Ensure the Smooth Running of your Body with Vitamins and Minerals
Today there is a lot of talk about vitamins and minerals, but the question is what exactly are these, what do they do for me and where are they found. They are found within the food we eat. They are not food!!! (Please donít think that you can eat vitamin and mineral tablets instead of food.) Vitamins and minerals donít provide calories or energy, but they are the oil in the machinery of my body.
If I donít oil the hinges of my door, the door will still open and shut but not smoothly. It will creak. Similarly, even without adequate minerals and vitamins my body will function but not smoothly, not efficiently. Minerals- calcium, sodium, potassium, zinc, manganese, cobalt, iron, etc., and vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K are all distributed in tiny amounts all through the various groups of foods that we eat. The greatest secret to getting a good supply of minerals and vitamins is to ensure that you never skip meals, that you eat 3 regular meals daily and that all meals must be properly balanced with carbohydrate and protein foods.
Only fruits for breakfast, only soup or salad for dinner or only a glass of milk at night are just foods, not meals. Every meal must have a carbohydrate food- bread, cereal, rice, chapatti, etc., plus a protein like milk, curd, dhal, pulse, egg, non-veg, etc. Along with this plenty of fresh salad, fruits and regular cooked vegetables must be added. Today one of the greatest nutritional deficiencies in the world and specially in India is iron deficiency anemia. Earlier it was prevalent among the very poor and, slum dwellers. Today it is highly prevalent among the rich and obese.
The reason is that the most popular method of weight control is to skip meals or go on a fad diet of only soups/juices, only salads, only protein, etc. If your iron intake goes down, your hemoglobin level in the blood or blood count goes down and you become tired easily, sleepy, lethargic and have poor concentration. Whole wheat, channa, dhals, fish, chicken and beef are good sources of iron. Eating a fresh salad with lunch and dinner helps to increase the iron absorption into the body as the vitamins B and C are present in the salad. Greens are a rich source of iron but unfortunately they contain an inhibitor factor which prevents the iron from being absorbed into the body.
Another great deficiency today is calcium deficiency. It is more prevalent as many have cut down or cut out milk/curd intake for various reasons and theories. Please note you need about 500mg calcium daily and there is no source other than milk/curd that can give you this on a daily basis. We need the milk, so all of us should drink atleast Ĺ liter milk/curd daily. But we donít need the fat in it,so skim thoroughly or use ready skimmed milk. Today dental problems are many as people have very poor teeth and also there are perpetual complaints of joints, neck, spine, knees and osteoporosis due to calcium deficiency.
The vitamins are also very important. They are catalysts in many important processes of the body e.g. you have consumed calcium but there is insufficient vitamin D. The calcium will not be absorbed. You have consumed foods rich in iron but you need vitamin B and C to have it absorbed into the body efficiently.
Here is a check list to help you ensure a good vitamin and mineral intake daily.
- 2 Fresh Fruits
- 2 Salads - one at lunch and one at dinner
- 2 Serving Dhal/Pulses - one at lunch and one at dinner
- 2-3 glasses Skimmed Milk/Curd
- 3 Carbohydrate and Protein balanced meals
And top it up with 2-3 liters water and a 20-30 minutes walk to keep you efficient and fit.