..no wait, Produce Section! 🙂 As promised, here’s the latest in our health posts…all you’ve ever wanted to know (and possibly more) about vitamins. Remember in elementary school in language arts we had to start each paper with a thesis statement… well, since I believe we all learn of these nutrients at some point but as we age we tend to forget..let’s go back to the basics and start with a theme.
“Vegetables provide the broadest range of nutrients of any food class: sources of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and protein.”
The little fat they contain is in the form of essential fatty acids. Protein, carbs, and fats can be found in greater discussion here, but this post is where I want to talk about vitamins, with a future one focusing on minerals.
Water-soluble vitamins: Those which dissolve in water and are readily excreted from the body.
Major Dietary Sources; Major Functions/Effects of deficiency; Recipes
B1 (Thiamine): Whole grain wheat & rye, brewers yeast, nuts, molasses, chickpeas, kidney beans, rice bran, sunflower seeds, soybeans, wheatgerm. Helps regulate carbohydrate metabolism, aids in production of HCl, needed for energy production; Deficiency = Impaired carbohydrate metabolism, peripheral nerve changes, edema, heart failure, mental disturbance, paralysis, constipation, anorexia. Peachy Blue Monster, Orzo with Peas Red Peppers and Onions, Red Beans and Rice, Three-Bean Chili, Naan
B2 (Riboflavin): Whole grains/cereals, wheatgerm, spinach, brewers yeast, molasses, beets, almonds. Aids cellular respiration, releases energy to cells, good for healthy skin & mucous membranes, needed for optimal nerve function; Deficiency = Sensitivity to light, eye lesions, cataracts, vomiting, diarrhea, muscular spasticity. Peachy Blue Monster, Orzo-Almond Salad, Cranberry-Almond Green Bean Salad, Blueberry-Almond Icing
B3 (Niacin): Whole grains, brewers yeast, peanuts, dried beans & legumes, potatoes, pulses, sunflower seeds. Aids carbohydrate metabolism, production of sex hormones, reduces cholesterol, needed for healthy nervous & digestive systems & skin; Deficiency = Skin & gastrointestinal (GI) lesions, mental disorders, digestive disturbances, mucous membrane inflammation. Fresh Fruit Salad, Butternut Squash-Potato Soup
B5 (Pantothenic acid): Yeast, corn, dried fruit, lentils, peas, seeds & nuts, green veg, wheatgerm, whole grain products, synthesis by intestinal bacteria. Promotes proper growth, vitamin utilization, energy utilization, healthy response to stress; Deficiency = Fatigue, sleep disorders, neuromoter disorders, cardiovascular disorders, gastrointestinal distress, eczema. Fresh Fruit Salad, Orzo with Green Tomatoes Onions and Corn, Three-Bean Chili, Baked Rice Casserole
B6 (Pyridoxine): Whole grains/flours, brown rice, oat bran/germ, avocados, nuts, molasses, leafy greens, bananas, yeast, tomatoes, corn, carrots. Needed for energy production, healthy nervous system, brain & mental state, transport of amino acids across the plasma membrane; Deficiency = Dermatitis, nervous disorders, learning disabilities, anemia, kidney stones, fatty liver. Peachy Blue Monster, Chickpeas Romesco, Orzo with Green Tomatoes Onions and Corn, Oat Surprise Muffins, Cinnamon Rolls
B7 and B8 (Biotin): Yeast, brown rice, cashews, lentils, oats, peanuts, peas, sunflower seeds, walnuts, veg, synthesis by intestinal bacteria. Coenzyme concerned with nucleic acid synthesis, CO2 fixation, N metabolism, aids cell growth, fatty acid production, helps body process sugars, carbs, proteins & vitamins for healthy skin, hair, nails; Deficiency = Scaly dermatitis, muscle pains, weakness, insomnia, depression, fatigue. Peachy Blue Monster, Oat Surprise Muffins, Walnut Shortbread, Cashew Raspberry Icing
B9 (Folic acid, Folacin, Folate): Leafy greens, yeast, barley, fruit, chickpeas, lentils, peas, rice, wheatgerm, soybeans, synthesis by intestinal bacteria. Needed for red blood cell formation, aids growth, reproduction, digestion, important for healthy nerve growth (particularly in developing fetus); Deficiency = Failure of red blood cells to mature, anemia, GI disturbances, & diarrhea. Peachy Blue Monster, Fresh Fruit Salad, Chickpea Fritters, Naan, Shepherdess’ Pie, Stuffed Bell Peppers
