Naturally occurring vitamins found in food fall into the categories of water soluble or fat soluble vitamins. Both water and fat soluble vitamins play important roles in how the body functions.
What Does Water Soluble Mean?
Vitamins that are water soluble dissolve in water. Therefore, they are not stored by the body (they are excreted in urine) and must be consumed daily to get health benefits from them. These vitamins are available in many foods, such as meats, eggs, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, making it easy to obtain them in a daily diet.
Vitamins That Are Water Soluble
Nine vitamins comprise this category. These include vitamin C and a variety of B vitamins, referred to as B complex vitamins.
Vitamin C maintains connective tissue, promotes immunity, assists in wound healing, helps build teeth and bones, and assists in iron absorption. Vitamin C is plentiful in foods such as papaya, orange juice, grapefruits, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, strawberries, and oranges.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 90mg per day for men and 75mg per day for women. This can be achieved by drinking 4 ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice or eating half of a grapefruit.
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
Thiamin helps the body make energy from food and is important in development and cellular function. Thiamin also creates good bacteria in the colon. This water soluble vitamin is found in pork, brewer's yeast, fish, legumes, fortified grains, seeds, and nuts.
Thiamin's RDA for men is 1.2mg per day and 1.1mg per day for women. Consuming 4 ounces of ham, 1/2 cup of green peas, and 1/2 cup of oatmeal in one day would meet daily thiamin needs.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, helps break down fats and works with other nutrients to create energy. Foods high in riboflavin include soybeans, milk, yogurt, spinach, tempeh, and eggs.
The RDA for riboflavin is 1.1mg for female adults and 1.3mg for male adults. A daily diet that meets riboflavin recommendations could include 1 cup of yogurt, 1 cup of cornflakes, and 8 ounces of milk.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin's role in the body is to fight inflammation and help produce sex and stress hormones. Beets, beef, fish, nuts, and seeds are all high in niacin content.
Niacin's RDA is 16mg per day for men and 14mg per day for women. These requirements can be met with a meal of 3 ounces of salmon, 1/2 cup of cooked mushrooms, and a baked potato.
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
The body uses vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, to keep skin and nerves healthy while assisting in hormone and neurotransmitter production. Pyridoxine is found in fortified cereals, meats and fish, dairy products, baked potatoes, legumes, and spinach.
The RDA for pyridoxine is 1.3mg per day for all adults. A meal of 3 ounces of salmon and a baked potato or 1/2 of an avocado and 3.5 ounces of trout provides pyridoxine's RDA.
As part of the B complex, this nutrient plays an important role in DNA synthesis and the breakdown of protein. Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach, mustard greens, oranges, whole grains, peanuts, and seeds contain high amounts of folate.
Folate's RDA is 400mcg per day for male and female adults. When eaten together, 1/2 cup cooked asparagus, 1 orange, and 3.5 ounces of beef liver can meet folate's RDA.
Biotin assists in the metabolism of food and helps build hair and nails. Foods high in biotin include eggs, brewer's yeast, almonds, peanuts, soybeans, cauliflower, and bananas.
The RDA for biotin is 30mcg per day for all adults. This RDA is met in a meal of 2 eggs, 1/2 cup granola, and 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ.
The water soluble vitamin known as pantothenic acid produces energy, breaks down fats, and builds fat stores. This vitamin is plentiful in liver, mushrooms, cauliflower, sweet potato, broccoli, greens, and avocados.
The RDA for pantothenic acid is 5mg per day for men and women. In one meal of 3 ounces of salmon, 1 cup of cooked lentils, 1/2 cup of mushrooms, and 1/2 of an avocado, the RDA for pantothenic acid is met.
How to Take Water Soluble Vitamins
The average person should meet their RDA's for the above vitamins if they eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. However, if supplementing these vitamins, they need to be replenished daily as they aren't stored in the body. Speak to your physician or dietitian to ensure you are taking them in a safe amount. Follow dosage requirements listed on the package, and store in a cool, dry location. Discard on the expiration date.
These vitamins help the body function optimally. This category of vitamins includes vitamin C and a host of B vitamins. Water soluble vitamins are consumed through a diet full of meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.