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Vitamin A Part 1 & 2 by Paramhansa Yogananda

We now begin our discussion of Vitamins – what they are, their function in the human body, the reaction of each, the effect of vitamin deficiency, and in what foods the different ones are to be found.

Vitamins are “energy-making, health-giving elements” found in natural, unrefined foods. Up to the present time six have been discovered and studied in their relation to nutrition. These six are A, B, C, D, E, and G.

An adequate supply of vitamins is absolutely necessary for growth and for the preservation of health and vitality. Each vitamin has a definite effect and a deficiency of one or more of them in the diet is responsible for many common disorders such as: night blindness, multiple neuritis, rickets, scurvy, softening of the bones, and goiter.

Vegetables and fruits supply most of the vitamins though some animals and birds eat vitamins in plants and pass them on as food for their young in such foods as milk and eggs.

In order to build up vitality, and maintain health, a liberal amount of all vitamin foods should be included in the diet and not just enough to avoid nutritional calamity.

Vitamin A helps to prevent infection, stimulates growth, and helps to keep man free from colds. It is necessary to produce vitality in people of all ages and its lack makes one “most susceptible to infections of the eyes, sinuses, ears, glands, of the mouth and throat, and in some instances in the kidneys and bladder.”

Sources of vitamin A are: butter, cream, raw milk, egg yolk, salmon, whole milk, cheese, cream cheese, Swiss cheese, carrots, chicory, green peppers, sweet potatoes, oranges, ripe bananas, squash, pumpkin, yellow corn, yellow corn meal, spinach, cabbage, green celery, parsley, onion tops, turnip tops, outer green leaves of lettuce, cress, red and yellow tomatoes, chard, broccoli, endive, beet tops, mustard greens, dandelion greens, Brussels sprouts, string beans, peas, asparagus, apricots, yellow peaches, mush melon, cherries, olives, papaya, avocado, prunes, and pineapple.

Praecepta Lessons, Volume 3 (1938): Praeceptum #57


VITAMIN A continued

Vitamin A is soluble in fat and is found in butter, cream, Cod Liver Oil, and egg fat. The green leaves of vegetables have been found to contain comparatively large quantities of vitamin A. The inside leaves of lettuce and cabbages which are not exposed to the-sun do not contain it.

Vitamin A in milk comes from the green grasses eaten by the cows. Experiments have shown that grass-fed cows give milk containing twice as much vitamin A as stall-fed cows. This shows how important it is for the nursing mother to have the right kind of food containing a sufficient amount of the very necessary vitamin A to pass on through her milk to her baby.

Cod Liver Oil contains about 250 times as much vitamin A as butter and spinach contains about 3 times as much as butter.

Heat destroys vitamin A when food is cooked in the presence of air but in the absence of air, heat does not destroy it. For this reason sterilized milk contains it because it is prepared in closed vessels. Dried and condensed milks are usually heated in the absence of air and thus are good in this respect.

If the amount of vitamin A in the diet is very small the health suffers. Children on such a diet lose weight and are very susceptible to infection of any kind, the most common being inflammation of the cornea of the eye, which often leads to blindness.

While adults require less vitamin A than growing children, it is still very essential in their diet to prevent lowered resistance to infections, especially of the respiratory tract and lungs. There is a condition known as “night blindness” which is due to a lack of vitamin A.

Remember carrots, egg yolks, spinach, cream, butter and Cod Liver Oil when you want to get an optimum amount of vitamin A in a hurry but do not forget the other foods listed in Praeceptum No. 57.ctx_py_Praecepta_20570

Get fresh young carrots and use them raw for the most part. Grate them and combine them with other foods in salads. Grind and squeeze the juice from them and drink the life-giving cocktail.

Fresh tender spinach leaves shredded raw make wonderful salads.

Praecepta Lessons, Volume 3 (1938): Praeceptum #58