At Green Blender, we’re frequently (and with good reason!) tooting our own horns about the wealth of vitamins in our smoothies. Vitamins are organic compounds that we all need to fully function and survive. It is necessary to get vitamins from the foods we eat, because our bodies don’t produce enough of them to reap the benefits. Although they are essential for optimal health, keeping them straight and knowing their unique benefits can be a challenge. Below is the go-to guide for understanding the ABC’s of vitamins.
Vitamin A keeps your skin glowing, gives your hair that silky shine, strengthens your teeth and your immunity, and even promotes good vision. The most common type of vitamin A is beta-carotene. Using fresh fruit and veggies like carrots, cantaloupe, broccoli, spinach, cranberries, and pumpkin, the food source possibilities for vitamin A consumption are numerous and delicious.
Recommended Daily Intake: 700-900 micrograms. A 100-gram serving of orange contains 53 milligrams of vitamin C
B vitamins play important roles in cell metabolism. There are eight different B vitamins, all with different functions and benefits.
Vitamin B1: Also known as Thiamin, this B vitamin aids in the production of energy from dietary carbohydrates and fats. B1 is also essential in healthy brain development and can be found in such foods as broccoli, carrots, kale, tomatoes, beet greens, sunflower seed and flaxseeds.
Recommended Daily Intake: 1.1 milligrams for women and 1.2 milligrams for men.
Vitamin B2: More commonly known as Riboflavin, this B vitamin is essential in energy production. It is needed for healthy cellular energy production and also supports the antioxidant activity in the body, because it is one of the only nutrients required to recycle the antioxidant glutathione. Great sources of Riboflavin can be found in milk, cheese, spinach, beet greens, mushrooms and almonds.
Recommended Daily Intake: 1.1 milligrams for women and 1.3 milligrams for men.
Vitamin B3: Also known as Niacin, this vitamin is proven to improve cholesterol, thus reducing cardiovascular risks. Niacin is also believed to lower the chances of contracting Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, osteoarthritis, and type 1 diabetes. This essential vitamin occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables including beets, salmon, sunflower seeds, peanuts and avocado.
Recommended Daily Intake: 14 milligrams for women and 16 milligrams for men.
Vitamin B5: More commonly referred to as Pantheonic Acid, this vitamin is among the most important of the B vitamins. Without Pantheonic Acid, your body would not be able to break down or metabolize food. It also plays a pivotal role in hormone and cholesterol production. Some great sources of Pantheonic Acid include mushrooms, cauliflower, sweet potato, broccoli, kale, cabbage, beet greens and asparagus.
Recommended Daily Intake: 5 milligrams.
Vitamin B6: Is a water soluble vitamin necessary for red blood cell formation, maintaining a healthy nervous system, and energy production. It also plays a pivotal role in helping your body metabolize protein. Some delicious ways to get this essential vitamin into your diet is by eating bananas, sunflower seeds, spinach, pistachios, and avocados.
Recommended Daily Intake: 1.3-1.7 milligrams.
Vitamin B7: This B vitamin known as, Biotin, plays a pivotal role in the metabolization of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Biotin also helps the body process glucose and has been proven to contribute to healthy hair, nails, and skin. A truly multifunctional vitamin, Biotin also helps to transfer CO2 (carbon dioxide). Some great sources to get Biotin in your diet is through eggs, green peas, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, spinach, bananas, avocados, strawberries, raspberries and watermelon.
Recommended Daily Intake: 30 micrograms.
Vitamin B9: Commonly referred to as Folic Acid, this B vitamin is essential in cell division, DNA synthesis and the manufacturing of important amino acids. Folic Acid is especially important for pregnant women as it is vital to the development of the nervous system of a fetus. Folic acid can be found in black beans, lentils, spinach, asparagus, mango, carrots, and oranges.
Recommended Daily Intake: 400 micrograms.
Vitamin B12: Also called cobalamin, this vitamin serves many functions. It is required for the proper function and development of the brain, nerves, blood cells, and many other parts of the body. Vitamin B12 converts food into energy, is essential for red blood cell formation, helps maintain a healthy nervous system, and is important for cardiovascular health due to its role in maintaining a healthy homocysteine level. It is, however, difficult for most vegans to get an adequate source of vitamin B12, since it is mainly found in meat, fish, and dairy products. Therefore, a supplement is often recommended.
Recommended Daily Intake: 2.4 micrograms.
This water soluble vitamin and antioxidant is vital for cell growth and repair. Vitamin C does wonders for your skin, teeth, and bones. Vitamin C also helps to protect against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, and eye disease. Vitamin C can be found in a plethora of fruits and vegetables, including apples, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, kiwi, watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, cherries, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, spinach and sweet potatoes.
Recommended Daily Intake: 75 milligrams for women and 90 milligrams for men. One cup of cauliflower provides you with 46.4mg of Vitamin C
Vitamin D plays a key role in your body’s absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc. You need vitamin D in order to reap the benefits of these amazing minerals. Vitamin D is produced by your body as you are exposed to sunlight and is naturally present in very few foods. These foods include some fish and fish liver oils. Luckily, there are some other ways to get in this essential vitamin that are tastier in a smoothie. Great sources of vitamin D include milk, yogurt, almond milk, cheese, mushrooms and tofu.
Recommended Daily Intake: 600-800 IU per day. A glass of almond milk contains 25% of your daily value of vitamin D.
This vitamin acts as a powerful antioxidant to protect your cells and your body. Vitamin E has also been shown to help protect against heart disease, cancer, and age-related eye damage. Some great and tasty ways to get your vitamin E fix is through tofu, almonds, pecans, avocado, pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard other leafy greens.
Recommended Daily Intake: 1,000 milligrams. A 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds contain 46.52 milligrams of vitamin E.
Another fat-soluble vitamin, which refers to a group of compounds, vitamins K1 and K2, which are essential for helping our blood’s ability to clot. Although known best for this role, Vitamin K is also essential to many other functions of the body, including the building of strong bones and preventing heart disease. The best sources of vitamin K in fruits and vegetables can be found in kale, spinach, beet greens, cauliflower, kiwi and tomatoes.
Recommended Daily Intake: 90 micrograms for women and 120 micrograms for men. 1 cup of cooked kale provides you with 1,000 micrograms of vitamin K.
If this post has you eager to get in your daily dose of delicious vitamins, join the Green Blender Smoothie Club!