Vitamins are biologically active substances necessary for the vital activity of the body.
Our body needs a very small amount of vitamins, but their lack quickly leads to the development of hypovitaminosis, and the lack of it causes severe metabolic disorders – vitamin deficiency.
Vitamins are needed by our body for the synthesis of enzymes. They ensure the efficiency of metabolic processes, increase immunity and resistance to diseases, accelerate tissue regeneration, etc.
Vitamins are designated in Latin letters and are divided into 2 groups: water-soluble and fat-soluble.
- Water-soluble vitamins (B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, PP, C) enter the human body in the form of aqueous solutions.
- Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) dissolve in food fats and are absorbed along with them.
C (ascorbic acid) – participates in redox processes, increases resistance to infections. With a lack of this vitamin, scurvy develops. This disease is characterized by the appearance of skin ulcers, bleeding gums, and tooth loss. Prolonged vitamin C deficiency can lead to death. Vitamin C is rich in fruits of black currant, rose hips, sea buckthorn. There is a lot of it in sweet peppers, cabbage, as well as in other vegetables and fruits.
B1 (thiamine) – participates in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, in the conduction of nerve impulses. Vitamin B1 is required by our body for the normal course of processes associated with the work of the endocrine glands, nervous system and immune systems. With a lack of vitamin, polyneuritis develops. The patient has disturbed sleep, headaches appear, legs weaken and hurt. We get thiamine from legumes and bran products.
B2 (riboflavin) – participates in cellular respiration. Hypovitaminosis causes inflammation of the mucous membrane of the corners of the mouth, wounds heal poorly in a person, lacrimation and photophobia appear. Vitamin B2 is found in buckwheat, bread, fish, liver, meat, eggs, dairy products.
B6 – participates in the metabolism, with hypovitaminosis, skin diseases, convulsions, anemia occur.
B12 – participates in protein metabolism. With hypovitaminosis, anemia occurs.
PP (nicotinic acid) – provides the body with a normal intensity of energy metabolism, participates in cellular respiration, the work of the digestive system. With a lack of nicotinic acid, pellagra develops – a serious disease that affects the digestive system, nervous system and skin. Vitamin PP enters our body with cereals, bread, legumes, fish and meat products, vegetables. This vitamin is especially abundant in yeast and dried mushrooms.
A (retinol) – affects the growth and development of the body, skin condition and vision. It is found in animal products: sour cream, butter, eggs, fish liver. Some plants contain beta-carotene – an orange pigment that can be converted into vitamin A in the human body. With hypovitaminosis, night blindness occurs (in poor light, a person cannot distinguish colors).
D (calciferol) – needed for normal bone formation. It ensures the supply of calcium and phosphorus compounds to the bone tissue. With hypovitaminosis, a disease develops – rickets. Vitamin D enters our body mainly with animal products: eggs, dairy products, fish liver. Also, vitamin D is formed in human skin under the influence of ultraviolet radiation (with sunburn).
E – protects cell membranes from free radicals. With hypovitaminosis, sexual function is weakened, skeletal muscle dystrophy develops. To provide the body with vitamin E, you need to use vegetable oils, liver, bread, eggs, beans, peas.
K – (phylloquinone) is required for the formation of substances involved in blood coagulation. With a lack of this vitamin, blood clotting decreases. It is found in cauliflower, squash, and beef liver. Vitamin K is also produced by microorganisms that inhabit the large intestine.
Preservation of vitamins in food
Every person should receive all the necessary vitamins every day with food, if they are not enough in food, you can take vitamin preparations on the recommendation of a doctor.
The preservation of vitamins in food depends on the culinary processing of food, the conditions and duration of its storage.
The least stable vitamins are A, B1 and B2.
It has been found that vitamin A is destroyed during cooking and drying of foods containing it (for example, boiled carrots contain half as much as raw carrots). Heat treatment also significantly reduces the content of B vitamins in food (meat after cooking loses from 15 to 60% of B vitamins, and plant products – about 1/5).
When heated and even in contact with air, vitamin C is easily destroyed, so vegetables must be peeled and cut before boiling. To preserve more vitamins in vegetables, it is better to dip them immediately into boiling water, cook for a short time in a sealed container and eat immediately after cooking.