Vitamins & minerals

September 25, 2009 RENU

  1. Found in foods we eat.
  2. Helps body grow, develop & stay healthy.
  3. Each one has a special role to play.
  4. Our body can’t make them, so we need to provide them through different foods b’cos different foods contain different vitamins & minerals.
  5. When people don’t get enough of these, they can have health problems.

Vitamins: 2types.

  • Fat soluble vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E, K are fat-soluble vitamins.  When we eat foods that contain fat-soluble vitamins, the vitamins are stored in the fat tissues & in liver from few days to 6months until body needs them. Then special carriers take them to where they are needed.
  • Water-soluble vitamins: Vitamins B & C are water-soluble vitamins. They are different & don’t get stored in body. Instead, they travel through bloodstream & whatever body doesn’t use comes out through urine.  So these need to be replaced often.
  1. Vitamin A: It plays a really big part in eyesight, especially night vision. It also helps you grow properly & aids in healthy skin. Found in milk fortified with vit A, orange fruits & vegetables(carrot, cantaloupe, sweet potato), dark greens(kale, spinach, collards), liver.
  2. Vitamin B: It’s a big group of— B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), niacin, B6 (pyridoxine), folic acid, B12 (cobalamine), biotin, pantothenic acid. They are imp in metabolic activity i.e help make energy & set it free when body needs it. They are involved in making RBC, which carry O2 throughout body. Since every part of our body needs O2 to work properly, B vitamins are very imp. Found in whole grains (wheat, oats), animal food (fish, seafood, poultry, meats, eggs, milk, yogurt), leafy greens, beans, peas.
  3. Vitamin C: Important for keeping body tissues, such as gums & muscles in good shape, helps to heal wounds or cuts, helps body resist infection, i.e makes it a little harder for body to become infected with an illness. Found in citrus fruits(lime, lemon, orange), strawberry, kiwi, tomato, broccoli, cabbage, sweet red peppers, cantaloupe.
  4. Vitamin D: Is needed for strong bones & teeth. It helps body absorb the amount of calcium it needs. Found in milk fortified with vitamin D, fish, egg yolks, liver, fortified cereal. You can also get this from Sun.
  5. Vitamin E: This hard-working vitamin maintains a lot of our body’s tissues, like the ones in our eyes, skin, & liver. It protects lungs from becoming damaged by polluted air & is important for the formation of RBC. Found in whole grains(wheat & oats), wheat germ, leafy green vegetables(like broccoli), sardines, egg yolks, nuts & seeds.
  6. Vitamin K: is the clot master. This is when certain cells in blood act like glue & stick together at the surface of the cut to help stop the bleeding. Found in leafy greens(broccoli), dairy products(milk, yogurt), soybean oil.

Minerals: Body needs these to perform many different functions, like building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat. 2types.

  • Macro: Macro means “large” in Greek. Body needs larger amounts of these than trace minerals. It includes calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, & sulfur.
  • Trace: Body needs just a tiny bit of each of these. Scientists aren’t even sure how much of these minerals are needed each day. It includes iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, & selenium.
  1. Calcium: It helps build strong bones & teeth, supports proper functioning of nerves & muscles, helps blood clot. Excellent sources of calcium include boiled spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, & collard greens. Good sources are dairy(low-fat curd, goat’s & cow’s milk, mozzarella cheese), sesame seeds, black-strap molasses. Also found in canned salmon & sardines with bones, leafy green vegetables (like broccoli) & in calcium-fortified foods — from orange juice to cereals & crackers.
  2. Magnesium: It relaxes nerves & muscles, builds & strengthens bones, keeps blood circulating smoothly.  Muscle-weakness, tremor, or spasm, Heart-arrhythmia, irregular contraction, or increased heart rate,  Softening & weakening of bone, Imbalanced blood sugar levels, Headaches, Elevated BP may indicate the need for more magnesium. Avoid overcooking to minimize loss of magnesium. Excellent sources in order are raw pumpkin seeds, boiled swiss chard & spinach, cooked soybeans, salmon, raw sun flower seeds, sesame seeds, halibut baked/broiled, black beans & navy beans cooked.
  3. Iron: Body needs iron to transport O2 from lungs to the rest of body. Iron is imp in the formation of hemoglobin, which is the part of our RBC that carries O2 throughout the body. Found in meat, especially red meat(like beef), tuna & salmon, eggs, beans, baked potato with skins, dried fruits(like raisins), leafy green vegetables(like broccoli), whole & enriched grains(like wheat, oats).
  4. Potassium: It keeps muscles & nervous system working properly. Blood & body tissues(like muscles) contain water & potassium helps make sure the amount of water is just right. Found in bananas, tomatoes, potatoes with skins, leafy green vegetables(like broccoli).
  5. Zinc: It helps immune system, which is our body’s system for fighting off illnesses & infections. It also helps with cell growth & helps heal wounds & cuts. Found in protein foods–like beef, pork, lamb, legumes(like beans, peas, lentils), peanuts.


Entry Filed under: Nutrition

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