Herbs: vitamins, minerals and trace elements part 1
You will encounter many times in the collection of valuable herbs, the reference to vitamins and minerals contained in the leaves, flowers, bark and roots of herbs! Many times, however we can not realize the importance of such substances for the proper functioning of our body.
Vitamins are organic compounds needed in very small amounts to support the normal function of vital organs. They are not produced by the body so it is important to be taken through a balanced diet.
On the completeness of vitamins in our body, depends the proper functioning of the metabolism, the nervous system, the reproductive and digestive system, the brain and cardiovascular function and of course the quality of our bones and skin. The role of vitamins in our body, is not limited there, as they strengthen the immune system, nourish tissues and muscles and protects our precious eyesight.
The 9 water-soluble vitamins
They are considered nontoxic as excreted in the urine, while the lack of them can cause serious damage to the body.
The best known is vitamin C or else ascorbic acid, is a potent stimulant of the immune system, valuable antioxidant, especially for smokers, while giving large doses of energy in the body. At the same time vitamin C improves the appearance of the skin and supports the health and elasticity of blood vessels.
Lack of vitamin C causes bruises, infections of the gums, tooth decay, lethargy, edema, dryness in skin and hair, dry eyes, hair loss, joint pains, anemia, while the lack for a long period of time causes scurvy.
The best sources of vitamin C are: peppers, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, papaya, grapefruit, kiwi, sweet potato, pineapple, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, cabbage, parsley and of course orange and lemon! Dried fruits do not contain vitamin C.
The B vitamin complex consisting of seven vitamins:
Vitamin B1 or thiamine, stimulates the nervous system and is important for the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Promotes healthy digestive function and maintains muscle tone.
Lack causes intense weakness, palpitations, edema, nausea, anorexia, and gastrointestinal disorders.
The best vitamin B1 sources are: sunflower seeds, asparagus, mushrooms, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, tuna, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, spinach, lentils, pea, soy and wheat.
Vitamin B2 also known as riboflavin, contributes to rapid wound healing and treatment of skin diseases and it is beneficial for the hair, skin and nails.
Lack causes sores and cracks especially at the edges of the lips, dermatitis, photophobia, anorexia, anxiety and fatigue.
The best sources of vitamin B2 are: almonds, soybeans, mushrooms, spinach, whole wheat, yogurt, liver, eggs and mackerel.
Vitamin B3 is also known as vitamin PP and as niacin, and is mainly produced by the body. B3 contributes to the healthy growth of the organism, the health of the eye, benefits the skin, while playing an important role in the healthy functioning of the digestive, nervous and cardiovascular system.
The deficiency may cause dermatitis, diarrhea, stomatitis and dementia.
The best vitamin B3 sources are: mushrooms, peanuts, brown rice, all green leafy vegetables, asparagus, corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes, lentils, carrots, almonds, celery, peach, tuna, salmon, chicken and barley.
Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid, offers a significant boost of energy and metabolism. It helps maintain blood sugar at normal levels, and is considered that treats hair loss.
Lack, although it is almost impossible to have, causes general weakness, and can only exist in the case of severe malnutrition.
The best vitamin B5 sources are: broccoli, lentils, avocados, mushrooms, sweet potato, wheat, sunflower, strawberries, eggs, liver, poultry, fish, cereals, all green leafy vegetables, asparagus, peanut butter, split peas and cauliflower.
Vitamin B6 contributes significantly to support the nervous system and the balance of hormones in the body. It helps the regeneration of red blood cells and is essential for the metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and for vitamin B3 synthesis.
Lack of vitamin B6 causes glossitis, dermatitis, nervous system disorders, confusion, irritability, insomnia, anemia, irritability, depression, muscle rigidity and lack during pregnancy may cause the newborn autism, mental retardation and circulatory diseases.
The best sources of vitamin B6 are: wheat, all green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, potatoes, brown rice, spinach, avocado, walnuts, tomatoes, beans, bananas, trout, chicken , peppers and tuna.
Vitamin B9 – folic acid is essential for the metabolism of proteins, and the formation of red blood cells. Particular need in vitamin B9 have infants and young children, as the formulations contain B9, but not in natural form.
The deficiency can cause anemia, leukopenia, weakness, redness and cracking in the tongue and mouth, weight loss and diarrhea. During pregnancy the deficiency may cause premature birth and low weight infants.
The best sources of vitamin B9 are: asparagus, all green vegetables, broccoli, citrus, milk, legumes (especially black-eyed beans), peanuts, beans, avocado, banana and liver.
The last Β complex vitamin, B12 is particularly important for the absorption of proteins, cell renewal, and nervous system function.
Lack causes serious disorders of the nervous system, fatigue, anemia and problems in the child growth.
The vitamin B12 sources are: cereals, fish and seafood, chicken, egg, liver and milk. You will not find vitamin B12 in vegetables.
The last water soluble vitamin, biotin or else vitamin H, is important for the metabolism of carbohydrates and absorption of amino acids.
Lack though rare, causes skin diseases, emotional instability and reduced muscle tone. Raw egg white overconsumption cause biotin deficiency.
The best sources of biotin are: green vegetables, all nuts, avocados, blueberries, cauliflower, carrots, papaya, banana and salmon.
A diet with fruit and vegetables, has higher levels of folic acid (B9), vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. While lower levels of vitamin B12, D, calcium and iron.
Vitamins essential for energy are biotin and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6.
The vitamins necessary for hemoglobin synthesis, are vitamins B6, B9 and B12.
Apart from vitamin deficiency, exists hypervitaminosis caused by overloading the body with one or more vitamins. The pathologies of hypervitaminosis are many times more dangerous to our health and difficult to treat. The water-soluble vitamins have no risk of toxicity.
In the second part of the vitamins, we will refer to the fat-soluble vitamins, the benefits and what to beware!