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Covering your vitamin needs: 7 tips

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“Eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day” – yes, you should. The “5 a day” campaign, which was launched by the German Nutrition Society (DGE), various health insurance companies and the German Cancer Society, among others, know a lot of people. Good, because fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins that are not just “healthy” but are sometimes even essential for life.

But due to everyday stress and a busy schedule, healthy eating quickly slips far too far down the priority list and vitamins don’t work out so well. It can be very simple.

That’s why vitamins are so important

Without vitamins, nothing in your body works. In contrast to the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat), vitamins do not provide energy in the form of calories, but are the substances that are needed for every reaction in your body, no matter how small: nervous system, energy metabolism, immune system, hormone production, digestion , cell division and much more. All of this only works with the help of vitamins.

There are a total of 13 vitamins that can be roughly divided into two groups: Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, the rest – for example vitamin C – are water-soluble vitamins. Which is the most important vitamin of all, you ask? They are all equally important for you and your health – there is no “all-rounder” among vitamins.

Vitamins are therefore essential, that is, necessary for life. The only problem is: your body can’t produce them itself (except for some vitamin D from the sun). That’s why he depends on you to provide him with them through food. The equation is simple: without vitamins there is no life. On the other hand, if you take care of an adequate supply of vitamins, you will be fit, healthy, vital, productive and will also make you more resistant to illness. Anyone who regularly eats fruit and vegetables reduces their risk of stroke, coronary heart disease and colon cancer. This is confirmed by the current DGE nutrition report.

Cover your vitamin needs: With these tips it works

In order to meet your vitamin needs, you don’t have to know exactly how much of which vitamin you need. If you are still interested, you can read about it in our Vitamin ABC or on the website of the German Nutrition Society. The reassuring thing: Studies show that with a balanced diet you can get all the vitamins without any problems.

So that you know whether your body is lacking something, it can be a good idea to have your blood count checked occasionally. But maybe you should try our tips first. Because with these you will definitely cover your vitamin needs:

1. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day

The rule mentioned above is just as simple as it sounds: try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. How much is “a serving”? You read that here. The following also applies: It is better to have a little more vegetables than fruit, as they provide less sugar. Otherwise you can’t go wrong.

The five portions can be spread throughout the day as snacks or integrated into main meals as a side dish. A kiwi for breakfast, a few raw vegetable sticks in between or a small salad with an omelette in the evening. 3 omelette recipes that will make your muscles grow.

You can also simply pack your “greens” into a shake or smoothie. All you need is a good stand mixer that also finely chops vegetables.

You can also simply drink a portion of greens

2. Pay attention to the correct preparation

Some vitamins, including vitamin C and a number of B vitamins, are extremely sensitive to heat. Water-soluble vitamins are also quickly washed out by too much water when cooking. However, this does not apply to all vitamins, and some even benefit from the heat. The vitamin C content of vegetables is reduced by cooking or baking, but at the same time the cooking process in carrots, for example, increases the proportion of beta-carotene (vitamin A precursor), as this study shows. According to studies, the same phenomenon occurs with tomatoes: for example, tomato paste or sauce contain more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.

Beta carotene and lycopene are secondary plant substances. These bioactive substances are also incredibly important for our health and are often part of studies.

Processed or cooked vegetables are not necessarily low in vitamins, it depends on the vegetables themselves. It is therefore smart to choose different preparation methods and to integrate raw vegetables as well as steamed and cooked vegetables into your diet.

3. Eat the bowl with you

In most cases you can save yourself peeling because most of the vitamins are hidden under the peel. And it would be a shame to just throw them away. Be sure to wash your fruit and vegetables because (unfortunately) a lot of pesticides can stick to the peel. In the best case scenario, you should choose the organic version of these foods as a precaution in order to benefit even more from the vitamins they contain.

4. Choose whole grains

Vitamins are not only found in fruits and vegetables; grain products, legumes and nuts also contain important vitamins. They are a perfect addition to your daily portion of fruits and vegetables. In order to absorb as many vitamins as possible, you should definitely choose whole grain instead of white flour products when it comes to grains. Most of the nutrients are found in the shell of the grains. For light flour and white rice, this is removed and with it the vitamins it contains.

5. Use oil regularly

To cover your vitamin needs, you should not only eat fruit and vegetables, but also (the right) fat. High-quality vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil, olive oil or linseed oil not only provide essential fatty acids, but are themselves rich in vitamins and, above all, necessary for absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. They are found in carrots, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and spinach, among other things. To get the full load of vitamin, you should always refine your vegetables with a dash of oil and make a vinegar-oil dressing with your salad.

A vinegar and oil dressing is not only delicious, but also boosts vitamin absorption

6. Eat (animal) proteins regularly

Since vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal products, you can ensure your vitamin B12 requirements by regularly consuming meat, fish and dairy products. Vitamin B12 is, among other things, essential for blood formation, ensures strong nerves and is involved in energy metabolism. A deficiency occurs gradually and you can read about the symptoms that can then occur here.

For fans of a vegan diet, there is no other option than to take a vitamin B12 supplement because they cannot meet their needs through their normal diet.

7. Eat seasonally and regionally

Eating seasonally makes sense. Not only because it is then easier to use regional products with short transport routes, which demonstrably contain more vitamins in the food. Your body loves variety. The greater the variety, the more different nutrients it gets.

In addition, your body’s needs change depending on the season, which can be supported by seasonal fruits and vegetables: Typical winter vegetables such as kale provide extremely vitamin C to strengthen the immune system. Spring vegetables such as asparagus or spinach have a diuretic effect and stimulate metabolism. In summer, water-rich berries, tomatoes and zucchini help you stay hydrated and in autumn, beetroot and pumpkin prepare you for the cold season thanks to their valuable antioxidants.

Do I need vitamin supplements?

Normally, you can easily cover your vitamin needs with the help of a varied and varied diet – and of course our clever tricks. So supplements are not absolutely necessary.

In addition, water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C cannot be stored at all or can only be stored in very small quantities. Simply taking any additional preparations according to the “watering can principle” doesn’t make sense.

“Dietary supplements are useful when the right nutrients are taken by the right person at the right time in the right amount,” says consumer advice centers “Klartext Nutritional Supplements”. So if you know for sure that you cannot meet your vitamin needs due to your diet (vegans, for example, should definitely supplement vitamin B12 and vitamin D), illnesses, intolerances or an increased need, supplements make absolute sense. Talk to your doctor about it in advance and don’t just take any medication.

Full vitamin stores despite a busy everyday life? Of course it works. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to weigh everything exactly, nor do you have to pay close attention to which vitamin you need and in what quantities. Unless you eat vegan.

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