Thursday, April 9, 2009

Healthy Diets Must Include Vitamin Rich Foods

Vitamins are a lot more complex than most of us realise. Each vitamin is part of a complex of compounds rather than just a single component. For example there are at least 17 vitamins labeled B and they all work together. Vitamin D also has several components while vitamin P has at least 5.

The nutrients found in food varies according to the soil and farming method used to produce it. Some vitamins are heat sensitive, others are water soluble, some are fat soluble. Oxidation causes most vitamin loss in food.

Below is a brief look at some of the known vitamins.

Vitamin A - Fat Soluble
  • Catalyst on which many processes depend
  • Needed to utilise protein, minerals, other vitamins
  • Needed to digest protein
  • Antioxidant
  • Protects against pollutants and free radicals
  • Necessary in building strong bones
  • Needed for eyesight - formation of visual purple
Sources of preformed vitamin A (called retinol)
  • Butterfat
  • Egg yolks
  • Liver and other organ meats
  • Seafood
  • Fish liver oils
Sources of provitamin A or carotene
  • All yellow, red, orange or dark green fruits and vegetables.
Carotenes are converted in the body to vitamin A. This can only happen if all necessary conditions exist, one of which is the presence of fat in the diet. However, many people are not able to do the conversion. Therefore it is important to get some vitamin A from animal sources.

Vitamin B Complex - Water Soluble
  • They work together as a team to promote healthy:
  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Hair
  • Nerves
  • Liver
  • Muscle tone
  • Cardiovascular function
  • They protect us from:
  • Mental disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Whole grains - best source
  • Fresh fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Seafood
  • Organ meats
  • Produced by intestinal bacteria
Vitamin C - Water Soluble
  • Necessary for tissue growth and repair
  • Strength of capillary walls
  • Lactation
  • Adrenal gland function
  • Formation of collagen, the body's structural substance
  • Promotes healing of wounds
  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Certain animal organs
Destroyed by
  • Heat
  • Alcohol
  • Many common drugs including aspirin
  • Smoking
Vitamin D
  • Needed for calcium and phosphorus absorption
  • Strong bones
  • Healthy teeth
  • Normal growth and brain development
  • Protects against cancer and multiple sclerosis
  • The body manufactures Vitamin D out of cholesterol in the presence of sunlight.
  • Butterfat
  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Organ meats
  • Marine oils
  • Seafood - especially shrimp and crab
Vitamin E - Fat Soluble

  • Needed for circulation
  • Tissue repair and healing
  • Retard the aging process
  • Deactivation of free radicals
  • Works with some trace elements to protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease
  • Unrefined vegetable oils
  • Butter
  • Organ meats
  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
Vitamin K - Fat Soluble

  • Needed for blood clotting
  • Important role in bone formation
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Butter
  • Grains
  • Dark leafy vegetables
  • Cabbage family vegetables
Vitamin P (Bioflavonoids) - Water Soluble

  • Enhance absorption of Vitamin C
  • Promote healing
  • Protect the structure of blood capillaries
  • Stimulate bile production
  • Lower cholesterol levels,
  • Regulate menstrual flow
  • Help prevent cataracts
  • Has antibacterial effects
  • Peppers
  • Grapes
  • Buckwheat
  • White pith of citrus fruits
Co enzyme Q10 - Vitamin Q

  • Every cell needs it to produce energy
  • Antioxidant
  • Treatment of cardiovascular disease and periodontal problems
  • All animal products
There is much more data about vitamins than I have given here. It is easy to see how important it is to ensure that each of these vitamins are included in our healthy diet plan. They can be easily destroyed by storage, processing and cooking. Therefore it requires some thought and planning to be sure that we do indeed have a healthy diet that includes the necessary vitamins for good health.

Eat well


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