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Nutritional Contents of Fruit

natural_vitaminsAbout Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants

Vitamins we can store

  • Vitamins A, D, E and B12 can be stored in the body for a considerable time;
  • Stores protect the body against short-term shortages. Vitamin D, obtained from sunlight on the skin in summer, helps maintain the supply in the winter;
  • Storage also means that body levels can build up and when eaten in animal foods, even moderately excessive amounts of vitamins A and D produce ill effects;
  • Although the body also produces vitamin A from carotenes in vegetables and fruit, eating these in large amounts does not cause vitamin A excess, nor does an excess of vitamin D result from sunlight;

In developed countries, shortages of fat – soluble vitamin A, D, E, (and K, which is little stored by the body) are mainly due to poor food choice, or vitamin D, lack of time spent outdoors;

Some people are at risk because they absorb fat poorly, through illness or as a side effect of medication, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs or regular use of laxatives;

  • Due to exposure to air storage, and strong heat during cooking, some vitamin A and vitamin E in food is lost;
  • Fat- soluble vitamins need not come from high-fat foods, there are good low-fat sources for each one;

Vitamins we barely store

  • The B complex vitamins and vitamins C and K are little stored by the body, so daily intake is important, although the body manufactures much of the vitamin K it needs;
  • Contact with water will wash some of these vitamins out of food, for example in canning, soaking or when cooking in lots of water;
  • Food refining, exposure of cut surfaces to air and light, and prolonged heat also cause major losses;
  • The risk of deficiency is higher among people who rely on processed or overcooked food. Poor food choices and some medications are also harmful;
  • In times of illness or stress, the body may benefit from higher levels of the vitamins that we barely store;
  • As B vitamins have related functions, taking a supplement implies taking all the B complex vitamins;

Minerals

  • Some 15 minerals are known to be essential to human health, a few others are still in investigation;
  • The exact amount of minerals we need to eat is even less easy to define, for most minerals the amount we absorb varies considerably according to the foods that weeat them in;
  • We absorb some minerals less efficiently from foods high in fibre-especially when they also contain phytic acid. This does not mean we should avoid fibre, just in excess;
  • Certain minerals can be harmful in even moderately excessive amounts. For iron, there seems to be quite a narrow “good” body level, though high enough to avoid the harm done by shortage, but low enough not to risk iron pro-oxidant activity, which may encourage the formation of free radicals;
  • A very large amount of one mineral may reduce the amount that the body can absorb of another. Obtaining minerals from food than from supplements that contain larger amounts can avoid such problems;
  • Mineral levels in natural foods are declining, this happens due to the gradual loss of mineral content in the soil by over farming, this can only be repaired if mineral – rich manure is added to the soil. This extra need of minerals are not necessary for the plant growth, they benefit only our health so there is no incentive for the farmer to take such measures;
  • Essential minerals are refined out of food – Ninety per cent of trace minerals are removed by refining food to make white rice, white flour and white sugar. Calcium, iron and B vitamins are added back to meet the legal minimum nutrient requirement in cereals and labelled as “enriched” or with added vitamins and minerals” in order to sell;
  • Our mineral needs are increasing – Due to the unavoidable toxic minerals that reach us from polluted food, air and water we need a good amount of minerals to protect us;

Antioxidants

  • Oxygen is the basis of all plant and animal life. It is our most important nutrient, needed by every cell, without it we cannot release the energy in food which drives all body processes;
  • Oxygen is chemically reactive and highly dangerous, in normal biochemical reactions oxygen can become unstable and capable of “oxidising neighbouring molecules”, leading to cellular damage, which triggers cancer, inflammation, arterial damage and aging;
  • Known as free oxidizing radicals, this body waste must be disarmed to remove the danger;
  • Free radicals are made in all combustion processes including smoking, the burning of petrol to create exhaust fumes, radiation, frying or barbecuing food and normal body processes;
  • Chemicals capable of disarming free radicals are called antioxidants. The main players are vitamins A, C and E plus beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A that is found in fruit and vegetables;
  • Bioflavonoids, anthocyanadins, pycnogenol and over a hundred other antioxidants, may literally be the balance between life and death;

