Nutrition plays a great role in your
health. Read this nutrition information to learn the
basics of good nutrition facts and understand the role
of different vitamins, nutrients and minerals in keeping
are organic compounds that help maintain normal body
functions, such as reproduction, growth and cell repair.
Your body can't manufacture vitamins, so you need to
obtain them from other sources. Most of the vitamins
you need come from the food you eat, except for vitamin
D, which your body makes when exposed to sunlight, and
K, which is made by the bacteria in your intestines.
In addition to their presence in natural foods, vitamins
can also be manufactured synthetically. Vitamin supplements
may be available in tablet, caplet or liquid form.
Vitamins : Biotin
,Vitamin A ,Vitamin B1 , Vitamin B2 ,Vitamin B3 ,Vitamin
B5 ,Vitamin B6 ,Vitamin B9 ,Vitamin B12 ,Vitamin C ,Vitamin
D ,Vitamin E and Vitamin K .
Nutritionists categorize vitamins by the materials
that a vitamin will dissolve in. There are two categories:
water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble
vitamins, which include the B-complex group and vitamin
C, travel through the bloodstream. Whatever water-soluble
vitamins are not used by the body are eliminated in
urine, which means you need a continuous supply of them
in your food.
Fat-Soluble Vitamins—vitamins A, D,
E and K—are stored in the fat tissues of the body for
a few days to up to 6 months. If you get too much of
a fat-soluble vitamin, it can be stored in your liver
and may sometimes cause health problems.
If you want to get the most vitamins possible from
your food, refrigerate fresh produce and keep milk and
grains away from strong light. Vitamins are easily destroyed
and washed out during food preparation and storage.
If you take vitamin supplements, store them at room
temperature in a dry place that's free of moisture.
Carbohydrate-rich foods are the primary source
of energy for all body functions. Your body breaks down
carbohydrates, or carbs, into fuel for use by your cells
and muscles - that's why eating a moderate amount of
carbohydrates is necessary for most people. There are
two types of carbs - sugars and starches. Sugars are
simple carbohydrates that can be easily digested by
your body and include foods like cake, soda, candy,
jellies and fruits. Starches are complex carbohydrates
that take longer to be digested and include foods such
as breads, grains, pasta, tortillas, noodles, fruits
Many carbohydrate-rich foods are loaded with other
nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are not only great
carbohydrate sources, they're also excellent suppliers
of vitamins A and C and many other vitamins and minerals.
Most dairy products are also great sources of carbohydrates.
Fat and Calories
Fat is the body's major energy storage system.
When the energy from the food you eat and drink can't
be used by your body, the body may turn it into fat
for later use. Your body uses fat from foods for energy,
to cushion organs and bones, and to make hormones and
regulate blood pressure. Some fat is also necessary
to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails, so you shouldn't
cut all fat out of your diet. Too much fat can lead
to heart disease, obesity,
diabetes and many other health problems.
Types of Fats
Not all fats are created equal. Saturated fats, which
are generally solid at room temperature, are the least
healthy and tend to increase the level of cholesterol
in your blood. Foods that contain saturated fat include
butter, cheese, some margarines, shortening, tropical
oils such as coconut and palm oil and the fats in meat
and poultry skin, so you should try to limit your consumption
of those oils and foods.
Unsaturated fats reduce blood cholesterol when they
replace saturated fats in the diet. There are two types
of unsaturated fat - monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated
fat. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to raise the
level of HDL, the 'good' cholesterol that protects against
heart attacks, in the blood, so in moderation they can
be part of a healthy diet. Olive and canola oils, peanut
butter and nuts are particularly high in monounsaturated
fats. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends
that you limit calories from monounsaturated fat to
no more than 15% of your total calorie intake.
How Much Fat Should You Eat?
The American Heart Association and the United
States Department of Agriculture recommend that you
limit your fat intake to no more than 30% of your daily
calories. Of that 30%, 10% or less of the fat calories
should come from saturated fat.
