Vitamins for Good Health
These are nine of the most common vitamins that should be present in our daily diet. All of these vitamins can be produced from everyday fruits and vegetables and can be grown in an average garden with a little careful planning.
Acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals when necessary. It is needed for good vision, healthy skin and normal bone development. Good sources of Vitamin A include: Apricots, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.
Converts carbohydrates and fats into energy. It helps the heart, digestive and nervous systems to function properly. Good sources include: Artichokes, carrots, cauliflower, endive, leeks, mushrooms, peas, potatoes, soy beans, sweet corn, whole grains and wholemeal products.
Is essential in normal growth development and releases the energy from carbohydrates. While milk and yogurt products are the most common sources of Vitamin B2, other good sources include: Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, garlic, okra, turnip greens and whole grains.
Helps manufacture antibodies to fight infection and, as with all the B vitamins, plays a major role in keeping blood cells acting efficiently. Good sources include: Eggplant, bananas, cauliflower, grapes, green cabbage, nuts, raspberries, shallots, squash, turnips and whole grains.
Is a healing vitamin and should be taken in larger doses when the body needs to repair itself after injury or illness; it improves resistance to infection. Good sources include: Apples, blackberries, cabbage, citrus fruits, endive, kale, lettuce, melons, pears, radish, squash, tomatoes and turnips.
Is considered to be one of nature’s best antioxidants to protect the body against free radicals. Good sources include: Blueberries, green leafy vegetables, kale, soy beans, sunflower seeds and wheat germ.
Breaks down fats and sugars and helps to maintain efficient functioning of the stomach, nervous system and skin. Niacin is found in protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and legumes. Other good sources include: Artichokes, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, parsley, peas, soy beans and sweet corn.
Folate (Folic Acid)
Isn’t made by the body and must come from a good food source. Good sources include: Asparagus, blackberries, black-eyed peas, cabbage, cauliflower, French beans, kidney beans, leafy green vegetables, lentils, mushrooms, oranges and spinach.
Pantothenic Acid (B5)
Helps to break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates and enables energy production. It is needed to produce B12 and helps maintain cell structure in the blood. Good sources include: Artichokes, avocado, broad beans, broccoli, chicory, haricot beans, lentils, mushrooms and sweet potatoes.
Adapted from Grow Your Own Pharmacy by Linda Gray (Findhorn Press, 2007).