Acing the vitamins section of a nutrition exam is one thing, but the foods you buy (and why) are the real test of your knowledge. While eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day is a great rule of thumb, we decided it was time to study up on the essential facts behind all those vitamins.

We’ll let you borrow our notes for this one (our secret!). Just promise to put this cheat sheet to good use the next time you go gleaning at the grocery store, ok?

Vitamin A

PrintVitamin A is essential in all stages of life. Children need it to guard against conditions like diarrhea, measles, and malaria. Teens will love that it can help prevent acne, cold sores, and sunburns. Adults and people of all ages benefit from its eye-healthy properties, such as minimalizing the effects of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), night blindness, glaucoma, and cataracts.

You can find vitamin A in foods such as carrots, spinach, eggs, and lettuce.

Vitamin B

PrintVitamin B is actually a group of vitamins that helps your body produce energy, regenerate cells, and eliminate toxins. Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and biotin (B7) help with energy production by regulating metabolism, nutrient conversion, and cell production. Pyridoxine (B6) is essential to the conversion of amino acids into proteins and helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.

You can find vitamin B in foods such as crab, chicken, fish, and cheese.

Vitamin C

PrintVitamin C bolsters your immune system to ward off strokes, the common cold, and stress-related sicknesses—among other things. One common misconception about vitamin C is that getting more of it will enhance its effects. In reality, your body can only absorb a certain amount of vitamin C at a time and will flush out the rest. The FDA recommends 75mg/day for women and 90mg/day for men.

You can find vitamin C in food such as oranges, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and strawberries.

Vitamin D

200x200_VitDVitamin D regulates your body’s ability to absorb calcium. This is vital for healthy bones and teeth. Weak bones, bone pain, and bone loss are all potential side effects of vitamin D deficiency. Some of its other functions include helping with autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Roughly 80-90% of your body’s supply of vitamin D comes from the sun.

You can get vitamin D from milk, sunshine, fish, and eggs.

Vitamin E

200x200_VitEVitamin E has many functions. Consistently healthy levels guard against heart disease, artery blockages, and high blood pressure. It complements other medications in treating diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Improving physical endurance, increasing energy, reducing muscle damage after exercise, and improving muscle strength are some of its other roles.

You can find vitamin E in foods such as whole grains, vegetable oil, sunflower seeds, and eggs.

Vitamin K

200x200_VitKVitamin K is an essential component of blood clotting, so it is often used to reverse the blood-thinning effects of some medications. Some say applying it to your skin can help with spider veins, scars, stretch marks, burns, acne, rosacea, and swelling after surgery. Vitamin K deficiency can result in increased bruising. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin K for adults is 90mcg/day.

You can find vitamin K in foods such as broccoli, prunes, herbs, and asparagus.

The content of this article is for general informational awareness purposes only. Please consult your eye care doctor or physician for actual advice.