Vitamins – Vital Ingredients of The Food
Vitamins are vital ingredients of the food. They do not provide energy but are indispensable for many metabolic processes.
Vitamins are organic substances that the organism needs for certain vital functions, but can not, or only in insufficient quantities, produce itself. Vitamins are thus essential, i. they must be ingested regularly with food. The daily requirement for these micronutrients is low compared to the required amounts of energy supplying nutrients.
Provitamins are vitamin precursors, which are only converted into the active vitamin in the body.
Requirements and quantity recommendation:
The need for vitamins depends on the individual, his physical and psychological condition (eg illnesses, stress). The information for adequate vitamin intake should take into account: age, gender, level of performance, health status, dietary composition, etc.
The indicated desirable daily intake levels contain a safety margin that exceeds the requirement. The indicated quantities do not have to be recorded daily. On average, however, the supply should correspond to these quantities.
As critical vitamins, i. Vitamins, which are often below the recommended intake, are the vitamins B1, B2, B6, and folic acid in Germany. To detect possible deficiencies in the supply of vitamins, nutrient recommendations are issued, which apply to about 97% of the population.
As you can see in the sometimes very different intake recommendations for vitamins and minerals, there is still no certainty about what quantities the human body needs exactly. The individual needs may vary. For some vitamins, different values apply for women and men, as well as for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Age also influences the nutritional requirements as well as diseases or special burdens.
There are two groups of vitamins:
- Fat-soluble vitamins:
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are included in the group of fat-soluble vitamins. The absorption of fat-soluble vitamins is done together with dietary fats. Excessive vitamins of this group are stored in the body. Man can get by these supplies after a regular and sufficient supply for some time with less intake quantities. The body can only excrete small amounts of these vitamins via the intestine. As a result, overdose is possible. Beware of self-medication!
- Water-soluble vitamins:
Vitamin C and the Vitamin B Complex (Vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12, Niacin (PP), Pantothenic Acid (Coenzyme A), Folic Acid (M), Biotin (H), Rutin (P), Ortoic Acid (B13), Pangametine (B15)) are water-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins can only be stored in small quantities. The body’s storage capacity for these vitamins varies greatly: Vitamin B1: 1-2 weeks, B2, B6, C, and niacin: 2-6 weeks, folic acid: 3-4 months, B12: 3-5 years. [Lit-1] Therefore, they must be supplied to the body regularly in sufficient quantity. Surpluses are excreted via the kidneys (urine). Overdoses are still possible.
Minerals / Quantity Elements
Minerals are components of inorganic food that cannot be produced by the body itself. Minerals are essential (vital) components of all living cells and are involved in the metabolism.
The proportion of minerals in the human body is about 4% of body weight.
Minerals are differentiated according to the amount in which they occur in the body. Volume elements are minerals that are contained in the human body at more than 50 mg per kg of body weight. Trace elements are minerals that make up less than 50 mg per kg of body weight. The quantity elements are often referred to as minerals (as on this page) also in contrast to the trace elements.
Humans need minerals for many functions, eg. As for the build-up of body substances (bones, muscles) and the maintenance of enzyme activities.
Purpose of minerals in the body:
- Minerals are part of the skeleton and teeth. They give the bones the strength.
- Minerals affect in dissolved form, as electrolytes, vital properties of body fluids, eg. B. Maintenance of osmotic pressure.
- Minerals are essential components of organic compounds in the body. Iodine is part of the thyroid hormone, cobalt of vitamin B12, the iron of hemoglobin, etc.
Minerals in food:
How high the mineral content of various foods depends not least on how many minerals contained the soil on which the plant grew or what the animal got to eat. It should also be noted that some nutrients may have a beneficial or inhibiting effect on mineral intake.
Fiber: How much and for what?
What is dietary fiber?
The term “dietary fiber” comes from a time when these food ingredients have been considered as “superfluous ballast”.
The fiber is mostly carbohydrates. It used to be thought that dietary fiber was not usable by the human body because human digestive juices contain no enzymes that can break down these compounds. It has been overlooked that some of the dietary fiber is fermented by enzymes of the microorganisms of the large intestine. In addition to gases, short-chain fatty acids, which can be utilized by humans, are also produced. The energy gain from dietary fiber (2-3 kcal / g) is negligible due to the low amounts added. The intake recommendation of the DGE of 30 g fiber per day is often not reached.
The fibers include cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, agar-agar, lignin, etc.
One distinguishes between insoluble and soluble fiber.
The insoluble fiber can increase its volume thanks to its high swelling capacity. That is, they bind fluid, thereby increasing the volume of the intestinal contents, which in turn accelerates the natural intestinal movement and reduces the residence time of the chyme in the intestine. Ingested in sufficient quantities, they can prevent widespread constipation.
The soluble fiber binds bile acids (which consist of 80 percent cholesterol) and other metabolic products and ensures their elimination. In this way less cholesterol gets into the blood and the cholesterol level drops.
All fiber, except lignin, can bind water. In the so-called swelling substances, the water-binding can be up to 100 times its own weight.
Effect of dietary fiber:
Positive effect of fiber
- lasting satiety
- Binding and removal of cholesterol and bile acid, thereby lowering cholesterol levels.
- Increase in colonic mobility (mobility)
- Water retention in the colon, which contributes to a supple chair.
- Prevention of a number of chronic bowel diseases.
- possibly reducing the colorectal cancer risk
Negative effect of dietary fiber
- Flatulence due to gas formation of microorganisms
- additional contamination with xenobiotics
- direct epithelial damage (intestinal mucosal tissue)
- Binding of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, which reduces their absorption rate.
- Intestinal entanglement due to excessive colon filling.
Fiber in food:
Dietary fiber is found only in vegetable products, especially whole grains, legumes, vegetables, salads, sprouts and fruit.
Fiber in 100g food:
- Oatmeal: 10 g
- Wheat Germ: 17.7 g
- Wheat bran: 45.4 g
- Rice: 4.5 g
- Crispbread: 14 g
- Peas: 16.6 g
- Corn: 9.7 g
- Lentils: 17 g
- Soybeans: 21.9 g
- Beans, white: 23.2 g
- Kale: 4.2 g
- Cauliflower: 26.3 g
- Carrots: 12.1 g
- Prunes, dried: 5.0 g
- Whole wheat pasta: 8.0 g