Tag - b vitamins

Whole Foods Spotlight – Asparagus

 

Springtime is the perfect time to enjoy thin, tender, flavorful stalks of asparagus! This vegetable has long been consumed and valued for its nutritional properties. An Egyptian frieze dating at around 3000 BC pictures asparagus as an offering and it’s name comes from a Persian word meaning stalk or shoot. During Roman times, Emperor Augustus coined the phrase “faster than cooking asparagus” for quick action, as the vegetable is best when lightly and quickly steamed, broiled or sauteed. The thickness of the stem indicates the age of the plant and newer, slender stalks are the most tender. The stalks of older plants can be woody but can be peeled or easily snapped off.

While we typically think of asparagus as green, there are white and purple varieties of the vegetable as well. Purple asparagus grows naturally and has a fruitier flavor that makes the purple variety a great choice for eating raw. White asparagus has no chlorophyll to give it its green color as it’s grown underground or under plastic domes, completely shaded. Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally balanced vegetables. It’s low in calories and sodium, has no cholesterol and is a great source of fiber. It’s also loaded with minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc as well as vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B9 (folate), C, E and K.

The abundance of B vitamins, including folate, helps to maintain healthy levels of homocysteine, produced by the blood when amino acids break down. A deficiency of B vitamins will elevate these homocysteine levels leading to ailments such as damaged blood vessels, venous thrombosis which is the clotting of blood in the veins and other cardiac disorders. Folate is also linked to preventing neural health disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s also crucial for a developing fetus and women who are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant are strongly encouraged to increase their intake of folate.

Asparagus supports kidney health as well. A known diuretic, it helps to flush out excess salt and fluids from the body and helps to prevent toxins from building up in the kidneys and the formation of kidney stones. However, if you have uric acid kidney stones, your physician may tell you to avoid the vegetable to keep your urine from getting too acidic and worsening your condition. If you’ve ever noticed that eating a lot of asparagus causes urine to smell strong, this is because it’s the only food to contain a chemical called asparagusic acid. During digestion, this acid breaks down into compounds which contain sulfur which leads to the strong scent that everyone produces but only a small percentage of people can smell.

In addition, the high fiber content of asparagus and it’s prebiotic nature which acts as a food source for good gut bacteria makes it a fantastic choice for good digestive health. It also helps to support the immune system, provides protection for the thyroid gland and has anti-inflammatory benefits as well. All great reasons to pick up a bundle the next time you are at the farmer’s market or grocery store!

 

Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes

Asparagus Egg and Bacon Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Grilled Sriracha Meatball Skewers with Coconut Rice and Asparagus

Essential Vitamin List

We all want to feel and look our best, have lots of energy and keep our bodies healthy. Making sure we are getting the right amounts of essential vitamins is key to all of that! Today we’ve put together a list of the essential vitamins your body needs, what they do for your health and great sources to incorporate more into your diet!

A

What doesn’t Vitamin A do? This powerhouse is in charge of general growth and development. It’s crucial for eye health, teeth, skin and helps to boost the immune system and cuts the risk of heart disease.

You know you are getting a dose of A when you are eating foods with an orange hue, caused by the carotene pigment. Carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe are all packed with Vitamin A.

The recommended daily dosage is 2,300 IU. Be advised that it can be toxic in large doses so stick with the recommended amount.

B VITAMINS

The eight B vitamins include B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B12 and Folic acid. These are responsible for energy production, maintaining metabolism, muscle tone, iron absorption, immune function and memory.

These nutrients can be found in whole foods including potatoes, bananas, lentils, peppers, beans, whole grains, yeast and molasses. Recommended daily allowance is as follows. . .

  • B1: 2-10 mg/day
  • B2: 5-10mg/day
  • B3: 15-30mg/day
  • B5: 1-15mgs
  • B6: 6-12mg/day
  • B7 : 100-300 mcgs
  • B12: 12-100 mcg
  • Folic acid: 200-400 mcg/day

C

Known for boosting the immune system, Vitamin C is also hard at work giving skin elasticity, strengthening blood vessels, assisting in iron absorption, helping wounds heal faster and preventing heart disease.

Oranges, guava, bell peppers, kiwi, grapefruit, strawberries, Brussel sprouts and cantaloupe are all great sources for C. A single orange covers your recommended daily dosage, 75 mg.

D

Here’s one of the essential vitamins you may want to strongly consider supplementing. While milk, eggs, orange juice, fish and mushrooms provide Vitamin D, the amounts are not enough. The recommended daily dosage is 1,000 to 2,000 IU.

The best source of Vitamin D is spending time in the sun. However, with rising skin cancer rates we have to balance how much time we spend in the sun without sunscreen with our need for Vitamin D. It’s necessary for strong, healthy bones and optimum muscle function. It’s believed that it can reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 50 percent!

E

Many cells of our body use vitamin E to carry out important functions. It gives a boost to the immune system, widen blood vessels, prevents clots and offers protection against free radicals.

Almonds are absolutely packed with Vitamin E and other nuts like peanuts and hazelnuts and sunflower seeds are also good sources. For adults, the recommended daily allowance is 15 mg or 22.4 IU.

K

Blood coagulation, the process by which blood clots is dependent upon K. Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli and brussel sprouts are the best natural sources.

The recommended daily doses differ for men and women at 120 mcg for men and 90 mcg for women. Research is finding that vitamin K has been shown to help improve insulin resistance in older men.