Nutritional Benefits of Fat-Soluble Vitamins A, D, E & K

Fat-soluble vitamins offer several different functions and include vitamins A, D, E and K.

Leafy green vegetables

Unlike water-soluble vitamins (vitamins B and C), the fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the bodies fat and tissue. For this reason it isn’t necessary to eat foods containing fat-soluble vitamins on an every day basis. A well-balanced, healthy diet with a regular intake of healthy oils, meats, vegetables, dairy foods, animal fats, liver and fruits will make sure the body gets enough of these essential nutrients.

What are the functions of fat soluble vitamins?

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps with vision (especially in low light), improves the reproductive and immune system, and aids normal tissue development. Also, this fat-soluble vitamin can ensure the proper function of the kidneys, lungs, and heart.

This essential nutrient comes in two forms – animal form is referred to as retinol and plant form is referred to as beta-carotene.

Source this fat-soluble vitamin from dairy and meat products, oily fish (mackerel) and liver (goose, turkey, or cod liver fish oil). Cheese and milk has a high concentration. Great vegetables sources include kale, sweet potato, spinach, spinach, red pepper and carrots. Choose fruits like mango, papaya, or cantaloupe to enjoy the top fruit based source of vitamin A.

A well-balanced diet that contains 3-6 cups of orange or red vegetables and 1-2 cup of leafy, dark-green vegetables weekly is certain to help with matching the body’s needs for this essential nutrient.

A lack of vitamin A can result in a weak immune system and night blindness. Any vitamin A stored in the body is held in the liver.

Vitamin D

A regular intake of vitamin D along with calcium, helps promote strong and healthy bones, which prevents the onset of osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children. Vitamin D also plays a part in helping to reduce inflammation, improving the immune system (fight off infections), and helps muscle movement. Pregnant and breastfeeding women can also benefit from this nutrient.

The daily recommended intake for vitamin D is in the region of 550 IU, which is achievable with regular exposure to sunlight (15-20 minutes 2 or 3 times weekly) and eating foods like fortified cereals, certain yogurts, cheeses, and milk. This is certain to enable the skin to be healthier in the long-term. Other options include salmon, herring, and cod liver fish oil, which is said to contain the highest concentration of vitamin D per 100 g serving. Other sources include oily fish (mackerel and tuna).

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is primarily sourced from leafy-green vegetables, grains, and nuts. It helps the body by protecting against free radical damage, which can cause damage to human cells. Also, it keeps the blood moving and gives a boost to the immune system. Fortified cereals and leafy-green vegetables are loaded with this beneficial nutrient. The recommended daily amount (RDA) for vitamin E is 15mg. This is easily included in the daily diet with the right healthy choices. A ½ serving of broccoli or spinach (cooked) has about 2mg and a 1 ounce serving of sunflower seeds includes 7mg.

Vegetable oils are a further concentrated source of this nutrient. Wheat germ oil is one of the most beneficial choices, while soybean, corn, safflower, and sunflower oils aren’t that far behind.

A deficiency of vitamin E can lead to immune system dysfunction, higher risk of heart disease, and neurological issues, such as difficulty with sensation or balance. However, a deficiency is quite rare because the required intake is low and is naturally found in a variety of common foods.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a critical nutrient to ensure blood clots (healing wounds) and avoids excessive bleeding. It also benefits the development of the kidneys and bones. Great sources to get the desired intake of vitamin K include eggs, meat, fish, cabbage, leafy-green vegetables (collards, turnip greens, spinach and kale), Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. The recommended daily amount (RDA) is 92 micrograms for adults.

A deficiency in this nutrient can result in clotting abnormalities, but this is uncommon because it is usually made in the gut.

Caution should be used if taking anticoagulant medication as vitamin K has the potential to interfere with these types of drugs.

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