Adjusting Fat Intake for Weight Loss or Gain
If you want to lose body fat, limit your intake
of high-fat foods. This will not only improve your metabolism,
it will allow you more food for your calorie
expenditure because fats have more than twice the calories
per gram as proteins (which contain 4 calories per gram)
and carbohydrates (also 4 calories per gram).
To use up your body's fat storage, you need to exercise
regularly. Moderate aerobic exercise, which raises your
heart rate, is especially important. And any exercise
that builds muscle mass can also help you burn more
calories because muscle burns more calories than fat.
Along with carbohydrates and fat, your body
needs protein, a nutrient made up of essential and nonessential
amino acids, for good health. Your body manufactures
13 nonessential amino acids, which aren't available
from food. For the body to process protein properly,
the foods that you eat must contain the nine essential
amino acids that are available only from dietary sources.
Protein helps to maintain and replace the tissues in
your body, and it's found in almost every living cell
and fluid. Your muscles, organs and many of your hormones
are made up of protein, and it is also used in the manufacture
of hemoglobin, the red blood cells that carry oxygen
to your body. Protein is also used to manufacture antibodies
that fight infection and disease and is integral to
your body's blood clotting ability. Both children and
adults need plenty of protein to grow and develop.
Good low- or nonfat sources of protein include:
Beef, poultry, pork and lamb
Fish and shellfish; Dairy products, including cottage
cheese, cheese, yogurt and milk ;Eggs, egg whites or
egg substitutes; Dry beans, peas, oats and legumes ;Tofu
and soy products ;Nuts and seeds
Proteins are considered either complete proteins (which
supply enough essential amino acids) or incomplete proteins
(which lack adequate essential amino acids). Meat, eggs
and dairy products are considered complete proteins,
but vegetables, beans and other plant products are considered
incomplete proteins. However, some incomplete proteins
can be combined to create a complete protein - rice
and beans, peanut butter and jelly, and corn and beans
are examples of complete-protein meals.
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate. There are two
types of sugars - monosaccharides, which include glucose,
fructose and galactose, are made of one sugar molecule,
and disaccharides are made of two sugar molecules linked
together. Disaccharides are formed when monosaccharides
combine - for example, when glucose and fructose are
combined, they form sucrose, also known as table sugar.
Other disaccharides include maltose, dextrose and lactose.
When many sugar molecules are linked together, they
form a complex carbohydrate, also known as a starch.
Sugar provides the sweet flavor to foods to which it
has been added, and it may also act as a preservative
and flavor enhancer. Sugar is used in a variety of foods,
including cookies, cakes, pickles, ice cream, alcohol
and jams and jellies. Types of sugar include raw sugar,
brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple sugar and corn syrup.
Sugar, which provides 16 calories per teaspoon, provides
no vitamins and minerals, so it's a good idea to use
it in moderation. Overconsumption of sugar, like other
carbohydrates, has been linked to the development of
cavities. However, sugar consumption has not been linked
to hyperactivity in children. A high intake of sugar
does not cause diabetes, but if a person is diagnosed
with diabetes the amount of simple sugar eaten daily
often needs to be reduced.
Minerals help the body perform numerous functions,
such as building strong bones, transmitting nerve impulses,
making hormones and maintaining a regular heartbeat.
There are two types of minerals - macrominerals and
trace minerals. Your body needs larger amounts of macrominerals
like calcium, sodium and potassium. Trace minerals,
on the other hand, are only needed in small amounts.
Common trace minerals include iron, zinc and selenium.
Calcium is an important macromineral that is
absolutely necessary for healthy bones and teeth. It
helps your heart and nerves function properly and helps
your blood to clot.
