Iron helps in the adequate supply of oxygen from lungs to body tissues, making it a vital nutrient in every diet. Ironically, iron is one of the nutrients that are often scarcely present in the diets of women and teenage girls. Vegetarians must ensure that they take enough iron in their diet because iron from plant foods called "non-heme” iron, is not absorbed as well as “heme” iron from meats can be absorbed. To enhance iron absorption, eat iron-containing plant foods like beans, lentils, spinach and iron-fortified plant foods like whole grains, breads, and cereals along with vitamin C rich foods like citrus fruits.
Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin. Its primary role is to convert nutrients into energy and is involved in the normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system, however, the absorption of nutrients reduces with age. People who are 50 years and older should eat foods fortified with vitamin B12 such as certain meats and cereals or take B12 supplements after consulting their physician.
Fiber is important for digestion as it moves things along the intestinal tract. Dietary fiber found in certain foods like oats, barley and fruit skins may help reduce blood cholesterol as part of a low fat diet. Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate found naturally in plants. It is often found to be deficient in both the genders. It is important to include plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains and nuts in the daily diet to fulfill the daily need for fiber
Potassium, as an electrolyte, helps maintain fluid balance in the body thus, keeping the blood pressure normal. Potassium also supports fertility and muscle and nerve function. The daily intake of potassium in adults should be 4700 milligrams per day. In order to get more potassium, consume a variety of foods like bananas, baked potatoes with skin, vegetables, fruits and fat-free or low-fat dairy foods like milk and yogurt
Folic acid is important in aiding rapid cell division and growth, such as during infancy and pregnancy. Children and adults both require folic acid to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia. Plants are the key source of folic acid. It is important for people to include fortified whole grains, dark green vegetables, beans and lentils, fortified orange juice and peanuts in their diet to meet the daily requirement of these nutrients.
Calcium is very important for humans as it an important material used in mineralization of bones and teeth. Calcium plays an important role in building stronger, denser bones early in life and keeping bones strong and healthy later in life. Deficiency of calcium may lead to brittle bones and fractures. Vegetables like spinach, chard and rhubarb are great source of calcium. Sea weed, almonds, pistachios and soybean are also rich in calcium. Dairy products also supply good amount of calcium.
Vitamin D is responsible for intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphate. Vitamin D has been evidently found to be helpful in improving bone health. Although vitamin D is synthesized by the body on exposure to sun, dietary intake is also recommended to meet the requirement consistently. You can rely on cereals, milk, some yogurts, juices and supplements for vitamin D supply.
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