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Vitamins 101

Vitamin D

Get your daily dose of the sunshine vitamin

You may already eat sufficient dairy to get your daily dose of calcium, or perhaps you take a supplement. But did you know that to effectively absorb calcium, you need certain levels of Vitamin D? A Vitamin D deficiency can lead to malformed bones in the very young and bone fractures in older adults, especially postmenopausal women, simply because their bodies can’t absorb calcium on their own.

The easiest way to get Vitamin D is from sunlight, but if you live in the northern part of the country you may not see enough sunshine from November to February to reach the recommended daily allowance. Only a few foods— fish and cod liver oil—contain Vitamin D naturally. However, you can increase your intake year-round by including delicious Smart Balance® Buttery Spreads containing Vitamin D in your food plan. The combination of nutrients in our spreads help your body absorb the calcium it needs to maintain healthy bones.

Vitamin B6

Support your immune system, and much more, with this potent vitamin

Vitamin B6 plays a vital supporting role in a number of important body functions. On the nutrition side, it helps you metabolize protein, an essential nutrient for building and maintaining muscle. It supports your immune system by caring for the organs that produce white blood cells. Essential for proper brain development and function, Vitamin B6 helps nerves transmit signals to one another. You’ll be glad to learn that Vitamin B6 helps maintain your blood glucose levels in the normal range by turning stored carbohydrates into glucose for energy.

With its wide availability in so many foods, Vitamin B6 is easy to incorporate in your diet. Enjoy your recommended daily allowance in fortified cereals, bananas, plums, potatoes, fish, meat, legumes, peanut butter and the family of delicious Smart Balance® products, all of which contain this important vitamin.

Vitamin B12

The building block of your cells’ building block

You know that every cell in your body contains DNA, but did you know that Vitamin B12 and its relative, folic acid, play an essential role in helping your cells reproduce? This “builder” vitamin also aids the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and return carbon dioxide to the lungs to be exhaled. Your nerves remain healthy and functional thanks to its protection of the myelin sheath that surrounds them.

Vitamin B12 is generally only found in animal-based foods: meat, shellfish, eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt. It enters the body bound to protein from which it is released and then absorbed during digestion. Because most healthy people can store several years’ worth of it in their bodies, deficiencies are rare. Most at risk are vegans because they may not get enough protein in a strictly plant-based diet. To ensure that you get sufficient Vitamin B12, try these delicious Smart Balance® Buttery Spreads: Omega-3 (Regular and Light) Whipped, and Light Original.

Vitamin A

Get your Vitamin A from a variety of sources

Vitamin A comes in two varieties, one derived from animal sources and one derived from plants. The animal-based Vitamin A is a retinoid found in eggs, whole milk, liver and fortified skim milk and cereals; the fortification process puts back the Vitamin A removed with the fat. Plant-based Vitamin A is a carotenoid, or beta-carotene, found in fruits and vegetables with orange pigmentation, like carrots, butternut squash and apricots. Vitamin A is also abundant in spinach.

Vitamin A performs a number of important functions in the body. The retinoid form is associated with healthy vision—so when your mom told you to eat your carrots, she was right! It also supports a robust immune system by helping the skin and mucous membranes work as barriers to infections. One of its key functions is in cell growth and differentiation, which directs cells to particular parts of the body. In its plant-based form Vitamin A has antioxidant properties.

For most, a healthy, well-balanced diet will meet Vitamin A needs. See a copy of the Smart Balance™ Food Plan for ideas on creating your own well-balanced diet.

Vitamin E

Get even more of the “antioxidant” vitamin with every meal

Vitamin E has gotten a lot of attention because of its powerful antioxidant properties. This potent vitamin is credited with protecting the body’s cells from a number of conditions. Researchers are looking closely at Vitamin E’s impact on the body. Talk to your health care provider about the potential benefits and most effective way to use Vitamin E in your diet. You’ll find high amounts of Vitamin E in vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables and eggs. Several Smart Balance® Buttery Spreads contain added Vitamin E, so you can get even more in your diet when you cook, bake and eat.

 

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