A healthy body requires multiple vitamins for protection from disease and for maintenance and ongoing health, but which vitamins are important for the major organs and what do the vitamins actually do?
In particular, vitamin D, also known as the "sunshine vitamin" helps build strong bones and teeth by maximising the absorption of calcium. Vitamin E aides in the protection of eyes, skin, red blood cells, liver, and lungs. Which foods contain these essential vitamins - vitamin D and vitamin E?
Meat, Poultry, and Fish
Eggs are a great source for both vitamins, specifically the yolk of the egg. The versatility of the egg allows for a variety of preparation techniques that can help to provide the daily source of both vitamins D and E. Vitamin D can also be found in fatty and fishy foods, like liver, fish, cod, salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, beef, and shrimp; sardines are also a good source of vitamin E. For non-meat-eaters, just 10 minutes in the sunshine can provide a similar source of vitamin D!
Grains, Seeds and Nuts
Although vitamin D can be found in some whole grains and nuts (particularly chestnuts), many foods need to be fortified with vitamin D in order to qualify as a positive source of the nutrient. Fortified cereals, and some fortified pastries can provide a worthy level of vitamin D. Similarly, vitamin E can be found whole grains, such as wheat and oats, or wheat germ. Seeds and nuts also provide a good source of vitamin E, including almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, peanut butter, peanuts, pine nuts, and Brazil nuts.
Vegetables and Fruits
To get an adequate source of vitamin E, consumers can enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruits that are packed with nutrients. Green leafy vegetables like mustard greens, Swiss chard, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, and spinach (which contains high levels of vitamin E when raw or cooked) are excellent sources of vitamin E. Additional sources include asparagus, broccoli, kiwi fruit, mangoes, blackberries, bananas, and apples.
Vitamin D is not as prevalent in fruits and vegetables; however, mushrooms and fortified orange juice and other fruit juices do contain the vitamin.
Milk and Dairy
Dairy products are one of the best sources of vitamin D - specifically animals' milk, yoghurt, cheese (e.g., Swiss, cheddar), and some fortified dairy products, like pudding. According to http://www.vitamindfoods.org, one glass of milk contains roughly half of the daily requirement of vitamin D. Milk is also the leading source of vitamin D in children.
Despite the presence of dairy foods containing vitamin D, there are hardly any dairy products that contain traceable amounts of vitamin E, with the exception of organic milk - www.foodnavigator.com suggests that organic milk has significantly higher amounts of vitamin E than conventional milk.
Oils and Fats
Although oils and fats are often viewed in a negative light, they can contain positive amounts of vitamin E, specifically in vegetable oils like safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, and soybean oil. Additionally, vitamin E is found in cottonseed and palm oil, as well as olive and coconut oils. Vitamin D is most commonly found in margarine and animal oils, particularly cod liver oil. According to the National Institutes of Health, just one teaspoon of cod liver oil is capable of providing five times the U.S. Department of Agriculture's daily recommended allowance.
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