As children, our parents are constantly nagging us to eat our fruits and vegetables. It’s been proven over and over again that adding more fruits and vegetable to our diet can help reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers. In addition, they are naturally low in calories and can be a great source for energy. Ultimately, fruits and vegetables contain certain vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to perform certain functions and to live a longer, happier life. They contain nutrients that are very beneficiary to the human body; nutrients that burgers and fries don’t have.
Briefly, we’ll take a look at some of the important vitamins and see what they can do for the human body. I will also list some of the foods that contain these vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin A helps vision and promotes bone growth, tooth development, and helps maintain healthy skin, hair, and mucous membranes. It has been shown to be effective and preventive against measles. Sources include: cantaloupes, grapefruit, guava, mango, papaya, passion fruit, tomato, watermelon.
Vitamin B1/thiamine is important in the production of energy. It helps the body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous systems. Sources include: corn, beans, potato, brussels, oats, peanuts, salmon, tuna, squash, breadfruit.
Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins. It plays a significant role as an antioxidant, thereby protecting body tissue from the damage of oxidation. Sources include: Pineapples, strawberries, orange, kiwi, lychee, papaya, broccoli, sprouts, mango.
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin’ since it is manufactured by the body after being exposed to sunshine. Ten to fifteen minutes of good sunshine, three times a week is adequate to produce the body’s requirement of vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital to the human body as it promotes absorption of calcium and magnesium, which are essential for the normal development of health teeth and bones. Sources include: Mushrooms, beef, cheddar, milk, yogurt)
Like vitamin C, vitamin E plays a significant role as an antioxidant, thereby protecting body tissue from the damage of oxidation. Sources include: Blueberries, cranberries, peach, raspberries, nectarine, and pomegrante.
Vitamin K is fat soluble and plays a critical role in blood clotting. Sources include: Cauliflower, carrots, celery, cucumber, peas, artichoke, asparagus, Chinese pear, cabbage, and sprouts.
Calcium is a mineral found in many foods. The body needs calcium to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and hardness.The body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part. In addition, calcium is used to help blood vessels move blood throughout the body and to help release hormones and enzymes that affect almost every function in the human body. It is also important to know that Calcium works hand-in-hand with vitamin D. So it’s important to meet the daily requirement for both nutrients. Sources include: most grains (breads, pastas, and unfortified cereals), Chinese cabbage, broccoli, and tofu.