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Beneficial vitamins

Vitamins are extraordinary compounds characterized by incredible healing power. They embed themselves into the metabolism in a fascinating way, unfailingly revitalizing it. The cells of our body eagerly await the vitamins we consume. When there isn't a sufficient amount of these vital substances, metabolism stagnates, people age faster, and their health declines.

For normal human development, in addition to carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and minerals, the body also needs small amounts of specific organic substances, which are vitamins. The discovery of vitamins and the explanation of their importance for living organisms are closely linked to the development of nutritional science. The scientist who first received a highly biologically active mixture in 1911 and proposed the name "vitamine" (from Latin "vita" - life), meaning the amine of life, was the Pole Kazimierz Funk. He worked on vitamins in laboratories in Europe and the United States. In Poland - at the State Institute of Hygiene. Thus, Kazimierz Funk is the founder of the science of compounds whose absence in food causes diseases. His merits include research on isolating the factor against beriberi disease, which is vitamin B1 (thiamine). Thiamine is an amine derivative, so Kazimierz Funk named this group of compounds vitamins. Although not all vitamins have an amine structure, the name continues to be used for historical reasons (after all, it was the first discovered vitamin). The discovery of vitamin B1 spurred further research into factors against other nutrition-related diseases. The causes of scurvy, rickets, night blindness, and certain types of anemia were discovered.

About ten years ago, it was believed that there were thirteen vitamins: A, C, D, E, K, and eight different B vitamins. Today, we know thirteen varieties of just vitamin B alone, and some of them (such as vitamin B12 or niacin) exist in six different forms. Each of them interacts differently with metabolism. Out of about 500 known carotenes, approximately 60 are recognized as forms of vitamin A. Meanwhile, 110 carotenes are believed by specialists to be more effective than vitamin A itself. Regarding vitamins C and D, each exists in four different molecules, and we also know a dozen varieties of vitamin E.

The average person must understand that health through vitamins is not just a slogan but a new key to achieving such an important goal as maintaining good health.

Fruits and vegetables are low-energy products, with carbohydrates being their main component. 1 gram of carbohydrates provides 4 kcal of energy. Carbohydrates should be the main source of energy in our diet.

The most carbohydrate-rich and therefore most calorific fruits are bananas, grapes, and dates. Fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of protein, fat (except for avocados and nuts, which are also classified as fruits), but plenty of water, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Legumes are of particular importance, as they contain protein with the highest nutritional value among all plant proteins and significant amounts of carbohydrates.

Fiber is present in all vegetables and fruits, with dried fruits, legume seeds, and nuts containing the most. In the human digestive tract, fiber is not digested but affects the proper functioning of the digestive tract. Fruits and vegetables, due to the predominance of alkaline-forming elements (Ca, Mg, Na, and K), have an alkalizing effect. Raisins, beans, and soy contain the most potassium. In addition to these elements, fruits and vegetables also contain iron, unfortunately less absorbable than iron from animal products. Legumes contain compounds resembling hormones, called phytoestrogens.

Vegetables and fruits are the main source of vitamins. Considering the vitamin content, they can be divided into two groups:
- rich in vitamin C
- rich in carotene (provitamin A)

Vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C include cabbage vegetables, berry fruits, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Vegetables and fruits rich in carotene (a plant pigment used by the human body for vitamin A synthesis, giving color from yellow to green and orange-red) include: carrots, pumpkins, apricots, parsley, chard, and spinach. One of the large groups of carotenoids is lycopene, one of the most potent antioxidants found in tomatoes. Vitamins are sensitive to high temperatures and light. To preserve the highest amounts of vitamins in cooked vegetables and fruits, they should be put into boiling water and cooked covered. They should be consumed daily with each meal, preferably raw.
Source: Institute of Food and Nutrition.

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