It’s no surprise that we’ve all been taking the extra steps to remain healthy and safe during this coronavirus pandemic. Besides socially-distancing, remaining indoors unless absolutely necessary, and wearing protective gear in public settings, there are other things we can be doing from the comfort of our homes to ensure that our bodies, and immune systems specifically, are still running smoothly.
Did you know that your body needs 13 essential vitamins in order to stay alive and healthy? Obviously, most of us aren’t taking 13 different supplements a day, however, that doesn’t matter as most of these vitamins are commonly found in the foods/beverages we ingest everyday. That being said it’s important, now more than ever, that you’re ensuring you and your family are getting all the vitamins they need to keep themselves up and running.
“The 13 essential vitamins your body needs are vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyroxidine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12). The four fat-soluble vitamins—A, D, E, and K—are stored in the body’s fatty tissues. The other nine vitamins are water-soluble and therefore must be replenished regularly because they are removed from the body in your urine. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver,” according to Reader’s Digest Canada.
The most effective way to make sure your body is getting enough of these 13 vitamins everyday is through a balanced diet from a variety of foods, so here are some of the most commonly ingested foods containing the essential nutrients and vitamins we need:
Vitamin A: Vitamin A’s main purpose is to aid your body in growth and cell development, so if you’re a younger individual, this vitamin is especially important for your body as it navigates puberty. Vitamin A also aids your body in its nail, skin, hair, bone, and teeth growth and it’s been proven to help prevent certain respiratory diseases such as lung cancer. Vitamin A is most commonly found in cold-water fish meat, such as Salmon, or fortified dairy products like eggs.
Vitamin D: This vitamin is most commonly thought of in relation to the sun, as sun rays emit Vitamin D that gets absorbed into our skin, however, during a time where our government is telling us all to stay inside, we’ll have to turn to alternative ways of getting our daily dose vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for calcium development, so it’s most commonly found in milk, butter, egg yolks, and fatty fishes.
Vitamin E: This vitamin specifically keeps your muscles and red blood cells functional, and also serves as a natural antioxidant for your body. Again, this vitamin is commonly found in eggs, you’ll notice there’s a lot of crossover food items on this list, which is great for when you need to plan your weekly meals. It’s also found in vegetable oil, mayonnaise, nuts, seeds, and certain cereals.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is mainly used in the body for clotting your blood. No, not in a harmful way, Vitamin K is responsible for helping your red blood cells clot when you get a scrap or cut so that you don’t continuously bleed. It’s most often found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, lettuce, and more.
Vitamin C: One of the most commonly known vitamins, vitamin C is found in most citrus fruits and vegetables as well. This vitamin is specifically responsible for strengthening your blood vessel walls, which in turn promotes wound healing and supports overall immunity. It’s why we’re often told to take vitamin C supplements when we feel like we’re getting sick.
As previously mentioned, the following B-vitamins are all water-soluble and excreted from your body through urination, as opposed to the other Vitamins which are totally absorbed into the body, more or less. This is why they need to be replenished within your body everyday.
Vitamin B1: Essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism/digestive system, commonly found in pork, nuts, seeds, and other grains.
Vitamin B2: Also supports metabolic health and improves on ocular health (eyesight). Most commonly found in dairy products, poultry and raw mushrooms.
Vitamin B3: Benefits metabolic health as well as the body’s natural growth throughout life (hair, nails, teeth, etc.) Mostly found in seafood products, poultry, and eggs.
Vitamin B5: Aids metabolic health and energy while also stabilizing blood sugar levels when they seem to get too high or low. The best part? Almost every single food item out there has vitamin B5 in it.
Vitamin B6: The following four B Vitamins are all imperative to our bodies overall immune response/health. They not only promote good metabolic function like the other four, but also play a main role in our bodies nerve function and the creation of red blood cells. Vitamin B6 specifically can be found in meat, fish, cereals, bananas, and leafy green vegetables.
Vitamin B7: Same benefits as B6, and is found in eggs, soybeans, whole grains, and nuts.
Vitamin B9: Vitamin B9 carries out all of the functions listed for B6 while also aiding the body in making DNA, RNA, red blood cells, and essential proteins. Vitamin B9 is also extremely important for individuals who are pregnant, as it helps prevent birth defects. It can be found in leafy green vegetables, asparagus, oranges, avocados, and yeast.
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is essentially the same exact vitamin as B9, very important, and is found in pretty much all food products that are derived from other animals.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.