Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarians eat mainly fruit, vegetables and cereals. There are far more vegetarians in the world than meat eaters. This is simply because vegetables, grains and the like are easier to keep without refrigeration and are usually more readily available. Though for many generations most of the developed world have been enthusiastic consumers…

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Vitamins

Vitamins are a group of totally unrelated substances that have only one thing in common – they are essential (usually in tiny amounts) for the normal functioning of the body. Most vitamins have been given letter codes, the series are due to substances initially having been identified as vitamins but…

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Vitamin A (Retinol)

A fat-soluble vitamin, retinol (vitamin A) is found in milk, butter, eggs, liver and most fruit and vegetables. Very high levels are found in orange-coloured foods, for example: pumpkin, carrots, pawpaw, etc. Vitamin A is essential for the normal function of the skin and eyes. It is vital for the…

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Vitamin B

Vitamin B is divided into several subgroups numbered 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9 and 12. All are water-soluble and occur in dairy products, meats and leafy vegetables. Vitamin B1 has the chemical name of thiamine, B2 is riboflavine and B5 is pantothenic acid. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) may be useful in…

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Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C, sodium ascorbate) is water-soluble and found in citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes and greens, but its level in food is reduced by cooking, mincing and contact with copper utensils. Vitamin C can also be synthesised from non-food sources, and the synthetic form cannot be differentiated from the…

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble chemical found in egg yolks and butter, and it may be formed by a reaction of sunlight on skin. It is essential for the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the bones and bloodstream, but it is not used routinely in the treatment of disease. Vitamin…

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Vitamin E

Readily available in most foods, vitamin E (tocopherols) is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant. High doses may cause serious diseases and abnormalities including blood clots, high blood pressure, breast tumours, headaches, tiredness and diarrhoea. It may be harmful to the foetus in pregnancy, and prevent blood clotting…

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Vitamin H (Biotin)

Biotin (vitamin H) has no specific medical use, but is used in the body to assist in the break down of fatty acids and assists the body in its utilisation of proteins, folic acid and vitamin B12. It is found in egg yolk, unpolished rice, peanuts, cauliflower, liver and mushrooms.…

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Vitamin K (phytomenadione/phylloquinone)

Essential for the clotting of blood, vitamin K (phytomenadione or phylloquinone) is fat-soluble and is found in most vegetables, particularly those with green leaves. It is also manufactured by bacteria living in the gut.  It is not commonly used clinically. It is named vitamin K because it was originally called …

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