Vitamins and the Vital Role They Play


The key to living a longer healthier life is dependent on how many of the important nutrients you consume each day. The human body doesn't make its own vitamins it needs to receive them through the diet and any deficiencies of these vital ingredients can lead to serious disease.

Vitamin C can be found in vegetables like capsicums and potatoes and in fruits like the citrus group and in strawberries and kiwifruit. If you are feeling tired and susceptible to infection you could be low in this vitamin.

If you notice your night vision is failing and you suffer from respiratory disorders you may have a lack of vitamin A. This nutrient is essential for cell development and maintaining vision and skin health. Oily fish, egg yolks, carrots and pumpkin are all good supplies.

Lack of vitamin E doesn't really cause any symptoms but this essential ingredient will mop up the free radicals that are the main cause of aging. If you eat nuts, seeds or vegetable oils every day, you will be getting enough.
Folate is needed by the body, but more so for women who are thinking about getting pregnant. Extra folate is required before and during pregnancy to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida; supplements are recommended during this time. Good sources are green leafy vegetables, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, liver and pulses.

Most of the B vitamins are found in protein rich foods like pork, poultry, eggs and fish. They all tend to interrelate together and are needed to regenerate DNA they are integral to growth and development.

Vitamin D is essential in aiding the the absorption of calcium, the best source is from exposure to sunlight. Just be careful to go out in the sun before 11am and after 3pm to avoid the hottest part of the day.


Source by Janet Shilling




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Antioxidants – What Are They?


Antioxidants are nutrients that are present in the food that we consume. You can also purchase various nutritional supplements that are chalk full of antioxidants. Antioxidants can repair and prevent oxidative damage that often occurs to our body. Bi-products are naturally produced in our bodies when our body cells use oxygen. This can be very damaging to our health but antioxidants intercept these bi-products and help prevent them from causing such conditions as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

We know antioxidants more commonly as foods that are rich in vitamin A and cartenoids such as carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, kale, cantaloupe, peaches, collards, and apricots. Foods rich in vitamin C are the whole citrus fruit family, green peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, and green leafy vegetables. Foods that are rich in vitamin E are whole grains, nuts and seeds, vegetable and liver oils, and again green leafy vegetables. Selenium is also important as an antioxidant and can be found in foods like the fish family, red meat, garlic, chicken, grains, and eggs. If you notice some foods like green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and strawberries show up in multiple vitamin and antioxidant families. These would be fantastic choices as they would provide multiple food benefits.

Antioxidants further break down into other categories such as flavonoids and polyphenols. These include soy, red wine, purple grapes, pomegranates, tea and cranberries. We want to eat foods that are rich in lycopene and lutein such as tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruits, dark green vegetables, especially spinach, brussel sprouts, kiwi, kale, and broccoli.

We are always hearing about the health benefits of antioxidants and how they prevent heart disease, ward off cancers and dementia, and they may even slow the aging process. The above mentioned foods are loaded with antioxidants but antioxidants are also found in some foods that would not necessarily be considered “healthy” foods, like the foods mentioned above, such as chocolate, coffee, and red wine which can deliver many beneficial antioxidants.

Antioxidants are responsible for preventing oxidation but they really do a whole lot more too such as reducing inflammation and to keep our arteries flexible. The way that each antioxidant is delivered will be responsible for the part of the body that it is most effective for. In other words, such foods as berries, which are full of flavonoids, would better improve artery health and since spinach is full of lutein would be best for preventing macular degeneration.

Of course all of us would love to eat a perfectly balanced diet rich in all the above-mentioned foods but that isn’t always reality. Antioxidants are also available in nutritional supplements. The popular acai berry juice is loaded with antioxidants. A small dose once per day is all you need to ensure you’re fighting that free radical damage that can be so harmful to your health.


Source by Shannon Pollock

What Moms Should Eat And Drink When They Are Breastfeeding


Nursing a baby is an important activity that can strengthen the bond between an infant and his or her mother. But aside from helping babies and their moms develop an emotional connection, breastfeeding also ensures that an infant is getting all the nutrient he or she needs every day.

Breastfeeding moms, therefore, have to be aware of the big responsibility they have to ensure the wellbeing of their babies. This is particularly important if their baby is not eating solid food or drinking formula milk yet. All the nutrients that a baby needs to grow and develop healthily will come from his or her mother's breast milk.

To make sure that babies are getting the right kind and amount of nutrients they need from breast milk, nursing moms have to be a bit particular about everything that they eat or drink. Below are some recommended food, beverages, and supplements that breastfeeding moms should consume to ensure that their babies are getting the right kind of nutrients as well:

• Dairy food products. Nursing moms should consume more milk, cheese, eggs, and yogurt since they are high in calcium and are great sources of protein.

• Foods rich in protein. Protein is an important nutrient both nursing moms and babies should have. Aside from dairy products, breastfeeding mothers need to consume lean meat and chicken, fish, soya foods, nuts, and seeds, and pulses. Health experts also recommend that nursing moms consume at least two portions of fish a week.

