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Vitamin Supplements In Vegetarian Diets

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  • Vitamin Supplements In Vegetarian Diets

    Vegetarian diets are gaining popularity. A vegetarian diet includes plant products, seeds, nuts and excludes animals and all forms of products obtained from animals. Since, vegetarians do not include animal meat and dairy items in their diet, they sometimes miss out on essential vitamins, like vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which are chiefly found in meat and dairy products. Due to this, vegetarians are at a high risk of having vitamin deficiency and therefore, may need to take vitamin supplements. Vegetarian diets are usually low in fats and cholesterol and are considered healthy. Dietitians Canada and American Dietetic Association both have certified that, well planned vegetarian diets are healthy and nutritious.
    Vitamins are essential nutrients for a healthy and long life. There are numerous benefits of vitamins and just a small amount of vitamins, is enough to perform various roles. Vitamins can be classified as fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins.
    Fat-soluble Vitamins: These vitamins being fat-soluble, are not excreted by the body everyday, but are stored in the liver for future use. They are not destroyed while cooking.
    Vitamin A: Itís also called as 'retinol' or 'anti-aging vitamins'. It helps in maintaining a healthy skin, as it prevents acne and wrinkles. It is an antioxidant, which plays a vital role in cell reproduction, ensures hair growth, and improves eyesight. It promotes proper growth and development of bones and teeth, and strengthens the immune system.
    Food Sources: Food sources rich in vitamin A are milk and dairy products such as cheese and butter. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, broccoli, collards, etc. and yellow and orange vegetables and fruits, such as pumpkins, carrots, oranges, peaches, papaya, and mango are also good sources of vitamin A.
    Vitamin D: It increases the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by the body and promotes strengthening of bones and teeth.
    Food Sources: The major source of vitamin D is sunlight. The human body manufactures vitamin D, when exposed to sunlight. It is also found in milk, fortified dairy products and margarine.
    Vitamin E: It is an antioxidant, which protects the cell membrane against oxidizing elements that may cause damage. It also promotes normal growth and development, and helps in the formation of red blood cells.
    Food Sources: Some of the best supplements of vitamin E are seeds (sunflower, mustard, and flax), vegetable oils and nuts. It is also found in margarine, butter, wheat germ, whole grain products, and leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage.
    Vitamin K: It plays an essential role in the synthesis of proteins, blood clotting and bone strengthening. It is also used by the liver to synthesize prothrombin.
    Food Sources: Vitamin K is found in vegetable oils such as cottonseed oil, canola oil, olive oil and soybean oil. Green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and green turnip are rich in vitamin K.
    Water-soluble Vitamins: These vitamins are not stored in the body and are replaced everyday. They are easily lost during cooking.
    Vitamin B: This vitamin is made up of a group of eight water-soluble vitamins. The B-complex vitamins help the body to obtain energy and support cell metabolism. They also promote cell growth and division, and red blood cell formation. It strengthens the immune system and helps in the functioning of the nervous system. It is essential for healthy skin, good vision and for maintaining a normal appetite.
    B1 Thiamin Whole grains, enriched grain products, peas, legumes
    B2 Riboflavin Milk, green vegetables, enriched grain products, whole grain products
    B3 Niacin Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, dates, asparagus, nuts, legumes, whole grain products and mushrooms
    B5 Pathothenic acid Vegetables such as broccoli and avocados, rice, molasses, and yeast products
    B7 Biotin or Vitamin H Legumes, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, raspberries, strawberries, oats, walnuts, almonds, soybean and milk
    B9 Folate or Folacin Spinach, asparagus, lettuce, turnip green, beans, peas, fortified cereal products and sunflower seeds
    B12 Cobaltamine Milk and dairy products, fortified food products such as soy-milk, meat analogs (substitutes for meat)
    Vitamin C: It is also known as 'ascorbic acid'. It is an essential vitamin, for the maintenance of ligaments, blood vessels, bones, teeth and gums. Also, it ensures normal immune response to infection.
    Food Sources: Vitamin C is mainly found in citric acid fruits like oranges, sweet lime, raspberry, pineapple, mango, peach, avocado, grapefruit, cantaloupe, watermelon and kiwi fruit. Vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, tomato and garlic are also rich in vitamin C.
