The GOOD Wellness Project

A Brief History of Vitamins

Find out how pirates fought off scurvy with lime juice—and how vitamins have been curing sickness ever since.

Mankind has always been an adventurous species, exploring new lands and sailing the sea. Along the way, we succumbed to strange diseases. To cure ourselves, we used trial and error to boost our nutrition with vitamins, long before they were available in bottles. In ancient Egypt, the original “vitamin” took the form of liver paste—full of vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12—which we rubbed on our eyes to cure to cure night blindness, a malady caused by Vitamin A deficiency. By the 18th century, pirates accidentally figured out that a few drops of lime juice—rich in vitamin C—effectively fought off scurvy.

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The Future of Nutrition is Vacuum-Sealed, Powdery, and Full of Insects

Though we may associate futuristic food with sci-fi, on-the-go nutrition options are very real.

Humankind has long dreamt of breaking the physical boundaries of the brain and body, our perfectly efficient future exemplified by consuming nutrients on the go. So the theory goes, if we stop “wasting” time preparing or even savoring our meals, we can devote more mental and physical energy to the necessary work that happens on the battlefield, spaceship, or within the relentlessly innovative tech startup. Though we may associate such futuristic notions of food and drink with fiction—think pills-as-meals in Sleeper or The Jetsons—on-the-go nutrition options are very much alive today, and they’ve got as much to do with food sustainability issues as the dream of being liberated from the stove or dining room.

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School Food Is Healthier Than Ever. Will It Stay That Way?

Out with the beef and cheese nachos; in with the oranges and yogurt.

School staff and students enjoying a lunch menu created to meet new standards at the Yorkshire Elementary School in Manassas, Virginia. U.S. Department of Agriculture photo by Lance Cheung via Flickr.

U.S. school food has earned a bad rep—much of it deserved. For decades, many school cafeterias relied on high-calorie processed foods: think frozen fish sticks, plastic-wrapped cookies, and plates devoid of fresh fruits and veggies. At the same time, budget-strapped administrators allowed vending machines to be stocked with soda and junk food. Many students ate diets packed with fat and sugar, and short on key nutrients like fiber. The consequences have become apparent: experts have speculated that American kids might be the first generation in history to die younger than their parents—and obesity is to blame.

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If the new season has put a spring in your step, it might be because longer days naturally replenish your vitamin D. Your body needs this fat-soluble vitamin to function properly, as it affects many areas of your body, including your bones, brain, immune system, and muscles. But unlike many other vitamins, it’s easier to get your daily dose from an afternoon stroll than the foods you eat. Click through the slideshow to learn more about how vitamin D is one of the most important and fascinating nutrients you consume—and make!—on a daily basis.

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