Water-soluble vitamins dissolve more easily in water, pass through the body more readily, and as a result have to be replaced more regularly. There are nine different types of water-soluble vitamins, which include the eight B vitamins, and vitamin C.
- Vitamin B1, or thiamine, helps the body convert fats and carbohydrates into energy. It also helps your nervous and digestive systems and heart work efficiently. Thiamine can be found in green peas and spinach; beef, pork, and liver; oatmeal, brown rice, and potatoes; navy beans, pinto beans, and soybeans; and eggs.
- Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, helps release energy from carbohydrates and performs many other functions to keep your body running efficiently. You need to be sure you are getting enough in your diet. Sources include dairy products such as milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt; asparagus, green beans, and okra; bananas, popcorn, meat, eggs, and fish.
- Vitamin B3, or niacin, performs an abundance of essential functions in the body. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to a deficiency. Niacin can be found in protein-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs, soybeans, liver, and nuts.
- Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, helps break down proteins, amino acids, fats, and carbohydrates. Your body needs it to produce vitamin B12, hemoglobin, and cell membranes. It’s found in meat, fish, lentils, yogurt, and avocados.
- Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, among its many functions, helps produce and digest amino acids and helps your body manufacture insulin. Smoking, excessive alcohol, use of oral contraceptives, and certain medications can lead to deficiencies. Sources of B6 include poultry, fish, bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and vegetables.
- Vitamin B7, or biotin, helps your body use proteins, carbohydrates, and fats efficiently. Alcohol abuse and insufficient stomach acid can produce a deficiency. Good sources are fish like sardines and mackerel; cauliflower, mushrooms, liver, egg yolks, peanuts, and black-eyed peas.
- Vitamin B9, or folate, or folic acid, helps make DNA, RNA, new cells, and hemoglobin. A poor diet, especially lacking enough fruit and vegetables, can lead to folate deficiency. Folate is found in vegetables such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, green peas, and spinach; in lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and black beans; in pasta, cereal, corn, bread, and liver.
- Vitamin B12 aids the body in a number of important functions. Since it is found naturally only in foods of animal origin, vegetarians should take a supplement. Sources include dairy products, meat, seafood, and eggs.
- Vitamin C , or ascorbic acid, is essential for health for many reasons; however, it is not stored in the body but passes out in the urine. For this reason the supply must be constantly renewed in the diet. Vitamin C-rich foods include vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bell peppers, and tomatoes; and fruit such as grapefruit, guava, kiwifruit, mangoes, oranges, pineapples, and strawberries.
Seniors, to maintain good health be sure you are getting enough vitamins. During your next Medicare yearly wellness exam, ask your doctor to recommend a vitamin regimen for your health condition.