B11 (Choline): Leafy veg, soybeans, peanuts, potatoes, cauliflower, flax & sesame seeds, oats, lentils. Part of phospholipids, precursor of acetylcholine; Deficiency is unlikely. Sweet & Spicy Nuts, Papas Refritas, Saffron Taters, Vegetable Curry
B12: Yeast, synthesis by intestinal bacteria, veg burger mixes, TVP, soy milks, fortified cereals. Important for health of brain & nervous system, coenzyme needed for RNA synthesis & for erythrocyte formation to prevent anemia; Deficiency = Pernicious anemia, nervous disorders (demyelination), malformed red blood cells, general weakness. Veggie Sushi (Nori Rolls), Vegan Cinnamon Rolls *to be on the safe side, take a B12 or B complex vitamin
C (Ascorbic Acid): Citrus, tomatoes, green peppers, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, blackcurrants, guava, kiwi, papaya, spinach, strawberries, apples, watercress, cauliflower. Necessary for oxidation reactions, synthesis and maintenance of collagen, aids bone & tooth formation, healing, promotes healthy blood capillaries & gums, healthy skin, aids absorption of iron & production of hemoglobin, protects against cancer, heart disease, allergies, infections, cold, stress; Deficiency = Scurvy, failure to form normal connective tissue fibers, anemia, low resistance to infection, bruises. Clementine-n-Mango Juice, Cranberry-Coconut Cookies, Chickpeas Romesco, Fresh Fruit Salad, Butternut Squash-Potato Soup
Inositol (B family complement): Bananas, brown rice, oat flakes, molasses, nuts, vegetables, yeast, wheatgerm. Aids metabolism, reduces cholesterol concentration, slows hardening of arteries; Deficiency = Fatty liver, constipation, hair loss, eczema. Banana Bread, Red Beans & Rice, Sweet & Spicy Nuts
Fat-soluble vitamins: Those which are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the assistance of lipids.
Major Dietary Sources; Major Functions/Effects of deficiency; Recipes
A (carotene): Technically it’s the provitamin form that’s found in foods: apples, grapes, papaya, cantaloupe, apricots, watermelon), oils, yellow orange & green veg (broccoli, kale, spinach, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, watercress, & parsley). Needed for growth differential & structural maintenance of epithelium, formation of visual pigments, important antioxidant, protects skin, keeps vision healthy; Deficiency = Night blindness, xerophthalmia, skin lesions, allergies, dry hair, fatigue, failure of skeletal growth, reproductive disorders. Clementine-n-Mango Juice, Peachy Blue Monster, Shepherdess’ Pie, Veggie Fried Rice, Spicy Noodles, Veg Curry, Orzo w Peas Red Peppers and Onions, Fruit Salad, Butternut Squash-Potato Soup
D: Fortified cereals/grains, synthesis of D3 results from UV radiation (sunlight) of 7-dehydrocholesterol found in the skin. Increases calcium & phosphorus absorption from digestive tract, helps control calcium deposition in bones & teeth, promotes proper heart action; Deficiency = Rickets in children, osteomalacia in adults, diarrhea, insomnia, nervousness. 10-15 minutes a day in the sun (without sunscreen) should do it!
E: Leafy green veg, wheatgerm oil, peanuts, whole grains, corn oil, almond, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds & oil, walnuts, whole wheat flour, apples, oranges, grapes. Helps red blood cells resist hemolysis, aids in muscle and nerve maintenance, acts as antioxidant to prevent cell membrane damage of unsaturated fats in cells; Deficiency = Increased fragility of red blood cells, dry hair, hemolytic anemia in newborns. Clementine-n-Mango Juice, Fruit Salad, Orzo w Green Tomatoes Onions & Corn, Three-Bean Chili, Walnut Shortbread
K: Molasses, safflower oil, leafy green veg, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, green tea, oats, cauliflower, soybeans, synthesis by intestinal bacteria. Aids in prothrombin synthesis (clotting factors) in liver; Deficiency = Failure of blood to clot, severe bleeding, hemorrhages. Oat Surprise Muffins, Vegan Pizza Verde, Chocolate Chip Cookies (with oats)
Oh, and something else we were taught in elementary school: Eat your veggies!