The most talked about food, at home, are whole grain cereals and green leafy vegetables.
Cereals and green leafy vegetables are a favourite among moms. They love to advice us to have them regularly. In nutritional terms, what your mother emphasises on is a set of eight vitamins, commonly known as B-complex vitamins. These are water soluble vitamins that need to be replenished on a daily basis.
The B-complex vitamins are essential for our mental and emotional wellbeing. They cannot be stored in our bodies, so we depend entirely on our daily diet to supply them. B-vitamins are destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine, and caffeine. So, it is no surprise that many people may be deficient in B-vitamins. Some doctors and nutritionists suggest taking B-complex vitamins as a group for overall good health.
Agreed, that, for many of us B-vitamins comprise of fancy names, either on food labels, or on bottles. These are –
- B1: Thiamine
- B2: Riboflavin
- B3: Niacin
- B5: Pantothenic acid
- B6: Pyridoxine
- B7: Biotin
- B9: Folic acid
- B12: Cyanocobalamin.
They are the B-vitamins group, and they work best as a team.
“B” MY ENEMY
Foods that interfere with absorption of B-vitamins:
- Smoking [nicotine]
- B-vitamins are easily flushed out of the body, especially in people who are on weight loss diets, oral contraceptives, or antibiotics
- Preparation practices like draining off excess water while cooking, or cooking at very high temperature, can intensify vitamin loss
- People who are over-dependant on micro-wave foods can bid goodbye to B-vitamins as micro-wave cooking destroys them
- Foods that are highly processed and polished like basmati rice, white bread, noodles, pasta, biscuits [made of maida] can lead to loss of vital vitamins
- People involved in strenuous exercise may have increased demand for B-vitamins in their body
- B-vitamins [especially, B3] could be beneficial for diabetics on insulin; however, it is important to remember that over-consumption of B-vitamin supplements without professional guidance can cause liver damage
- People taking biotin for hair loss should avoid taking egg whites and biotin-rich foods in the same meal, as egg whites interfere with their absorption in the body
- B12 vitamins are exclusively found in animal foods; therefore, pure vegetarians should remember that they may need B12 supplements
- Folic acid [vitamin B9] is an essential nutrient for healthy pregnancy. Women planning for a baby should incorporate folic acid-rich foods in their diet, three months before pregnancy. During pregnancy, folic acid-rich foods must be combined with good food sources of vitamin B12 and vitamin C [amla, guava, lemon, orange, sweet lime, sprouts, capsicum, drumstick, parsley, and cabbage] to improve their absorption in the body.
It would, of course, be ideal to achieve optimal health through fresh, naturally healthy foods, including vitamins. However, with increased pollution levels, and use of chemicals and preservatives, coupled with our stressful lifestyles, it is imperative for us to increase our vitamin requirements, through appropriate supplements.
Speak to your therapist/nutritionist for optimal and safe vitamin intake and supplemental dosages.
|Vitamins||“B”enefits||What happens when you lack them|
|B1: Thiamine|| ||Fatigue, forgetfulness, heart changes, loss of appetite and numbness in legs.|
|B2: Ribolfavin|| ||Cracks and sores at the corner of mouth, redness in the eye, burning sensation, and hair loss.|
|B3: Niacin|| ||Memory loss, depression, diarrhoea, and insomnia|
|B5: Pantothenic acid|| ||Nausea, fatigue, and tingling sensation in hands and feet.|
|B6: Pyridoxine|| ||Anaemia, sore tongue, cracking of lips, and hyper-irritability.|
|B7: Biotin|| ||Depression, baldness, and increased blood sugar.|
|B9: Folic acid|| ||Red tongue, anaemia, and abnormal graying of hair.|
|B12: Cyanocobalamin|| ||Depression, constipation.|