Good Nutrition Means A Proper Balance of Vitamins and Minerals   

Good Nutrition Means A Proper Balance of Vitamins and Minerals


Good health demands a balanced diet of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Good health also requires the daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals. The term vitamin refers to more than a dozen organic substances that are required, in small amounts, for normal metabolism, growth, and physical well-being. Vitamins do all this by providing essential parts of enzymes and hormones necessary to regulating our everyday activities.

In addition to vitamins, all our body cells need inorganic materials known as minerals. Some of these minerals are called "trace elements" because the body needs them only in very small amounts. Our bodies require calcium and magnesium for a host of enzyme-mediated reactions, as well as phosphorus, sodium and potassium for proper functioning of the nerves and muscles. Still others, such as red blood cells, need iron to build the oxygen carrying pigment, haemoglobin. Like vitamins, many minerals form essential parts of enzymes that provide, for example, the "spark" to make muscles contract, or that influence the proper distribution of water in the body.

In this fast paced world, you seize every opportunity to save money and time. For convenience, the use of canned and frozen foods has been increasing over the years. Although canning is one of the better preservation methods for preventing a foodborne illness, these foods do contain fewer nutrients. The high temperatures used in canning can actually destroy precious water-soluble vitamins. Unlike vitamins, minerals are not affected by heat processes and cannot be destroyed.

However, both vitamins and minerals can be lost if the water used in canning or cooking is thrown away. The amount of nutrients lost is related to the processing techniques used. More nutrients are lost when a food is cut, broken or chopped; large amounts of water are used; and high temperatures are used for a long period of time. All of the nutrients you are losing can be replenished with simple solutions.

Of course the most reasonable way to supply your body with essential vitamins and minerals is to eat a well balance assortment of foods that also contain carbohydrate fats and proteins in balanced proportions.


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