MARCH 2014
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Nutrition

Vitamin wisdom

BHAVI NIRAV

By BHAVI NIRAV

Vita in Latin means “life” and amin stands for “amine” (vitamins were thought to be amines in the past). Vitamins are also called micronutrients since they are essential, in small quantities, for the normal functioning of metabolism in the body. Vitamins and minerals act in a synergy to repair the cellular damage, convert food into energy. They cannot usually be synthesized in the body but they occur naturally in certain foods: insufficient supply of any particular vitamin results in a deficiency disease. Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, air or acid.

There are 13 essential vitamins and they are divided into two groups: water-soluble (8 B-complex vitamins and C vitamins) and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored by the body. Since they are eliminated in urine, we require a continuous daily supply in our diet. Water-soluble vitamins are easily destroyed or washed out during food storage or preparation. Proper storage and preparation of food can minimize vitamin loss. To reduce vitamin loss, always refrigerate fresh produce, keep milk and grains away from strong light, and use cooking water from vegetables to prepare soups. Chop/cut vegetables right before cooking them or serving them to avoid vitamin loss.

In contrast, the fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body for long periods of time. Eating a normal, well-balanced diet will not lead to toxicity in otherwise healthy individuals. However, taking vitamin supplements that contain mega doses of vitamins A, D, E and K may lead to toxicity.

Vitamin interactions: Many micronutrients interact. Vitamin D enables your body to absorb calcium from food sources passing through your digestive tract rather than harvesting it from your bones. Vitamin C helps you absorb iron. The interplay of micronutrients isn’t always beneficial, however. For example, Vitamin C blocks your body’s ability to assimilate the essential mineral copper. And even a minor overload of the mineral manganese can worsen iron deficiency.

Experts agree that the best way to get the nutrients we need is through food. A wholesome balanced diet one containing plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which offer a mix of vitamins, minerals to nourish our body. Eat your colors is the easiest way to remind ourselves to eat variety of nutrient dense foods. Some popular foods in each grouping are:

BLUE/PURPLE: blueberries, raisins, eggplant, purple cabbage, beans.

GREEN: green apples, green grapes, broccoli, green beans, leafy greens, beans, avocados.

WHITE: bananas, brown pears, white peaches, cauliflower, potatoes, mushrooms, onions, lentils, garbanzo beans, almonds, oats, quinoa.

YELLOW/ORANGE: apricots, papaya, oranges, carrots, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, lentils.

RED: red apples, red grapes, red pears, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes.

Supplements: The results of trials published in Dec 2013, Annals of Internal Medicine concludes, after review of three trials of multivitamin supplements and 24 trials of single or paired vitamins that randomly assigned more than 400 000 participants, there was no clear evidence of a beneficial effect of supplements on all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, or cancer. Evidence is sufficient to advice against routine supplementation. Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not empirically justified. This message is especially true for the general population with no clear evidence of micronutrient deficiencies.

To our health!     

To be continued …

Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at swarayog@gmail.com

homeeventsbiz directorysubscribecontact uscontentclasses/places of worship newseditorialhealthimmigration
Real ESTATEfinanceayurvedatechno cornermoviesfashionmusic/dancebooksbusinessbeatIIFA 2014art/youthastrology
NUTRITIONcuisinemotoringGETAWAYSclassifiedsarchivesBLOGFACEBOOK
Read the Editor's Blog. By Nitish Rele Classifieds Motoring Cuisine Astrology Art/Youth Books Music and Dance Fashion Movies Techno Corner Finance Immigration Health Editorial News Classes/Places of Worship Content Find us on Facebook!