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Learning Your ABC’s: The Language of Vitamins—and a Refreshing Gazpacho Recipe

Learning the essential vitamins can feel like learning a whole new language—but you don’t need a translator app to understand the importance of vitamins in your diet. Vitamins are a group of micronutrients needed for normal cell function, growth and development. In other words, they’re required for your body to work properly. There are 13 essential vitamins that everybody needs. Explore their functions and food sources by clicking on each vitamin below:

  • Vitamin A

    Function: helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones and skin.

    Food sources: dark-colored fruits and leafy vegetables, egg yolk, fortified milk and dairy products (cheese, yogurt, butter, cream), liver, beef and fish.

  • B Vitamins

    Function: important for metabolism, the production of red blood cells, maintaining the nervous system and more.

    Food sources: avocados, bananas, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chocolate, fortified cereals, dried beans, eggs, enriched bread, fish, green vegetables, lean and organ meats, lentils, mushrooms, nuts and seeds, oranges, peas, potatoes, poultry and whole grains.

  • Vitamin C

    Function: promotes healthy teeth and gums and is essential for wound healing.

    Food sources: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, citrus fruits, potatoes, spinach, strawberries and tomatoes.

  • Vitamin D

    Function: helps the body absorb calcium, which is needed for normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones.

    Food sources: fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring), fish liver oils, fortified cereals, fortified milk and dairy products.

  • Vitamin E

    Function: helps the body form red blood cells and use vitamin K.

    Food sources: avocados, dark green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, asparagus), mango, margarine and oil (made from safflower, corn and sunflower oil), papaya, seeds and nuts.

  • Vitamin K

    Function: necessary for normal blood clotting and bone health.

    Food sources: cabbage, cauliflower, cereals, dark leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collards), fish, liver, beef and eggs.

As an ode to the vitamin alphabet you just familiarized yourself with, try this vitamin-filled summer spin on the classic gazpacho soup:

Chilled Fiery Gazpacho Recipe

Contains the following vitamins:

  • Vitamin A
  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K


  • 14-½ oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ medium orange or yellow bell pepper, diced (¼ inch)
  • ½ cup English cucumber, diced (¼ inch)
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2-¼ oz canned diced green chiles
  • 1-½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper


Stir together all the ingredients in a large bowl (if you choose to blend your ingredients, reduce the amount of red onion to a couple of thick slices and do not blend the green chile but rather use it as a topping). Refrigerate, covered, until thoroughly chilled, about 6 hours; or place in the freezer for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure the soup doesn’t begin to freeze solid.

Serving size: 1 cup


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