Whole Food Nutrition
Friday, October 5, 2012
Posted by: Jason Sealy, ASBA
Whole Food Sources of Nutrients
Nutrition is the building up of body tissues and liberation of energy through metabolism of food by living plants and animals.
Malnutrition is lack of food or adequate diet, but nutrient depletion, due to disease states and drug therapies.
Most of today's malnutrition and the exponential epidemic of many chronic diseases can be attributed to poor quality nutrient depleted foods.
FAT SOLUBLE VITAMINS
Vitamin A (Beta-carotene):
Plant foods do not contain preformed Vitamin A, but do contain beta-carotene, which can be converted into Vitamin A within the small intestine and other tissues of the body. The beta-carotene molecule is split in half by an enzyme to form two Vitamin A molecules.
What it does: Vitamin A is especially important in the formation of skin cells – all mucus membranes, the cornea of the eye, and all organs that have a high cellular turnover rate. Beta-carotene primarily functions as an antioxidant.
Good sources: Beta-carotene is found in leafy green vegetables, as well as yellow and orange vegetables. Carrots, dandelion greens, apricots, collard greens, kale, spinach, parsley, mustard greens, butternut squash, mangoes, broccoli, etc.
The active form of Vitamin D is D3, also known as calcitriol or 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol.
What it does: The primary roles of D3 are regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption, regulation of calcium balance and stimulation of bone mineralization. It is also needed for healthy immune system function and cell formation and growth.
Good sources: Sunflower seeds and mushrooms contain a very small amount of Vitamin D. The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight. 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure on as much of the body as possible on a daily basis will take care of your Vitamin D needs. (Studies have shown that application of sunscreen with SPF factor of 8 reduces production of Vitamin D by as much as 95%)
Is a family of compounds consisting of 8 different vitamers; of which four are tocopherols and four are tocotrienols which all have similar functions.
What it does: The primary function of Vitamin E is to prevent free radical damage of unsaturated fatty acids that form the structural component of cell membranes. Cells with a high content of unsaturated fatty acids have a high requirement for Vitamin E and are particularly susceptible to free radical damage.
Example: red blood cells and neurons. Immune system cells must also have high stores of Vitamin E to protect against free radical damage from inflammation.
Good sources: Sunflower seeds, leafy greens, almonds, sesame seeds, olives, avocadoes, spinach, pecans, carrots, walnuts, bananas, dulse, and tomatoes.
What it does: Is involved in blood clot formation.
Good sources: Turnip greens, broccoli, lettuce, kale, other leafy greens, cabbage, parsley, spinach, watercress, and asparagus.