• Foods rich in iron and calcium. Lentils, cereals, whole-grain products, peas, dried fruits, and dark leafy green vegetables are good sources of iron. Eat foods rich in iron and vitamin C so that your body can absorb iron easily.

• Foods rich in fiber. After giving birth, some women may have bowel problems and constipation. Fiber can help them overcome these issues. Fruits and vegetables wholemeal bread and pasta, breakfast cereals, rice, pulses, beans and lentil are all rich in fiber so increase your intake of these types of foods.

• Fluids. Always have a drink beside you whenever you have to breastfeed. This helps you keep from being dehydrated. Aside from water, skimmed or semi-skimmed milk are also highly recommended.

• Supplements. Lastly, your doctor will likely recommend a daily vitamin B-12 supplement. Vitamin B-12 is crucial for your baby's brain development. You and your baby also need vitamin D. Infants need vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus and to avoid rickets – a condition that softens and weakens their bones.

Read more tips on breastfeeding shared by lactation consultants here .


Source by Edmer G Brown

Type 2 Diabetes – Alternative Therapies: Can They Help You?


Many Type 2 diabetics like to follow a more natural route for treating their disease. While there are many alternate methods of treatment available, they are not miracle workers. These can, however, give very favorable results, as long as they are practiced in a sensible and open-minded manner.

It is true deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals may contribute to insulin resistance, and targeted nutritional supplements are a powerful therapy for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

Vitamins and supplements have becoming increasingly popular for treating various diseases. There are numerous herbs and natural supplements that have been utilized for thousands of years. Some of them have built quite an extensive track record of combating Type 2 diabetes. The problem is these are not a cure-all for the disease. Taking them does not negate the responsibility that diabetes management bestows on an individual.

It’s like the obese individual who eats a cheeseburger, fries and a diet coke. One area of focus does not overcome the other areas of abuse. Supplements are meant as an addition to maintaining a healthy body weight and a regular exercise program.

The great thing about supplements are they do not generally cause side effects, unlike many prescribed drugs. But there is always the possibility an individual may have some sort of reaction to a natural herb, as some people are allergic to certain supplements. Supplements, like prescribed drugs, affect different people in different ways. That’s why it is always best to consult with your doctor before including any supplements in your routine.

Some individuals have experienced some relief through biofeedback. This is a technique that trains the brain to place an emphasis on relaxation and controlling your body’s levels of stress. Stress creates a myriad of complications for the person with Type 2 diabetes.

Another form of this therapy is called guided imagery. Used as another relaxation technique, it assists your body in controlling diabetes by focusing on peaceful images and thoughts. Not only does this help to reduce stress levels, but it also prevents bouts of impulse eating due to stress or anxiety.

Acupuncture has proved to be quite beneficial for many diabetics. The science behind this therapy is that it opens up blocked paths of energy within your body. This allows your body’s natural energy to flow to tissue, muscles, and major organs, as it is intended.

When these paths become blocked from stress, poor health or lack of exercise, it resembles a kinked water hose. These paths are necessary to transport vitamins, nutrients, blood, oxygen, and in this case, sugar to the appropriate areas. A blockage means that an area is not receiving what it desperately needs.


Source by Beverleigh H Piepers

B Vitamins – What Are They and Why Weight Loss Surgery Patients Need Supplements


Weight loss surgery patients are advised to compliment their diet with a vitamin B supplement often taken in sublingual tablet form or by monthly injections. Some surgical procedures for weight loss inhibit absorption of the B vitamins which may result in deficiency. In addition, the low calorie high protein diet following bariatric surgery does not provide adequate dietary intake of B vitamins. Patients should follow the specific directions of their bariatric center when taking B vitamin supplements. Annual blood tests are needed to ensure deficiencies are quickly identified and treated.

The B vitamins are eight water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. B vitamins are found in all whole, unprocessed foods. B vitamins play a key role in supporting and increasing the rate of metabolism; maintaining healthy skin and muscle tone; enhancing the immune and nervous system; promote cell growth and division; including that of the red blood cells that help prevent anemia; and may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Vitamin B1: Thiamine

Thiamine is highly concentrated in yeast so cereal grains are an important source of this vitamin that is essential in helping the body transform food into energy and contributes to brain, nerve cell, and heart function. Pork, fish, sunflower seeds, rice, and pasta also supply good amounts of thiamine. Many processed foods are enriched with thiamine. The Reference Daily Intake (RDA) of thiamine is 1.4mg, however some studies suggest intake of 50mg increases mental alertness. Thiamine absorption occurs in the jejunum and ileum, therefore gastric bypass and gastric sleeve patients have decreased opportunity for vitamin B1 absorption from food.

