Vitamins are complex chemical substances contained mainly in food. They enable the body to break down and use the basic elements of food, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Certain vitamins are also involved in producing blood cells, hormones, genetic material and chemicals in your nervous system. Unlike carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, vitamins and minerals do not provide calories. However, they do help the body to use the energy from food.
Minerals are chemical elements that are involved in various processes in your body. They help to regulate cell function and to serve as building blocks for your cells and organs. A varied diet should supply all the minerals you need. Unlike vitamins, minerals do not deteriorate during storage or cooking. Major minerals – those needed in larger amounts – include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. In addition, your body needs smaller amounts of chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc for normal growth and health.
Calcium plays a very important role in many bodily functions. It helps build stronger, denser bones and keeps bones healthy later in life. It also helps with the electricity in nerves, and with muscle contraction. In the heart, calcium is the mineral that plays a key role in causing the heart to contract. 99% of the calcium in the body is stored in the bones and teeth.
Diets high in potassium are associated with improved blood pressure control. There are several mechanisms contributing to this beneficial effect, including improved kidney function, reduction in blood clotting, and more efficient opening of blood vessels. Because of these important benefits, therapeutic diets aimed at improving blood pressure control often place primary focus on increasing potassium from foods.
Zinc is an essential mineral that is found in every cell. It stimulates the activity of 100’s of enzymes, zinc supports a healthy immune system is required for wound healing and is needed for DNA synthesis.
Pyridoxine aids in food assimilation and protein and fat metabolism, especially in the metabolism of essential fatty acids. It activates enzymes and enzyme systems. It is evolved in the production of antibodies, which protect against bacterial diseases. Pyridoxine helps in the healthy functioning of the nervous system and brain. It is essential for the normal reproductive process and healthy pregnancies. It prevents tooth decay. Vitamin B6 regulates the balance between sodium and potassium in the body, which is vitally important for the normal body function; is also required for the absorption of Vitamin B12 and for the production of magnesium.
The amount of vitamin B12, which is not immediately needed by the body, is stored in the liver, which is capable of storing relatively large amounts of the nutrient. Like vitamin B6, vitamin B12 is essential for the production and regeneration of red blood cells. This vitamin is also secreted in breast milk for the use of babies. It is also needed for the proper functioning of the central nervous system. It improves concentration, memory and balance and relieves irritability. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper utilization of fats, carbohydrates and proteins for bodybuilding. It promotes growth and increases appetite in children. This vitamin is also involved in most vital metabolic and enzymatic processes, including the metabolism of Folic acid. If the immune cells made in bone marrow are to mature in active disease fighters, a sufficient quantity of vitamin B12 and Folic acid is necessary.
Vitamin B1 Thiamine
Vitamin B1 or Thiamine, as it is more commonly referred to now, is one of the most important members of the B group of Vitamins. Thiamine B1 promotes growth, protects the heart muscle B1 facilitates the body’s ability to convert carbohydrate into glucose [sugar], which provides energy, stimulates brain action. It plays an important role in the normal functioning of the entire nervous system. It aids digestion, especially of carbohydrates. It mild diuretic effect: that is it increases urine formation. It improves peristalsis. It also helps to maintain normal red blood cell count, improves circulation and promotes healthy skin. It also reduces fatigue, increases stamina. Like other vitamins of the B complex group it is more potent when combined with other B vitamins rather than used separately.
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin
Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin is the second member of the B complex group. It is essential for growth and general health. It functions as part of a group of enzymes, which are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It is involved in a number of chemical reactions in the body and is therefore essential for normal tissue maintenance. Riboflavin aids in digestion and helps in the functioning of the nervous system. It prevents constipation, promotes a healthy skin, nails and hair, and strengthens the mucous lining of the mouth, lips and tongue. Riboflavin aids also plays an important role in the health of eyes and alleviates eyestrain. An ample supple of Vitamin B2 provides vigor and helps to preserve the appearance and feeling of youth. B2 is essential for the body’s ability use oxygen and the metabolism of amino acids, fatty acids and carbohydrates. Has important function in red blood cell formation and cell respiration.
Vitamin A & Betacarotene
Beta-Carotene, which is found in plants, is a processor of vitamin A. The body converts Beta-Carotene to vitamin A which is an antioxidant compound that can prevent damage to DNA. Plants can contain darkly coloured pigments called pro-vitamin A which are carotenoids that can be converted to Vitamin A. Beta- carotene is a pro-vitamin A carotenoid that is more efficiently converted to retinal than other carotenoids. Vitamin A plays a key role in reproduction, bone growth, vision, cell division and cell differentiation, which is the development of the cell into its final function. It helps maintain the surface linings of the eyes and respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts.
Vitamin E exists in eight different forms. Each form has its own biological activity, the measure of potency or functional use in the body. Alphatocopherol is the most active form of vitamin E. Antioxidants such as vitamin E act to protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by- products of the body’s metabolism. Vitamin E also protects Vitamin A and essential fatty acids from oxidation in the body’s cells and prevents the breakdown of body tissues.
Extensive research indicates that omega-3 fats reduce inflammation. In addition to warding off inflammation, omega 3s are also essential to the brain, impacting behaviour and cognitive function, and are especially necessary during fetal development.
- Improve artery health by helping to reduce plaque buildup and blood clots in arteries that lead to the brain.
- Improve cholesterol by lowering triglycerides and elevating HDL (good cholesterol) levels. These benefits come primarily from DHA and EPA.
- Improve joint health by reducing joint tenderness and stiffness.
- Improve bone health by positively impacting the body’s calcium levels, reducing the incidence of bone loss.
- Improve mental health by helping to insulate nerve cells in the brain, allowing these nerve cells to better communicate with one another.
- Improve skin health by helping to alleviate symptoms related to skin.
- Improve bowel health.
- Improve lung health.
- Improve menstrual health.
You should be eating about twice as much omega-6 as omega-3, so that your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is 2:1, but in today’s world it is not uncommon for most people to actually be getting about 15 times more omega-6 than omega-3. Research suggest that eating omega-6 and omega-3 in the wrong proportions may actually negate the health benefits.
The best sources of omega-6 are seeds, nuts and grains and green leafy vegetables, like lettuce, broccoli, purslane, kale and hemp, and in certain raw vegetable oils.
Magnesium is an essential for the transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contraction. It is required by your body to convert into energy the blood sugar stored as glycogen in your liver. I t also helps in bone- building and aids your body’s ability in dealing with physical and emotional stress.
Selenium is an essential trace mineral in the human body. This nutrient is an important part of antioxidant enzymes that protects cells against the effects of free radicals that are produced during normal oxygen metabolism.
To metabolize iron in your body you need copper, cobalt, manganese and vitamin C .In turn, iron is required to metabolize the family of B group Vitamins. Iron promotes resistance to infection, forestalls fatigue and is important for growth. Iron is essential for the manufacture of myoglobin, the red pigment in muscles. It is also a component of the oxygen- carrying protein hemoglobin.