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What are vitamins and why are they important?

Vitamins are vital dietary components that must be supplied to the body with the food. They do not provide energy but are essential for many metabolic processes and for healthy growt. Typically, a small enough number to afford to enormous! vitamins

Find out more from the Vitamin history

It is now more than 100 years when the first vitamin (vitamin B1) was discovered. But since ancient times are diseases known which are now classified as clearly vitamin deficiency symptoms, the doctors at that time but many tasks puzzles. They based their whole therapy on observations made during the course of disease and were thus many healing was success. The ancient Egyptians and the Greeks found out for example that raw liver against night blindness helps and none other than the eminent Greek physician Hippocrates (400 B.C.) put this recipe in patients with vision problems successfully.

Barrel of sauerkraut for sailors

Scurvy – the result of vitamin C deficiency – grip in the years 1,500 to 1,800 in a devastating manner as to that of their more sailors died in the naval battles, in case of accidents or other incidents at sea. In the Middle Ages the scurvy was the second biggest killer after tuberculosis! Already Christopher Columbus is said to have taken on his voyages Barrel of vitamin C rich sauerkraut to prevent scurvy. In 1747 enacted a ship’s doctor his sailors, oranges and lemons to eat every day and thus brought the disease completely disappear. Although the relationships were not clear at this time, but pointed all these observations suggest that in addition to protein, fat and carbohydrates has yet to give the food more vital substances and that a lack of these substances leads to the most characteristic diseases in humans and animals.

Deficiencies, there’s even today

Actually, it is likely in view of the large food supply, and the widespread over-eating a vitamin and mineral deficiency is not in us, but the opposite is often the case: while we eat more than enough, but often simply the wrong thing! It is not hard to avoid a vitamin deficiency. People who eat a varied and regularly fresh fruits, seasonal vegetables, fresh herbs, cereals and dairy products purchases for which is a vitamin deficiency not an issue. An increased need for vitamins is especially under extreme stress situations, in pregnant women, the elderly and for chronic conditions such as diabetes. The consequences of vitamin and mineral deficit are diverse, not infrequently result in serious physical and psychological disorders.

What vitamins are there?

Vitamins are divided according to their solubility in fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. The fat-soluble vitamins can be taken in combination with fat. The fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K. The water-soluble vitamins include all the B complex (B1, B2, B6, B12), niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin and vitamin C. Some vitamins may be selected from a precursor, the so-called Provitamin (eg beta-carotene to vitamin A) to be established.

Some vitamins, particularly the fat-soluble or vitamin B12 in the body may sometimes be stored for a long time, if we take more to us than we need. Others such as Vitamin C is excreted in the urine, if we take too much of it. Overdose is therefore very difficult here.

So it happens that an overdose, especially in the fat-soluble vitamins can lead to serious complications. Overdoses are practically impossible with the food, they can only have the excessive intake of vitamin supplements come about.

Vitamin losses by storing and cooking

If you want to eat rich in vitamins, which should pay attention to a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables of the season, not only when shopping. Equally important are storage and preparation. Because vitamins are sensitive to many external influences.

Therefore applies to fresh foods: dear shopping often and smaller amounts and eat fresh. And: store vegetables in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. The main causes of storage losses are in fact light, oxygen and high temperatures, for example, in the warm kitchen.

Further losses occur even during preparation. Because most of the vitamins are very sensitive to heat. What is important is the preparation period. In short sear meat or vegetables considerably more vitamins are preserved when the cooking in a saucepan. Many vitamins (and minerals) also go through the cooking water, where they are destroyed faster. Better than cooking is therefore stewing or steaming.

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