What Are Vitamins


A correct diet consists of the following six classes of food substances

  1. Proteins, such as meat, fish, eggs, etc., used in the growth and repair of animal tissues.
  2. Fats, such as butter and animal and vegetable fats, which serve as fuel to provide energy and heat.
  3. Carbohydrates, which include the starchy foods and sugars—e.g., flour of wheat, oatmeal, and rice, other cereals, sugars, honey, etc.
  4. Mineral salts, such as chlorides, carbonates, phosphates and sulfates of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron.
  5. Water is a transparent fluid which forms the world’s streams, lakes, oceans and rain.
  6. Vitamins are organic compounds and vital nutrients that an organism requires in limited amounts.

With the first five, all people are familiar, but when vitamins are mentioned, the majority have vague and confused ideas of what they really are.

What Are Vitamins & Benefits Of Vitamins

Now, the word vitamin is derived from the Latin “vita” meaning “life” and vitamins consist of chemical substances of such importance to man that if they are not provided in his food supply, death results.

Vitamin A:

  • Is derived from a yellowish pigment called “carotene” which is present in the green leaves exposed to the sun, and in most red and yellow fruits and vegetables.
  • This vitamin influences growth, and the lack of it not only prevents normal development of the body, but brings about a disease of the eye called xerophthalmia.

Vitamin B:

  • Under this heading, which is usually referred to as the “Vitamin B complex” come a number of vitamins,  B1, B2, B3, B4, and B5.
  • All vitamins included under the B complex, are present in yeast and many other foodstuffs, e.g. the germ and bran of cereals which unfortunately is so carefully removed from human food and utilized to feed domestic animals, peanuts, dried peas and beans.

Vitamin C:

  • Prevents scurvy, a disease that develops in four to six months when the diet contains insufficient fresh vegetables and fresh fruit.
  • Citrus fruits, tomatoes and pine apples are excellent sources of vitamin C, while potatoes, milk, green vegetables and other fruits are quite good sources.

Vitamin D:

  • Is known as the rickets preventing, and rickets is caused by a deficiency of vitamin D.
  • It is found along with vitamin A in the same food, very little, however is present in green vegetables, carrots, and tomatoes, and none in the body fat of animals.

Vitamin E:

  • Is never lacking In the ordinary mixed diet, being present in meat, eggs, green leaves and seeds.
  • Vitamin E is a fat soluble antioxidant that is essential for the maintenance of healthy skin.

The following four lists, show in a very simple way, how a well balanced diet can be obtained:

  • Vitamin A and D:
    • Very good: Cod and other fish liver oils.
    • Good: fish, bird, fish roe, egg-yolk and butter.
    • A only: Green vegetables, carrots and tomatoes.
    • Fair: Milk, cheese, fat meat, heart and kidney.
  • Vitamin C:
    • Very good: Citrus fruits, tomatoes and raw green vegetables.
    • Good: Raw swedes turnips, raw young carrots, raw liver, raspberries and blackberries.
    • Fair: Most of other fruits, tinned fruits, boiled potatoes, raw milk and lightly cooked liver.
  • Vitamin B1:
    • Excellent: Yeast and marmite.
    • Very good: Bran, middlings, peanuts, dried peas and beans, lentils, nuts.
    • Good: Egg yolk, hard fish roe, liver, heart, kidney, wholemeal, oatmeal, whole barley and brown rice.
    • Fair: Oranges, tomatoes, artichokes, potatoes and cabbages.
  • Vitamin B2:
    • Excellent: Yeast.
    • Very good: Liver.
    • Good: Heart, kidney, lean meat and fish.
    • Fair: Bran, middlings, milk, egg yolk, tomatoes, fish liver and wholemeal.

To provide a meal containing a sufficient vitamin content, at least one good food should be included from each of the four lists, e,g,—whole meal bread, butter, lean meat, salad, a glass of milk and some fruit.

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