VITAMINS & MINERALS YOUR MICRONUTRIENTS:
It looks so easy seeing which foods provide which vitamins but do we really eat a variety of fresh whole foods to get these essential nutrients?
Micronutrients are essential for health and they help to regulate the body’s metabolism. No single food can provide all the vitamins & minerals required. However, they can be provided by a balanced diet which contains a wide variety of different foods. The main dietary sources can be obtained from cereals ( watch out for all that sugar) milk & dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Let’s look more closely at vitamins….
These can be divided into two categories:
Water soluble (B & C vitamins)
fat soluble ( A,D,E & K vitamins)
The water soluble vitamins ( B & C group) need to be consumed regularly as they cannot be stored by the body.
The B group can be broken down as follows:
B1 Thiamine – Essential for metabolism of macro nutrients
B2 Riboflavin –
B3 Niacin –
B6 Pyridoxine –
B12 – Essential for folate metabolism
Folate – Essential for DNA synthesis
Vitamin C – maintains tissue structure, increases iron absorption and is also an antioxidant
The fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, & K vitamins) are stored in the body’s fatty tissue and also in the liver. It is not necessary to consume these vitamins every single day, instead the intake can be averaged out over several days, hence a variety of foods.
Vitamin A – Essential for growth & development, immune system, vision and is also an antioxidant
Vitamin D – Bone & calcium
Vitamin E – Antioxidant immunity
Vitamin K – Blood clotting
VITAMINS A, C & E are antioxidants.
The ‘ACE’ vitamins act as powerful antioxidants and help protect the body from the damage caused by an excess of free-radicals. Large numbers of free radicals can be harmful to us. However, small numbers are important to the body’s natural defence system to fight bacteria viruses.
We can protect ourselves from free-radical damage by eating more of these protective antioxidants. This can be achieved by a diet rich in fresh fruit & vegetables.
But can a balanced diet provide all the vitamins & minerals our body needs?
In theory YES!, but although most people are aware about the foods we should be eating, many still do not put healthy eating into practice.