Tag Archives: Nutrients

Nutrients affecting Digestive Health

digestive systemWe need a healthy digestive system to assimilate the food we eat; but little do we know that these nutrients are also needed to keep the digestive system healthy. From A to D, essential vitamins play key roles in maintaining digestive health. In most cases you can get these nutrients from the daily diet; but those with certain gastrointestinal diseases may need supplements, however always consult a doctor first. Read on to learn which vitamins are the most important for healthy digestion and how to incorporate them into your eating habits.

B Vitamins

These vitamins are found in proteins such as fish, poultry, meat, and dairy products, whole grain cereals, pulses, fruits like bananas, green vegetables and eggs. B vitamins are water-soluble, thus you cannot store them to use later; they need to be a regular part of your diet.

Essential B vitamins for the digestive system include:

  • B1: helps the body change the carbohydrates in diet into energy.
  • B3: is important for many digestive tract functions, including the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and alcohol.
  • B6: is very important in helping digestive system process the protein in the diet.
  • Biotin:This B vitamin helps the digestive system produce cholesterol and process proteins, carbohydrates, and fatty acids.
  • B12: plays a role in the nervous system, the production of blood cells, and the body’s use of folic acid and carbohydrates.

Vitamin C

Because it is an antioxidant, many people associate vitamin C with the immune system and preventing colds, but it also aids in digestion by supporting healthy teeth and gums and helping the body absorb iron. Food sources include: Citrus fruits (oranges, lemon, mausmi), berries (e.g. amla), tomatoes, peppers, broccoli.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body in absorbing calcium and plays a key role in how the nerves, muscles, and immune system function. Also healthy levels of vitamin D are associated with a reduced risk for colon cancer. There are three ways you can get vitamin D: Sun exposure, Vitamin D-rich foods, such as egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver, and fortified milk and cereal and supplements.

If you are not getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and food, talk to your doctor about a supplement. Keep in mind that you may already be taking a supplement that contains vitamin D. e.g. many calcium supplements also contain vitamin D.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is involved primarily in boosting vision, bone, and reproductive health, as well as helping the immune system. Sources of vitamin A include liver, whole milk and its products, cod liver oil, kidney, egg, fish, meat and some fortified food products; colourful fruits and vegetables (yellow, orange and dark green leafy ones like carrot, papaya, tomato, capsicum, mango, apricot, spinach, fenugreek, etc. Although vitamin A is not directly involved in digestion, some gastrointestinal diseases can leave you vulnerable to a vitamin A deficiency.

So follow the mantra: Eat healthy to keep your digestive system healthy.

Beauty is Skin Deep

beauty is skin deepThe face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart. Saint Jerome (church father & saint). Indeed… But not only the mirror of mind, face is a mirror of our nutritional status also. Our skin, hair, nails show the correct picture of our internal body. So to keep this picture beautiful it is important to take good overall care of ourselves. This care includes taking a well balanced diet (for beauty from within) along with a regular skin and hair care regime.

There are certain nutrients which can be rightly termed as beauty nutrients and are essential for healthy skin, hair and nails.

Vitamin A

Helps in preventing acne and maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin A along with adequate protein intake is helpful in keeping the hair healthy. Look for yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (carrot, papaya, tomato, bell peppers, mango, apricots, etc.), dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, fenugreek), liver, eggs, dairy products and fish liver oil for food sources of vitamin A.

Vitamin C
Fights wrinkles and helps the body produce and maintain collagen which in turn maintains elasticity of skin and prevents sagging. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits (lemon, orange), guava, grapefruit, melons, cherries, kiwi, strawberries, gooseberries (amla), red and green peppers, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes to name a few.

Zinc
Works with vitamin C to make collagen and supports the action of vitamin A. Also nails and hair contain zinc. Zinc is found in pumpkin and sunflower seeds, whole-wheat flour, rye flour, oat flour, oysters (shellfish), lean red meat, brewer’s yeast, Eggs, Legumes, Mushrooms, Spinach.

Vitamin E
Helps the body in retaining moisture and can prevent damage due to sun and thus prevents premature aging. Sources: Cold-pressed wheat germ oil and safflower oil, Whole grains, Wheat germ, Milk, Asparagus, Broccoli, Egg yolk, Leafy greens, Liver, Olives, Soybeans, Sunflower seeds, Nuts, Vegetable oils.

Selenium

This mineral helps with dry skin of scalp (which we commonly know as dandruff) and enhances vitamin E absorption. Selenium is found in garlic, onions, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, Asparagus, Bran, Broccoli, Chicken, Egg yolk, Milk, Seafood, Tomato, Whole grains.

Proteins

Hair, nails and skin are made up of protein. If you have brittle nails, poor skin and hair that breaks easily, it may be because you don’t include enough protein in your diet. Protein-rich foods are an excellent source of biotin, which is a B-complex vitamin and is essential for healthy nails. Some other dietary sources of biotin include egg yolk, soy bean flour, milk and peanut butter. Sources of protein: fish, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, nuts, oilseeds, pulses, legumes and wheat germ.

Essential Fatty Acids

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help in keeping the skin hydrated, nails glossier and more flexible, and help hair retain moisture. Flaxseeds, salmon are the best sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

B-Complex Vitamins

A deficiency of these vitamins can result in various skin problems and hair loss. B complex vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods like whole grain cereals, pulses, fruits like bananas, green vegetables, eggs, dairy products, and meats including turkey and liver.

Water

Drinking plenty of water transports nutrients to skin cells, and keeps them nourished. Having lime water, coconut water, fresh fruit juices, soups, buttermilk or green tea also provides necessary liquid content to the body. Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol and other fizzy drinks as a fluid source.

Include all these beauty nutrients in your daily diet and observe the transformation unfold before your eyes.

Image Courtesy: Stuart Miles