What Is a Vitamin?
A vitamin is a substance present in foods which adds neither protein nor energy to the diet but which is very necessary in order that we may make proper use of the food we eat. A vitamin adds no appreciable material to the diet. It is much like the electric spark in an automobile engine which adds no fuel or power to the gasoline, but is nevertheless necessary to ignite the gasoline and thus cause it to deliver its power.
What Do Vitamins Do?
Vitamins help to control the proper working of our bodies and organs. Some of the vitamins prevent the occurrence of certain diseases or cure the disease after they have occurred.
What Kind of Vitamins Are There?
There are several varieties of vitamins. One kind, found with certain fats, is needed in order that we may grow. Another, which also is found in some fats, cures or prevents a bone disease known as rickets. These two are usually called “Fat-soluble A Vitamin.” Another variety is known as “Water-soluble B Vitamin.” It is necessary for proper growth and prevents and cures a nervous disease known as beri-beri. Then there is the “Anti-Scorbutic C Vitamin.” This prevents and cures scurvy, a disease of the bones and skin. Recent announcements have been made of a vitamin or vitamins which are needed for the reproduction of young and for creating an adequate supply of mother’s milk to nourish the young. This has been called “Vita-min X.”
In What Foods Do We Get Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is found in many foods, but especially in butter, the green leaves of plants (lettuce, spinach), liver and kidney, milk, eggs, and animal fats. Cod-liver oil is very rich in vita-man A.
Where Is Vitamin B Found?
Vitamin B is found in many foods, especially in the green parts of plants, in seeds and grains, liver and kidneys, eggs, milk, and certain fruits. Pork, either fresh or cured, raw or cooked provides appreciable amounts of this vitamin. It is also present in other lean meat, but the amount is rather small.
What Foods Do We Eat For Vitamin B?
Fresh fruits, especially the citrus fruits, such as oranges, grape-fruit and lemons, and fresh vegetables are rich in this vitamin. Liver and kidney and milk also contain vitamin C. But since we use these foods cooked or pasteurized, and since cooking tends to destroy this vitamin, we cannot count on these good foods for our vitamin C, but should use some fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet.
Where Are the Other Vitamins Found?
Not very much is known about the vitamin X as yet. We do know very well that fresh meat, green leaves and parts of the cereals contain it and that milk does not have it.
Does Meat Contain Vitamins?
Yes, meat contains all the vitamins; that is, a piece of fresh ham or fresh beef contains some of all the vitamins. The fat has vitamin A and the muscle, or lean, has the others. The edible parts, such as liver and kidney, contain them all.
Can We Rely On Meat for All the Vitamins We Need?
No, it is not wise to rely on lean meat in a mixed diet to sup-ply enough vitamins for our needs. This is because all the vitamin C and and most of the vitamin B are destroyed by cooking, and because the leaner meats have only small quantites of vitamin A. However, meats with appreciable amounts of fat will provide good amounts of vitamin A which will remain after cooking. Liver, kidney and pork will still have good amounts. of vitamins A and B after cooking. Vitamin X is not lost in cooking.
What Should One Eat to Get Enough Vitamins?
As has been stated, many foods contain vitamins, and the per-son eating a variety of food need not worry about them. But a diet consisting only of bread, potatoes, meat and coffee would not supply enough of these vitamins. One should use frequently green leafy vegetables, fruits and milk (this last especially for the growing child) along with other foods and then one will be assured of enough of the vitamins.