08 July, 2011
Fruits & Vegetables and Their Vitamins and Minerals
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of any diet, providing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. The North Dakota State University Extension Service reports that eating five to nine servings a day of fruits and vegetables provides energy and reduces disease. Fruits and vegetables are convenient and colorful, and a wide selection is available that you can prepare in a variety of ways.
Fat-soluble vitamins are those that are stored in the fatty tissues for the body to use when needed. Fat-soluble vitamins consist of vitamins A, E, D and K. Fruit sources of fat-soluble vitamins include blackberries, cantaloupe, blueberries, grapes, kiwi and plums. Vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, turnip greens and Chinese cabbage are all sources of fat-soluble vitamins, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, and excess amounts are excreted in the urine. For this reason, it is important to have a diet with plenty of these vitamins for body growth and health. Water-soluble vitamins are the B-complex vitamins, such as B6, B12, folate, niacin and thiamine. Vitamin C is also a water-soluble vitamin. Blackberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, oranges, pineapples and strawberries are all fruits filled with water-soluble vitamins, notes the CDC. Some vegetable sources of these vitamins include asparagus, red and green peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
Potassium is an important mineral that helps to regulate the body’s heart rate, preventing potentially life-threatening arrhythmias. Fruits that are good sources of potassium include bananas, prunes, dates, raisins, cherries and grapefruit, according to the website of Clearwater, Florida, chiropractor J.D. Decuypere. Vegetables that contain high potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, lima beans, cooked greens and carrot juice, adds the CDC.
Calcium is important for strengthening teeth and building bone to prevent osteoporosis. The recommended daily amount of calcium is 1,200 mg, reports AskDrSears.com, the website from University of California, Irvine, pediatrician Bill Sears. Fruits high in calcium include berries, such as blackberries, boysenberries and mulberries; black currants; dates; oranges and papayas. Several vegetables may also be a good source of calcium, including sweet potatoes; spinach, artichokes and pumpkin.
Iron is an essential component of the diet in that it helps the body transport oxygen molecules throughout the bloodstream. People who do not take in enough iron may develop a form of anemia, resulting in low energy and skin pallor. The recommended daily allowance of iron in adults is 12 to 18 mg, states AskDrSears.com. Fruits with high iron content include black currants, dates, mulberries, raisins, raspberries and blackberries. Artichokes and lentils are good vegetable sources of iron, as well as pumpkin, spinach and chickpeas.
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