How many of us are truly aware of our body requirements? Laju Nanwani imparts a refresher course Ever wondered how some of your friends just glow and radiate while you simply can’t seem to remove that dull, lifeless and limp look off your face? Instead of envying their silken tresses and flawless complexion here is how to make sure you gain adequate nutrition from your meals and acquire enviable holistic beauty, good health and a fab body. Presenting 4 nutrients you can’t afford to miss in your daily meal.
CALCIUM – The Bone Builder
Why: Calcium is primarily responsible for increasing bone density resulting in stronger teeth, bones and lower chances of osteoporosis as you grow older. Moreover, this magical mineral helps better functioning of muscles and nerves; prevents colon cancer and can keep many other diseases at bay. Recent research shows that regular calcium consumption along with Vitamin D (which enables better absorption of the mineral) can decrease the risk of type II diabetes.
Daily dose: 1000– 1200 mg/day
Food files: Dairy products, especially milk, yogurt and cheese are good sources of calcium. Fish, soybean products such as tofu, sesame seeds, nuts, white bread, dried fruit, pulses and green leafy vegetables contain the nutrient in good measure. Breakfast cereals, orange juice, kale, oysters, ricotta and even most yummy ice creams are fortified with extra calcium.
Calcium is Important for:
Formation of bones and teeth
Coagulation of blood
Contraction of muscles, cardiac action, milk production
Transformation of light to electrical impulses in the retina
Young mothers during pregnancy and the nursing period
Children and young people for rapid growth of bones
POTASSIUM – Earl of Equilibrium
Why: Potassium does the much needed balancing act, cancelling out the effects of sodium and maintaining a constant pH level in the body. A tilt in this delicate balance can lead to disastrous consequences and haywire blood pressure is the first indication. An electrolyte, potassium is the reason behind your nervous system running in top shape and those toned muscles. Potassium can get rid of acne (women, rejoice!) while banishing certain forms of allergy, fatigue and kidney stones. Potassium plays a vital role in maintaining the water-base balance, otherwise known as acid-alkaline balance of the body. Experts suggest that daily intake of food rich in potassium helps the body to function better.
Daily dose: 4700 mg/day
Food files: Bananas, oranges, apricots, avocado, strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, bell pepper, eggplant, squash, mushrooms,Brussels sprouts, turmeric, parsley, spinach, broccoli, tuna and halibut are treasure houses of potassium.
Potassium is Important for:
Functioning of kidneys
Stabilizing overall blood pressure
Essential for the working of nervous system
Supplying oxygen to brain cells
IRON – Multitasking Mineral
Why: This mighty mineral is important for myriad metabolic processes. But, iron’s claim to fame is its importance in creating haemoglobin, a pigment which is an essential part of the red blood corpuscles (RBC) to carry oxygen in the blood. Iron deficiency leads to anaemia with symptoms of fatigue, irritability, dizziness, headaches and lack of appetite in critical cases.
Daily dose: 15 mg/day
Food files: Red meat is the richest source of iron, but fish and poultry are close runners-up. Fortified breakfast cereals, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, beans and green leafy vegetables also contain iron apart from dry fruits like dates, prunes, almonds and raisins, and soy products such as tofu, tempeh, and soymilk.
Iron is Important for:
Helping the immune and central nervous systems
Transport and storage of oxygen
Aiding energy production and cell diffusion
VITAMIN A – Viceroy of Vision
Why: Vitamin A is very vital for your eyesight. Deficiency of this vitamin can result in night blindness. Moreover, Vitamin A helps ensure that your skin, gums and teeth are in the pink of health. The immune system requires this wonderful vitamin to keep it fighting fit.
Daily dose: 700mcg/day
Food files: It is found abundantly in liver (beef, pork, chicken, turkey and fish), carrot, broccoli leaf, sweet potato, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens, cantaloupe melon, egg, apricot, papaya, mango, pea, dried herbs, lettuce and butternut squash.
Vitamin A is Important for:
Vision, Bone metabolism and skin health
Embryonic development and reproduction
Good immune function and antioxidant activity