Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Essential Nutrients - Part I

essential nutrients
This is the first in a series of post discovering the essential nutrients that the body needs. I am not a nutritionist and everything I post on nutrition is something I've researched and learned about quite recently. If anyone spots something that is not correct or can add anything to the discussion, please do so.
Today, we'll take a look at vitamin A, C, D, E and K. We'll look at why each is essential to our good health and what foods can provide us with a substantial amount of these vitamins. For my list of power foods, high in essential nutrients, see this post.

Vitamin A

Is essential for:
  • maintaining the immune system
  • maintains vision
  • differentiation of cells

Plant based foods providing Vitamin A:

  • carrots
  • apricots
  • pumpkin
  • sweet potatoes
  • red pepper
  • melons

Vitamin C

Is essential for:

  • the formation and maintenance of connective tissue
  • essential for amino acid metabolism
  • protects the system from chemicals

Plant based foods providing vitamin C:

  • red pepper
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • kale

Vitamin D

Is essential for:

  • helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus

Plant based foods providing vitamin D:

  • no plant based foods naturally contain vitamin D, however, we can absorb plenty enough from sunlight, even on a cloudy day to meat our requirements

Vitamin E

Is essential for:

  • having an anti-oxidant effect and clearing free radicals from the body
  • improves blood glucose metabolism - great for diabetics
  • keeps arteries from clogging by not allowing bad cholesterol to oxidize
  • helps speed up the healing process for cuts

Plant based foods containing vitamin E:

  • sunflower seeds
  • almonds
  • broccoli
  • soybean
  • kiwi
  • mango
  • spinach

Vitamin K

Is essential for:

  • helping blood to clot
  • helps regulate flow of calcium to tissue and to bones
  • keeps calcium out of the arteries

Plant based foods containing vitamin K:

  • beet greens
  • swiss chard
  • collards
  • romaine lettuce
  • kale

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