Vitamins and Minerals in the Diet

No one food has all of the vitamins and minerals, so you need to eat a variety of foods. Food preparation, medications, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and stress can all affect the amount of nutrient available to the body. For example, drinking coffee or tea with meals can decrease iron absorption and taking antibiotics can increase your Vitamin B needs.

Some cooking tips to minimize vitamin and mineral losses include:

♦ Use just enough water to prevent burning.

♦ Cook vegetables only until they are crisp and tender.

♦ Steam or stir-fry foods to retain the most vitamins.

♦ Cut and cook vegetables shortly before serving or store them in an airtight container.

The nutrient content of many foods can be found on food labels. Also,

>you can look up information for most foods on the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) web site (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/ foodcomp/data) or consult a dietitian or nutritionist.

Table 2-2. Requirements and Functions of Vitamins

Fat Soluble Vitamins

Some Important Functions

Food Sources

Vitamin A:

Retinol, Retinoids, Carotene 800-1,000 pg. RE or 5,000 International Units (IU).

Growth and repair of body tissues, immune function, night vision. Carotene is the water soluble form with antioxidant properties.

Oatmeal, green and yellow fruits and vegetables, liver, milk.

Vitamin D:

5-10 pg. or 200 - 400 IU.

Regulates calcium metabolism and bone mineralization.

Fortified milk, egg yolk, salmon, sunlight.

Vitamin E:

alpha-Tocopherol, 8-10 mg.

Antioxidant, protects cell membranes, and enhances immune function.

Fortified cereals, nuts, wheat germ, shrimp, green vegetables.

Vitamin K:

60 - 80 pg.

Assists in blood clotting and calcium metabolism.

Green and leafy vegetables.

Water Soluble Vitamins

Some Important Functions

Food Sources

Vitamin B1:

Thiamin, 1.0 -1.5 mg.

Needed in energy metabolism, and growth. Supports muscle, nerve, and cardiovascular function.

Fortified cereals, legumes, pork, nuts, organ meats, molasses, yeast.

Vitamin B2:

Riboflavin, 1.2 -1.7 mg.

Essential for energy metabolism; growth and tissue repair.

Cereals, liver, milk, green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains.

Vitamin B3: Niacin, Niacinamide, Nicotinic acid 13 -19 mg.

Essential for energy metabolism and nerve function.

Lean meat, seafood, milk, yeast, enriched cereals, whole grains.

Vitamin B5:

Pantothenic acid, 4 - 7 mg.

Essential for energy metabolism and for nerve function.

Legumes, meat, fish, poultry, wheat germ, whole grains.

Vitamin B6:

Pyridoxine HCl, 2 mg.

Essential for CHO and protein metabolism, immune function, red blood cell production, nerve function.

Oatmeal and cereals, banana, plantain, poultry, liver.

Folate:

Folic acid, Folacin, 400 pg.

Vital for red blood cell synthesis. Essential for the proper division of cells. Maternal folate deficiency may result in an infant with birth defects.

Fortified cereals, green leafy vegetables, liver, lentils, black-eyed peas, orange juice.

Vitamin B12: Cobalamin, 2 pg.

Required for red blood cell production, energy metabolism, and nerve function.

Ground beef, liver, seafood, milk, cheese.

Biotin: 30 - 100 pg.

Participates in energy metabolism, fatty acid formation, and utilization of the B vitamins.

Legumes, whole grains, eggs, organ meats.

Vitamin C:

Ascorbic acid, Ascorbate 60 mg.

Antioxidant, role in growth and repair of tissues, increases resistance to infection, and supports optimal immune function.

Cantaloupe, citrus fruit, strawberries, asparagus, cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli.

From the 1989 RDA and 1998 DRIs for healthy adults 19 to 50 years. CHO = carbohydrates. mg= milligrams, pg= micrograms.

From the 1989 RDA and 1998 DRIs for healthy adults 19 to 50 years. CHO = carbohydrates. mg= milligrams, pg= micrograms.

Table 2-3. Requirements and Functions of Minerals

Mineral

Some Important Functions

Unknown

Important in bone retention.

Fruits, leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, beans.

Calcium

1,000 - 1,300 mg.

Essential for growth and structural integrity of bones and teeth; nerve conduction; muscle contraction and relaxation.

Yogurt, milk, cheese, tofu, fortified juices, green leafy vegetables.

Chromium1

50 - 200 pg.

Participates in CHO and fat metabolism; muscle function; increases effectiveness of insulin.

Whole grains, cheese, yeast.

Copper1

1.5 - 3 mg.

Essential for red blood cell production, pigmentation, and bone health.

Nuts, liver, lobster, cereals, legumes, dried fruit.

Iron2

10 -15 mg.

Essential for the production of hemoglobin in red blood cells and myoglobin in skeletal muscle, and enzymes that participate in metabolism.

Liver, clams, oatmeal, farina, fortified cereals, soybeans, apricot, green leafy vegetables.

Magnesium

280 - 350 mg.

Essential for nerve impulse conduction; muscle contraction and relaxation; enzyme activation.

Whole grains, artichoke, beans, green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, fruit.

Manganese1

2 - 5 mg.

Essential for formation and integrity of connective tissue and bone, sex hormone production, and cell function.

Nuts, legumes, whole grains.

Phosphorous

800 - 1,200 mg.

Essential for metabolism and bone development. Involved in most biochemical reactions in the body.

Fish, milk, meats, poultry, legumes, nuts.

Potassium3

2,000 mg.

Essential for nerve impulse conduction, fluid balance, and for normal heart function.

Squash, potatoes, beans, fresh fruits (bananas, oranges) and vegetables (tomatoes).

Selenium

55 - 70 pg.

Antioxidant, works with vitamin E to reduce oxidation damage to tissues.

Meats, seafood, cereals.

Sodium4

500 - 2,400 mg.

Essential for nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, fluid balance, and acid-base balance.

Table salt, canned and processed foods.

Zinc

12 - 15 mg.

Involved in metabolism, immune function, wound healing, and taste and smell sensitivity.

Seafood, beef, lamb, liver, eggs, whole grains, legumes, peanuts.

From the 1989 RDA and 1998 DRIs for healthy adults 19 to 50 years. CHO = carbohydrates. ^Estimated safe and adequate daily intake range - meets requirements of individuals and avoids the danger of toxicity (Food and Nutrition Board, 1989). 2Men should consult a physician before taking iron supplements. 3The minimum daily requirement for potassium is 2,000 mg. 4The minimum daily requirement for sodium is 500 mg. or 1,250 mg. of salt. Salt is 40% sodium and 60% chloride. One teaspoon of salt (5g sodium chloride) has 2g (2,000 mg) of sodium. mg= milligrams, pg= micrograms.

From the 1989 RDA and 1998 DRIs for healthy adults 19 to 50 years. CHO = carbohydrates. ^Estimated safe and adequate daily intake range - meets requirements of individuals and avoids the danger of toxicity (Food and Nutrition Board, 1989). 2Men should consult a physician before taking iron supplements. 3The minimum daily requirement for potassium is 2,000 mg. 4The minimum daily requirement for sodium is 500 mg. or 1,250 mg. of salt. Salt is 40% sodium and 60% chloride. One teaspoon of salt (5g sodium chloride) has 2g (2,000 mg) of sodium. mg= milligrams, pg= micrograms.

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