How Much Calcium Is Enough?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium
1,000 milligrams a day for women and men ages 19 to
1,200 milligrams a day for men and women age 51 and
1,000 milligrams a day for pregnant or breastfeeding
Good Sources of Calcium :
- Milk (low- or non-fat varieties are best if you
are watching your fat intake)
- Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, broccoli,
bok choy, collards and Chinese cabbage
- Canned salmon or any fish with bones
- Calcium-fortified juices
Too little calcium in the diet can lead to calcium
deficiency and osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones
that puts people at increased risk for fractures. People
with calcium deficiencies may also suffer from dental
problems and hypertension.
Iron, a trace mineral, prevents anemia and
keeps your red blood cells healthy. In fact iron is
an essential part of hemoglobin, a part of the red blood
cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. You
also store iron in your muscle tissues and it's an essential
part of many of your body's proteins and enzymes.
How Much Iron Is Enough?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iron is:
10 milligrams a day - Men age 19 and older and women
age 51 and older who are not menstruating
15 milligrams a day - Women age 19 to 50 who are menstruating
30 milligrams a day - Pregnant women
15 milligrams a day - Breastfeeding women
Good Sources of Iron:
- Animal liver, kidney and heart
- Iron-fortified bread and cereal
- Lean red meat
- Egg yolks
- Dried beans and legumes
- Blackstrap molasses
- Dried fruit
- Dark leafy green vegetables
- Foods cooked in an iron skillet
Potassium, a trace mineral, balances water
and acid in the blood and body tissues. Potassium is
also important for building muscle and metabolizing
protein and carbohydrate.
How Much Potassium Is Enough?
Although there is no recommended daily allowance
(RDA) for potassium, the National Library of Medicine
suggests that consuming 2 to 2.5 grams of potassium
a day is adequate. Most Americans consume between 2
and 6 grams of potassium each day.
Good sources of potassium include:
- Fish, such as salmon, flounder, cod and sardines
- Meat, such as beef and chicken
- Lima beans
- Potatoes (especially their skins)
- Leafy green vegetables
- Citrus fruits
- Dried fruit
Selenium is a trace mineral, and the body only
needs small amounts of it to function properly. Selenium
plays an important role in the body's enzyme function,
and may help to stimulate the production of antibodies
(disease-fighting organisms) after vaccination. Selenium
also aids in male fertility.
Selenium is also considered an antioxidant, and it
may work with other antioxidants such as vitamins C
and E to protect the body's cells against free radicals,
which can promote the development of cancer and heart
How Much Selenium Is Enough?
Men and women should consume 50 to 200 micrograms
of selenium a day. Selenium is often an ingredient included
in commercial multivitamin supplements. The typical
American diet provides adequate amounts of selenium.
Good Sources of Selenium from Foods Include:
- Fish and shellfish
- Red meat, chicken and liver
- Brewer's yeast and wheat germ
Sodium, a macromineral, is actually necessary
to regulate your blood pressure and blood volume. Without
sodium, you wouldn't have any blood pressure at all.
Sodium occurs naturally in many foods, including vegetables
and dairy products. In addition, sodium is in drinking
water and in many processed foods and condiments, such
as soy sauce, processed meats, and canned soups and
How Much Sodium Is Enough?
The American Heart Association recommends that
for every 1,000 calories of food you eat, the sodium
intake should be 1,000 milligrams or less and should
not exceed the 3,300 milligram daily limit for adults.
Zinc, a trace mineral, is important to maintain
your body's immune system functioning. Zinc also aids
in cell growth and cell division and helps with wound
healing. Zinc is also integral to your ability to taste
How Much Zinc Is Enough?
Recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for zinc are:
15 milligrams per day - Men over 11 years
12 milligrams per day - Women 11 to 50 years
15 milligrams per day - Women over 50 years
19 milligrams per day - Pregnant and breastfeeding women
Good Sources of Zinc:
- Beef, pork and lamb
- Dark meat of chicken
- Fish and shellfish (especially oysters)
- Dairy products
- Peanuts and peanut butter
- Fruits and vegetables are not generally good sources
People who eat vegetarian or low-protein diets may
have low zinc intakes, which can lead to zinc deficiency.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include slow growth, poor
appetite, impaired smell and taste and hair loss.