After macronutrients, it time to understand micronutrients. Vitamins and minerals which are required in small quantities are the Micronutrients.
Vitamins are classified in two groups:
1. Water soluble vitamins:
· Vitamin A or retinol is commonly associated with maintaining a healthy eyesight. Our eyes consist of two cells, rods and cones. The rods contain a pigment called the rhodopsin, necessary for its optimal functioning. This pigment is supplemented to the eye through Vitamin A found in milk, ghee, butter, fish, fresh fruits like papaya, mango and vegetables like carrot and spinach which support healthy eye sight.
· Vitamin D is popularly known as the sunshine vitamin. It can be synthesized by our skin when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for our bone health as it aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. In foods, it is commonly found in fish liver oils. Foods of plant origin do not contain significant amount of Vitamin D.
· Vitamin E, the main role of Vitamin E is to protect the ingested Vitamin A and C and help with its proper absorption. It is also responsible in proper synthesis of unsaturated fatty acids in our body. It is commonly found in all seeds and nuts.
· Vitamin K is known as the anti-bleeding vitamin, due to its property to stop bleeding from a wound, by forming a clot. This prevents excess bleeding in case of injury. Sufficient supplementation of this vitamin will keep blood loss to a minimum. Foods like spinach, cabbage, lettuce, egg yolk, milk and liver are rich in Vitamin K.
2. Water Soluble Vitamins:
· B complex group of Vitamins are the co enzymes which are responsible for the proper digestion of the macronutrients, Proteins, Carbohydrates and fats.
The most important B vitamins are B1, B2, B3, B9 and B12.
· B1, B2, B3: Aids in the processing and metabolizing of carbohydrates, fats and Proteins. A deficiency of this vitamin can result in fatigue as the body fails to receive energy from the macronutrients.
· B1: Found in unprocessed cereals and pulses.
· B2: It is commonly found in fermented or sprouted foods like idly or dosa and sprouted pulses.
· B3: Found in milk, poultry and cereals.
· B9: It is important for the formation and proper development of red blood cells. It can be supplemented with a diet rich in spinach, cereals, pulses and organ meat like liver.
· B12: is essential to maintain proper functioning of digestive tract and nervous system. It is found in liver, milk, eggs and sea foods. It is not found in plant sources.
· Vitamin C: It is essential for the healing of wounds and improving immunity. It also aids in absorption of iron. It is found in abundance in fresh fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits are the prime source of this vitamin.
The above concludes your guide to vitamins. The following week we shall have a look at our mineral guide too. Until then keep fit and revitalize by managing your vitamin intake.