Vitamin B2: Riboflavin

Riboflavin is found in dairy products, lean meats, eggs, nuts, legumes, leafy greens, and enriched breads and cereals. It plays an essential roll in the production of red blood cells, energy production, and growth. Riboflavin is an easily absorbed micronutrient that is best known visually as the vitamin which imparts the orange color to solid B-vitamin supplements. People who take a high-dose B-complex will notice an unusual fluorescent yellow color in their urine as they slough off excess vitamin B2. Riboflavin is continuously excreted in the urine of healthy individuals, making deficiency relatively common when dietary intake is insufficient. Visible symptoms of riboflavin deficiency included cracked and red lips, inflammation of the lining of mouth and tongue, mouth ulcers, cracks in the corner of the mouth, and a sore throat. The RDA for vitamin B2 is 1.3mg/day for men and 1.1mg/day for women. Most vitamin B complex supplements provide a much higher dose of riboflavin.

Vitamin B3: Niacin

Like thiamine, niacin is important in the conversion of food to energy. It is also required for normal growth and the synthesis of DNA and helps keep the skin, nerves, and digestive system healthy. Niacin occurs naturally in lean meat, poultry, and seafood. Milk, cereals, and some dietary meal replacement bars and drinks are fortified with niacin. The RDA of niacin for men is 16mg and women 14mg. Extreme dosages (1.5-6 grams/day) of niacin may cause flushing and itching and may also elevate blood sugar. Standard supplementation should not result in this toxic reaction.

Vitamin B5: Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid also helps the body convert food into energy and plays a role in synthesizing hormones and other body chemicals. Deficiencies of pantothenic acid are virtually unknown. The name pantothen is Greek meaning “from everywhere” and small amounts of pantothenic acid are found plant and animal food sources including grains, legumes, eggs, meat, and poultry. The RDA for both men and women is 5mg/day.

Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine

Pyridoxine is important in the utilization of protein and in the production of red blood cells. It works with other B vitamins to boost the immune system and produce antibodies. Good sources of B6 are chicken, beef, fish, beans, bananas, and enriched cereals. Pyridoxine is not commonly found in plants.

Vitamin B7: Biotin

We frequently hear about the role biotin plays in hair and skin growth but this powerful vitamin also plays a key role in the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates into energy. Studies indicate biotin may also be helpful in maintaining a steady blood sugar level. Biotin is found in eggs, dairy products, legumes, whole grains and cruciferous vegetables. People in the phase of rapid weight loss following weight loss surgery often experience hair loss, which may be the result of biotin deficiency. Increased biotin supplementation immediately following surgery may lower the risk of hair loss due to biotin deficiency.

Vitamin B9: Folic Acid

This B vitamin – also called folate or folacin, is vital to tissue growth and plays a role in the prevention of certain birth defects. It is important for women of childbearing age to get enough of this nutrient. It is believed folate may also help prevent certain cancers and help prevent heart disease. Good sources of folate include artichokes, asparagus, avocado, blackberries, broccoli, brussels spouts, chickpeas, green peas, lentils, orange juice, raw peanuts, pinto beans, romaine lettuce, spinach, wheat germ and wild rice. Many cereals and refined grain products are fortified with folate.

Vitamin B12: Various Cobalamins

Vitamin B12 plays a role in the formation of red blood cells and in the functioning of the nervous system and it enables the body to utilize folate. Called cobalamin, vitamin B12 is plentiful in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.


Source by Kaye Bailey

Low Carbohydrate Nutrition – What They Have in Common


In the recent years, many new types of nutrition have showed up, many of which are related to a state called ketosis. In this state, your body doesn't use carbohydrates anymore as the primary source of energy, but instead it uses your own body fat, and the fats that you take with your food. The state of ketosis is usually entered by going on a so called, ketogenic type of diet, where you mostly eat food rich with proteins and fats (remember, you will burn that fat fast, so it's not a problem), but with very little or none carbohydrates. There are many ketogenic diets that can be found, either online, or from other sources, but here we will mention something that most of them have in common – nutrition with low carb content.

There are basically four different types of meals that can be prepared on these kinds of diets. Those are: meals based on cheese, meals based on eggs, meals based on fish, and meals based on meat. All four of the basic ingredients that are mentioned here have the same property – they are rich in proteins and fats, but have a low content of carbohydrates which is exactly what we want when being on a ketogenic diet or when we want to enter ketosis. Fresh cheese (quark), eggs, tuna, bacon, mayonnaise, roasted sausages, different types of omelettes – these are just some of the many things you can eat on this type of diet.

That may sound like a great diet to be on, but it isn't really easy to be on this type of diet for longer periods of time (and it is not really advisable), so it is good (and necessary, because of the vitamins, fibers, and minerals you will get from vegetables) to also include some vegetables, but only those with a low content of carbohydrates, like: cabbage, green salad (lettuce), cucumbers and other similar vegetables. Other types of vegetables, like potatoes, beans and peas should be avoided because they have a relatively high content of carbohydrates.

You may also wish to occasionally eat something sweet for a change. This may be a bit tricky, because you will have to use artificial sweeteners, but there are many products made for people with diabetes, that contain no sugar, and can thereby also be used by people that are on a ketogenic diet.


Source by Michael Lazar