Vitamins & Minerals
Do Vitamins Yield Usable Energy?
Unlike protein, carbohydrates and fats, vitamins do not yield usable energy when broken down. They assist the enzymes that release energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats, but they do not provide energy themselves. (thus, beware of claims for “energy vitamins” or for diets that replace foods with vitamin supplements)
Vitamins and minerals are widely available from the natural foods we eat. So, before you reach for the vitamin jar, try eating your vitamins from natural foods. Here are some of the best sources for each:
Note the nutritional powerhouses: Spinach and Broccoli.
Now you know why your mother always nagged you about eating your vegetables as a child! Particularly the green ones!
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|Vitamin||What the vitamin does||Significant food sources|
|B1 (thiamin)||Supports energy metabolism and nerv e function||spinach, green peas, tomato juice, watermelon, sunflower seeds, lean ham, lean pork chops, soy milk|
|B2 (riboflavin)||Supports energy metabolism, normal vision and skin health||spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, eggs, milk, liver, oysters, clams|
|B3 (niacin)||Supports energy metabolism, skin health, nervous system and digestive system||spinach, potatoes, tomato juice, lean ground beef, chicken breast, tuna (canned in water), liver, shrimp|
|Biotin||Energy metabolism, fat synthesis, amino acid metabolism, glycogen synthesis||widespread in foods|
|Pantothenic Acid||Supports energy metabolism||widespread in foods|
|B6 (pyridoxine)||Amino acid and fatty acid metabolism, red blood cell production||bananas, watermelon, tomato juice, broccoli, spinach, acorn squash, potatoes, white rice, chicken breast|
|Folate||Supports DNA synthesis and new cell formation||tomato juice, green beans, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, okra, black-eyed peas, lentils, navy, pinto and garbanzo beans|
|B12||Used in new cell synthesis, helps break down fatty acids and amino acids, supports nerve cell maintenance||meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs|
|C (ascorbic acid)||Collagen synthesis, amino acid metabolism, helps iron absorption, immunity, antioxidant||spinach, broccoli, red bell peppers, snow peas, tomato juice, kiwi, mango, orange, grapefruit juice, strawberries|
|A (retinol)||Supports vision, skin, bone and tooth growth, immunity and reproduction||mango, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, tomato juice, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, beef liver|
|D||Promotes bone minerali zation||self-synthesis via sunlight, fortified milk, egg yolk, liver, fatty fish|
|E||Antioxidant, regulation of oxidation reactions, supports cell membrane stabilization||polyunsaturated plant oils (soybean, corn and canola oils), wheat germ, sunflower seeds, tofu, avocado, sweet potatoes, shrimp, cod|
|K||Synthesis of blood-clotting proteins, regulates blood calcium||Brussels sprouts, leafy green vegetables, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, liver|
|Mineral||What the mineral does||Significant food sources|
|Sodium||Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, supports muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmissions||salt, soy sauce, bread, milk, meats|
|Chloride||Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, aids in digestion||salt, soy sauce, milk, eggs, meats|
|Potassium||Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, cell integrity, muscle contractions and nerve impulse transmission||potatoes, acorn squash, artichoke, spinach, broccoli, carrots, green beans, tomato juice, avocado, grapefruit juice, watermelon, banana, strawberries, cod, milk|
|Calcium||Formation of bones and teeth, supports blood clotting||milk, yogurt, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, tofu, sardines, green beans, spinach, broccoli|
|Phosphorus||Formation of cells, bones and teeth, maintains acid-base balance||all animal foods (meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk)|
|Magnesium||Supports bone mineralization, protein building, muscular contraction, nerve impulse transmission, immunity||spinach, broccoli, artichokes, green beans, tomato juice, navy beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, sunflower seeds, tofu, cashews, halibut|
|Iron||Part of the protein hemoglobin (carries oxygen throughout body’s cells)||artichoke, parsley, spinach, broccoli, green beans, tomato juice, tofu, clams, shrimp, beef liver|
|Zinc||A part of many enzymes, involved in production of genetic material and proteins, transports vitamin A, taste perception, wound healing, sperm production and the normal development of the fetus||spinach, broccoli, green peas, green beans, tomato juice,lentils, oysters, shrimp, crab, turkey (dark meat), lean ham, lean ground beef, lean sirloin steak, plain yogurt, Swiss cheese, tofu, ricotta cheese|
|Selenium||Antioxidant. Works with vitamin E to protect body from oxidation||seafood, meats and grains|
|Iodine||Component of thyroid hormones that help regulate growth, development and metabolic rate||salt, seafood, bread, milk, cheese|
|Copper||Necessary for the absorption and utilization of iron, supports formation of hemoglobin and several enzymes||meats, water|
|Manganese||Facilitates many cell processes||widespread in foods|
|Fluoride||Involved in the formation of bones and teeth, helps to make teeth resistant to decay||fluoridated drinking water, tea, seafood|
|Chromium||Associated with insulin and is required for the release of energy from glucose||vegetable oils, liver, brewer’s yeast, whole grains, cheese, nuts|
|Molybdenum||Facilitates many cell processes||legumes, organ meats|
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