Making Use Of Nutrients- Part One

I talk a lot about how important vegetables are and how much we rely on medicine, tablets and pills to alleviate symptoms versus uncovering the problem and finding a solution.

Knowing isn't doingThe thing is, everyone knows they should eat more vegetables. But knowing isn’t doing and few people get in the necessary daily amounts.

The reason I rant so often about vegetables is because they are chalked full of nutrients. They contain more vitamins and minerals than any other food group. While we know we “need vitamins to be healthy” I don’t think many people grasp just what vitamins do for our bodies.

In technical terms, vitamins aid in growth, digestion, energy transfer, nervous system function, etc. But most importantly, they are co-factors for enzymes. Why is this important?

Without enzymes, our bodies would shut down. Enzymes are mandatory to accomplish every function within our bodies. And our enzymes, need vitamins.

Vitamins important

In other words, vitamins (as well as minerals and phytochemicals which are also present in vegetables) help us with things like:

Why We Need Nutrients
  • Proper digestion
  • Healthy skin, hair, nails
  • Metabolism of drugs and toxins
  • Blood cell protection
  • DNA repair
  • Controlling cholesterol
  • Immune system function
  • Formation of new proteins
  • Protecting cells from free radicals

Trust me, the list can go on.

Unfortunately though, for a society in which food is accessible 24/7, many of us are nutrient deficient. What does that mean? It means, we are missing out on key vitamins that help keep our bodies functioning optimally.

Most people, though deficient, don’t even realize it. They think whichever problem they’re facing is the result of something else. Or worse, “just normal”. Instead of continuing this though process, take a look at the chart below for some common symptoms and what they could be caused by. The chart is from Precision Nutrition and personally one of my favorites.

Deficiency Table

While this (small) list may seem overwhelming, the truth is, each vegetable has a unique make up and contains many different vitamins. By consuming a variety of vegetables (and fruits) you’ll be able to reap the benefits of many of the above listed vitamins.

But where do they come from? Below is a quick & simple breakdown.

Vitamin Table

As you can see, many of the vegetables are listed over and over. That is because each vegetable contains multiple vitamins, making it easy to get in an adequate intake

So instead of “knowing you should eat more veggies”, start eating them and improving your systems functionality, feeling and appearance! To quote Nike here:

nike

Check out part two in the series when we talk about minerals.