    Apart from vitamin supplements in food products, there are vitamin supplement pills that are also available in the market. People often end up taking vitamin pills unnecessarily, as they believe that it is good for their health. But, taking vitamin pills is not advocated. Even though doctors might recommend these supplements, in the form of pills, as a part of the food that you eat, a well planned vegetarian diet will provide the best vitamin supplements for vegetarians. Therefore, one should always eat a balanced diet!Vegetarian diets are gaining popularity. A vegetarian diet includes plant products, seeds, nuts and excludes animals and all forms of products obtained from animals. Since, vegetarians do not include animal meat and dairy items in their diet, they sometimes miss out on essential vitamins, like vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which are chiefly found in meat and dairy products. Due to this, vegetarians are at a high risk of having vitamin deficiency and therefore, may need to take vitamin supplements. Vegetarian diets are usually low in fats and cholesterol and are considered healthy. Dietitians Canada and American Dietetic Association both have certified that, well planned vegetarian diets are healthy and nutritious.
    Vitamins are essential nutrients for a healthy and long life. There are numerous benefits of vitamins and just a small amount of vitamins, is enough to perform various roles. Vitamins can be classified as fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins.
    Fat-soluble Vitamins: These vitamins being fat-soluble, are not excreted by the body everyday, but are stored in the liver for future use. They are not destroyed while cooking.
    Vitamin A: Itís also called as 'retinol' or 'anti-aging vitamins'. It helps in maintaining a healthy skin, as it prevents acne and wrinkles. It is an antioxidant, which plays a vital role in cell reproduction, ensures hair growth, and improves eyesight. It promotes proper growth and development of bones and teeth, and strengthens the immune system.
    Food Sources: Food sources rich in vitamin A are milk and dairy products such as cheese and butter. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, broccoli, collards, etc. and yellow and orange vegetables and fruits, such as pumpkins, carrots, oranges, peaches, papaya, and mango are also good sources of vitamin A.
    Vitamin D: It increases the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by the body and promotes strengthening of bones and teeth.
    Food Sources: The major source of vitamin D is sunlight. The human body manufactures vitamin D, when exposed to sunlight. It is also found in milk, fortified dairy products and margarine.
    Vitamin E: It is an antioxidant, which protects the cell membrane against oxidizing elements that may cause damage. It also promotes normal growth and development, and helps in the formation of red blood cells.
    Food Sources: Some of the best supplements of vitamin E are seeds (sunflower, mustard, and flax), vegetable oils and nuts. It is also found in margarine, butter, wheat germ, whole grain products, and leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage.
    Vitamin K: It plays an essential role in the synthesis of proteins, blood clotting and bone strengthening. It is also used by the liver to synthesize prothrombin.
    Food Sources: Vitamin K is found in vegetable oils such as cottonseed oil, canola oil, olive oil and soybean oil. Green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and green turnip are rich in vitamin K.
    Water-soluble Vitamins: These vitamins are not stored in the body and are replaced everyday. They are easily lost during cooking.
    Vitamin B: This vitamin is made up of a group of eight water-soluble vitamins. The B-complex vitamins help the body to obtain energy and support cell metabolism. They also promote cell growth and division, and red blood cell formation. It strengthens the immune system and helps in the functioning of the nervous system. It is essential for healthy skin, good vision and for maintaining a normal appetite.
    B1 Thiamin Whole grains, enriched grain products, peas, legumes
    B2 Riboflavin Milk, green vegetables, enriched grain products, whole grain products
    B3 Niacin Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, dates, asparagus, nuts, legumes, whole grain products and mushrooms
    B5 Pathothenic acid Vegetables such as broccoli and avocados, rice, molasses, and yeast products
    B7 Biotin or Vitamin H Legumes, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, raspberries, strawberries, oats, walnuts, almonds, soybean and milk
    B9 Folate or Folacin Spinach, asparagus, lettuce, turnip green, beans, peas, fortified cereal products and sunflower seeds
    B12 Cobaltamine Milk and dairy products, fortified food products such as soy-milk, meat analogs (substitutes for meat)
    Vitamin C: It is also known as 'ascorbic acid'. It is an essential vitamin, for the maintenance of ligaments, blood vessels, bones, teeth and gums. Also, it ensures normal immune response to infection.
    Food Sources: Vitamin C is mainly found in citric acid fruits like oranges, sweet lime, raspberry, pineapple, mango, peach, avocado, grapefruit, cantaloupe, watermelon and kiwi fruit. Vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, tomato and garlic are also rich in vitamin C.
    Apart from vitamin supplements in food products, there are vitamin supplement pills that are also available in the market. People often end up taking vitamin pills unnecessarily, as they believe that it is good for their health. But, taking vitamin pills is not advocated. Even though doctors might recommend these supplements, in the form of pills, as a part of the food that you eat, a well planned vegetarian diet will provide the best vitamin supplements for vegetarians. Therefore, one should always eat a balanced diet!
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