The best nutritional supplement that can do wonders for your body is a well-balanced diet which contains all nutrients and essential vitamins, and provides your body with the perfect crew to perform a wonderful show of wellness.
What are vitamins and their functions?
Vitamins are essential micronutrients that facilitate the smooth functioning of our body. Primarily they act as a catalyst in providing energy to body cells, and aid in the reproduction, repair and growth of cells. In addition, they support other nutrients to perform their role effectively thereby ensuring efficient functioning of the organs, strengthening of bones and boosting of the immune system.
Vitamins are generally consumed on a regular basis in fewer amounts relative to macro-nutrients such as carbs and fats. Hence, a regular intake of vitamin-rich foods is recommended as these nutrients cannot be produced by the body. Vitamins are categorized into two groups:-
- Fat Soluble: Vitamins that can be stored within fat cells of the body and be used to break down food into energy as and when required. Though they are consumed in moderation, since excessive storage of these vitamins can become toxic for the body. These include vitamin A, D, E and K.
- Water Soluble: These vitamins are also known as 'co-enzymes'. They support the process of converting food into energy and supplying it across the entire body. They cannot be stored in the fat cells of the body and are quickly excreted by the kidney, thus these vitamins are consumed more often than fat soluble vitamins. These vitamins include-Thiamin (vitamin B1), Riboflavin (vitamin B2), Niacin (vitamin B3), Pantothenic acid(vitamin B5), vitamin B6, Biotin(vitamin B7), Folic acid(folate or vitamin B9), vitamin B12 and vitamin C.
What foods are good sources of vitamins and minerals?
- Quinoa: This popular superfood has high dietary fiber content and is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin B, vitamin E, and minerals including iron, calcium & magnesium among other nutrients that make it an essential component of a wholesome meal.
- Leafy Greens: Dark green leafy vegetables are abundant in vitamins such as folate, vitamin C and minerals such as zinc, magnesium & iron along with high dietary fiber. Add them to your super-plate that consists of whole grains, pulses, carbs and healthy fats in adequate proportions.
- Berries: Cranberries & Goji berries are known to be the nutritional powerhouses of essential vitamins including vitamin A,E, C & K, in addition to minerals including iron, zinc, manganese & copper. These berries serve as great toppings to a variety of dishes and can also be enjoyed raw as healthy snacks.
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds are rich sources of vitamin B, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, calcium and antioxidants. Grab a handful of these everyday to stay nourished.
- Teff Flour:The African super grain, Teff consists of a variety of vitamins including vitamin B6, thiamine, vitamin C and minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium & zinc. Make it a healthy addition to your regular flour to add a superfood twist to your meal.
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