. I’ve noticed that my children who love to be outside all summer naturally protect themselves. They do the most of their playing in the early morning and late afternoon to early evening. If they are outside doing the height of the heat they tend to quietly sit in a shady spot reading or doing some other quiet activity. They have never had a sun burn, and we don’t use sunscreen. This is what works for us, and how we handle the sun after much research. Do the same. Study it out for yourself and decide what works for you. Sunscreens made with natural products are becoming more readily available which may be a good fit for you.

Whatever you do work this important vitamin into your life either through more sun exposure or food.

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The information about Vitamin A comes from the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Group, 1997.

Vitamin A

Full_Market_Basket1Wow! I’m learning a lot while studying the various vitamins. Today I want to talk about Vitamin A.

Did you know there are two forms of Vitamin A? There is Vitamin A itself and it’s precursor, beta-carotene. I didn’t know beta-carotene was a “precursor” to Vitamin A. I guess when I heard the word I thought it was synonymous with Vitamin A. They are two different things though. Vitamin A is only found in animal sources and beta-carotene comes from plants. The good news though if you are vegetarian is that most people have no trouble converting beta-carotene into Vitamin A. They do, however, need to make sure that they are getting Vitamins B12 and C, zinc, and protein to make this conversion happen.

So what does Vitamin A do for us? Vitamin A helps to renew our skin and mucous membranes. It also helps to repair the linings in our digestive and respiratory tracts. Our immune and respiratory systems need Vitamin A in order to function correctly. And, of course, we all know that Vitamin A is important to our vision, but did you also know that it is good for our bones, teeth and blood?

So how can we get Vitamin A into our diet? According to www.healthaliciousness.com here are the top ten sources: liver, paprika/red pepper/cayenne/chili powders, sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, butternut squash, dried herbs, dark and colourful lettuces, dried apricot and cantaloupe. Other foods considered rich in Vitamin A are: papaya, mangoes, green peas, tomatoes, peaches, sweet red peppers, fortified skim milk, whole milk and fortified oatmeal. With a list like that it should be easy to work Vitamin A into your diet!

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The information about Vitamin A comes from the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Alive Publishing Group, 1997.

Introducing Vitamins

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Let’s talk about vitamins.  We all know we need them, but what are they?

Vitamins are a chemical compound in our bodies that regulate chemical reactions to turn food into energy and living tissue.

There are 13 vitamins; a few of these can be produced by our bodies, but the majority have to come from outside our bodies. We would like to believe that our diet alone can produce all we need. Sadly, because our soils are so depleted this is no longer a reality. Everyone needs to supplement to one degree or another depending on our lifestyle and diet.

A lack of one vitamin can impede the function of another. It can also cause a deficiency disease. An example of a deficiency disease is scurvy. Scurvy is a lack of vitamin C. Sailors used to suffer from scurvy on long voyages when they had little or no fresh fruits. When the British navy realized what was causing scurvy they began to send limes and lemons with their ships so the juice could be added to the sailors’ daily grog. Hence the derogatory term “limey” was born to refer to British sailors. Eventually the word was used of Brits in general and lost its negative connotation.

Over the next few weeks I plan on doing a series on the various vitamins. We will look at what they do for us and good sources for each vitamin both in our diet and with supplements.