Eat a rainbow

Vitamin A

There are two forms of vitamin A: Retinol and Beta carotene. Retinol is found in animal products and Beta carotene is the orange/yellow colour found in plants which is converted to vitamin A in the body.

Vitamin A has many functions in the body. The vitamin A pigment helps with vision and adjusting to light. Eating your carrots really will help you see in the dark! It also has roles in immune function, bone health and skin repair. If you are getting vitamin A from a plant source (beta carotene) it also acts as an antioxidant.  Deficiency in Vitamin A can make us more prone to the common cold and has been linked to increased risk of cancer.

Luckily beta carotenes are plentiful in a plant based diet found in dark green leafy veges and orange/yellow fruit and veges e.g. spinach, broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, kumara, rock melon, and citrus fruits.

*Taking a vitamin A supplement can be dangerous as vitamin A in high concentration in supplements can lead to toxicity.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C: ( ascorbic acid) has many important roles in the body such as wound healing, helping to absorb iron and folic acid. It is also a powerful antioxidant which helps fight free radicals which can damage our cells.

Again a plant based diet has more than enough vitamin C plentiful in fruits, capsicums, broccoli, cabbage, leafy greens and potatoes to name a few. No scurvy for the plant eaters! Remember eating these foods fresh and raw is better as vitamin C can be damaged by heat and oxidation (sitting around in your fridge for days).

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is derived from the German word Koagulation and has an essential role in helping blood clotting. It has also recently been found to have a role in the health of our bones and teeth.  Vitamin K is found in many foods but the best sources are vegetables such as green leafy vegetables, asparagus, cabbage, grapes, cauliflower, peas, kiwifruit, sea vegetables and lentils. There is also some vitamin K in green tea and vegetable oils.

*Unless prescribed by a doctor vitamin K supplements are not advised. People on blood thinning medication such as Wafarin should have their clotting levels monitored more closely if they are suddenly changing the amount of vitamin K in their diet as medication doses may need adjusting.