Know your food

When it comes to food and changing the way that you eat, it is really helpful to familiarise yourself with the various vitamins and minerals and to gain an understanding as to why they matter, how they are beneficial for leading a healthy life and to know what foods they are found in in abundance. Vitamins and minerals play a vital part of anybody’s diet. The recipes that I post aim to provide really varied and good source all of the nutrients that a person needs to be and feel great. You will notice a trend in my recipes as they will include a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, seeds, grains and nuts which are all great sources of vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps the body resist infection, helps support growth and repair of muscle as well as maintaining red (carry oxygen around the body) and white (cells of the immune system) blood cells.

Found in: dark green and orange vegetables, e.g. carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, kale, spinach, mango, apricots.

Vitamin B1: This vitamin helps the body to convert carbohydrate into energy. To maintain high energy levels you need to have an adequate amount of vitamin B1 in your diet. This vitamin is found in many foods.

Found in : beans, nuts, brown rice, grains (quinoa, buckwheat).

Vitamin B2: Helps to break down protein for the body to use and like vitamin B1 it helps the body to convert carbohydrate into energy. It also contributes to the healthy blood cell production which carry oxygen around your body.

Found in: beans, nuts, brown rice, grains (quinoa, buckwheat)

Vitamin B3: Is essential for the body’s breakdown and utilisation of carbohydrate and protein and as with other B vitamins, it plays an integral part in the conversion of food into energy. It also helps to keep the digestive system healthy allowing it to extract more goodness out of the food you eat.

Found in: beetroot, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, peaches

Vitamin B5: As with other B vitamins, B5 helps the body to convert food into energy. This vitamin is found in a wide variety of healthy foods, therefore a deficiency is uncommon.

Found in: seeds, nuts, grains, avocados

Vitamin B6: This vitamin also helps to release energy from food and in the production of red blood cells. B6 also plays a part in the production of antibodies which help to ward of infection. B6 is also good for cardiovascular health, helping the heart circulate blood efficiently.

Found in: grains, bananas, brown rice, nuts, seeds, oats, avocados

Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is essential for a healthy nervous system and as with other B vitamins, B12 plays a role in the production of red blood cells and converting food into useable energy. This vitamin, however, is not not plentiful in foods.

Found in: chlorella, miso, spirulina, nutritional yeast

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a really powerful antioxidant and it helps reduce the damage to body tissue and muscle aster physical activity. Vitamin C helps to ward off infection. Iron absorption is also improved when ingested at the same time as vitamin C-rich foods.

Found in: most vegetables and fruits (especially citrus fruits)

Vitamin D: Vitamin allows the body to absorb calcium more efficiently which is a key factor for proper bone formation and healing as well as smooth muscle contractions.

Found in: nutritional yeast, exposure ot sunlight.

Vitamin E: Like vitamin C, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E promotes cardiovascular health by maintaining an optimal ratio of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Found in: sunflower seeds, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, nuts, avocados

Vitamin K: Plays a significant role in blood clotting and also providing the heart with nutrients it needs for optimal function.

 Found in: leafy green vegetables, pine nuts 

Folate (folic acid): This is a B vitamin that is found naturally in foods. Folate works in tandem with vitamin B12 to help produce red blood cells. Folate plays an integral part in helping the body make use of dietary protein and also to help the heart keep a smooth and efficient beat.

Found in: leafy green vegetables, beans, grains

Calcium: Helps to improve bone strength and repair bones when necessary.

Found in: leafy green vegetables, tahini

Chromium: This works with other vitamins and minerals to turn carbohydrate into usable energy.

Found in: grains, nuts, black pepper

Copper: Like vitamin C, copper assists with the absorption of iron into the body. With iron, copper plays a vital role in the transport of oxygen throughout the body.

Found in: beans, seeds, grains, nuts

Iron: The main role of iron is to fabricate haemoglobin to facilitate red blood cell health. Dietary iron is essential for proper body functionality as it enables the body to build blood proteins needed for food metabolism, digestion, and circulation. Maintaining an adequate level of dietary iron in your diet will help to minimise fatigue.

Found in: spinach, beans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecan nuts

Magnesium: Magnesium assists in calcium’s bone production. It is also critical for muscle function as well as helping the heart beat rhythmically.

Found in: leafy green vegetables, string beans, beans, grains, bananas, nuts, avocados, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds 

Manganese: Manganese is an activator of antioxidant enzymes which contributes to an expedited process of recovery for active individuals as well as metabolising protein and fats.

Found in: leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, raspberries, bananas

Phosphorus: Phosphorus is critical in the maintenance of the body’s metabolic system; it allows the body to use food as fuel. It also works with calcium in the production, repair, and maintenance of bones.

Found in: nuts, seeds, tropical fruits

Potassium: Potassium, an electrolyte, helps the body maintain fluid balance and therefore hydration. Being hydrated is essential for the body to operate optimally.

Found in: leafy green vegetables and most fruits (especially bananas and kiwis)

Zinc: Zinc plays and integral role in the preservation of proper immune function. It also allows the body to use dietary protein as building blocks, for the regeneration of muscles.

Found in: grains, nuts, seeds


6 thoughts on “Know your food

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s