As we know, nutrients that people require can be of two types: macronutrients which are needed in relatively large amounts, and micronutrients which are needed in smaller quantities. The macronutrients are carbohydrates, fiber, fats, protein, and water. The micronutrients are minerals, vitamins, and others. Here are health benefits of some vitamins.
Provitamin A (beta-carotene) is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. It takes part in many metabolic reactions throughout the body that help maintain good vision, gene transcription, embryonic development and reproduction, bone metabolism, skin and cellular health, and mucous membrane conditions. Vitamin A is important for strengthening the immune system because it functions as antioxidant. Many studies indicate that vitamin A has been linked to reduced rates of cancer and heart disease. Vitamin A deficiency is “the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness,” according to UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund). Goji berries are not rich in provitamin A; they are superrich, having 536% of its Daily Value.
B Vitamins have been called the “happy vitamins” or “anti-stress vitamins” because they can improve your mood and increase your tolerance to stress. B6 is crucial for dopamine and serotonin production. B9 strengthens memory and concentration while preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1): Vitamin B1 is very beneficial for your overall health. It is involved in many biochemical reactions in the body. Thiamine is needed for the metabolism of sugars and amino acids. B1 is important in keeping the nervous system healthy and plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy mental attitude. It can help stabilize mood and improve memory and concentration. Thiamine’s phosphate derivatives are involved in many cellular processes. As people are unable to make it, thiamine is an essential nutrient. All organisms use vitamin B1, but it is made only in bacteria, fungi, and plants. Humans must obtain it from their diet. Sunflower seeds and macadamias are one of the best sources of B1. Vitamin B1 is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is required by the body for cellular respiration – a set of metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products. Respiration is one of the key ways a cell releases chemical energy to fuel cellular activity. Riboflavin is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. Estimated Average Requirements (EARs) for riboflavin for adults are 0.9 mg/day.
- Niacin (Vitamin B3): B3 supports the functions of the nervous and digestive system. The body can produce niacin from the amino acid L-tryptophan. A deficiency in B3 can cause depression, irritability, stress and mood disturbances. Niacin functions to help the body release energy from carbohydrates. This can control blood sugar and maintain nervous system functioning.
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6): B6 can help the body manufacture neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which aids in the body’s ability to cope with depression, stress and anxiety. B6 may also help boost the immune system during times of anxiety.
- Folic Acid (Vitamin B9): Folic acid is an essential vitamin needed for energy. The body is unable to produce folic acid on its own. If there is a deficiency in folic acid, people may experience depression and fatigue which may produce higher levels of stress.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters. It is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that acts as a free radical scavenger. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals. It has significant anti-inflammatory effects that result in the reduction of symptoms in asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, help decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women going through menopause, and help reduce the development of diabetic complications.
Vitamins A, C and E, selenium and beta-carotene for brain protection
These free-radical fighters prevent brain cell from oxidative damage. Brain cells are particularly vulnerable to free radicals. Antioxidant nutrients protect against brain aging and delay the progression of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Choline is a water-soluble vitamin-like essential nutrient. Choline is the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in secretion of nitric oxide.
A number of studies suggested that erectile dysfunction could be cured with lycopene. Lycopene naturally helps blood vessels to relax, which enhances circulation and, in turn, can improve blood flow in the penis and support a healthy erection acting like a natural Viagra. Sun-dried tomatoes are super rich in lycopene.