Antioxidants in health and disease

  • A low calorie diet high in antioxidant nutrients is the best way to slow down the aging process;
  • The risk of death is substantially reduced in those with either high levels of antioxidants in their blood or high dietary intakes;
  • A lower level of vitamin A and vitamin E is associated with Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Elderly people with low levels of vitamin C in their blood have the risk of developing cataracts compared to those with high levels;
  • Low vitamin E blood levels double the risk of developing cataracts;
  • Low levels of vitamin A are linked to people with lung cancer;
  • high intake of beta-carotene from raw fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of lung cancer in non-smoking men and women;
  • Antioxidants help boost the immune system and increase resistance to infection;
  • Antioxidants have been shown to reduce the symptoms of AIDS, and sometimes reverse the condition;
  • They increase fertility, reduce inflammationin arthritis and have an important role in many conditions including colds and chronic fatigue syndrome;
  • The balance between the intake of harmful free radicals and of protective antioxidants can free us from several diseases;
  • Health problems can be recognised when early warning signs start to develop like frequent infections, difficulty shifting an infection, easy bruising, slow healing, thinner skin or excessive wrinkles for your age;
  • The best way to determine antioxidant status is to have a biochemical antioxidant profile done;
  • This blood test measures the levels of beta-carotene, C and E in blood and determines how well antioxidant enzyme systems are functioning;

Antioxidants - the best foods

  • Every year more and more antioxidants are found in nature, including substances in berries, grapes, and tomatoes;
  • Vitamins A, C and E and the precursor of vitamin A, beta-carotene are the main essential antioxidant vitamins;
  • Beta-carotene is found in redorange/yellow vegetables and fruits eaten raw, heat quickly destroys it;
  • Vitamin E is found in nuts and seeds and their oils;
  • Watermelon is also excellent. The flesh is high in beta-carotene and vitamin C, while the seeds are high in vitamin E and in the antioxidant minerals zinc andselenium;
  • The presence of non-essential antioxidants found in most fruits and vegetables are also important;
  • Anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins – particularly rich in berries and grapes, are reputedly good against gout and certain types of arthritis;
  • Bioflavonoids have a number of beneficial roles;
  • They act as potent oxidants;
  • They bind to toxic metals and lead them out of the body; they have a synergistic effecton vitamin C, stabilising it in human tissue;
  • They have a bacteriostatic and /or antibiotic effect, which accounts for their anti infection properties;
  • They are anti-carcinogenic;
  • They are applied in capillarity fragility, bleeding gums, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, bruises, strain injuries and, thrombosis;
  • Bioflavonoids include rutin and hesperidin, found particularly in citrus fruit;
  • Source: Citrus fruit, berries, cherries, grapes, papaya, cantaloupe melon, plums, and tomatoes;
  • Coumarins and chlorogenic acid- these substances prevent the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines and are found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables;
  • Source:Tomatoes, pineapple and strawberries.
  • Ellagic acid – neutralises carcinogens before they can damage DNA;
  • Source: strawberries, grapes and raspberries;
  • Phytoestrogens play a protective role by binding excess oestrogens made in the body, or taken in from the environment via pesticides, plastics and other sources of oestrogen like chemicals, to a protein made in the blood. This action reduces the amount or oestrogens available to oestrogen-sensitive tissues;
  • Source:citrus fruits;

Immune – boosting nutrients

  • Immune strength is totally dependent on an optimal intake of vitamins and minerals;
  • Deficiency of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, C and Esuppress immunity, as well as deficiencies of iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium;
  • Vitamins B1, B2 and B5 have mild immune-boosting effects compared with B6;
  • The production of antibodies, so critical in any infection, depends upon B6, as T-cell function;
  • B12 and folic acid are needed for the rapid production of new immune cells to engage an enemy;
  • Immunity can boost very effectively by the combination or nutrients;
  • Selenium, iron, manganese, copper and zinc are all linked to antioxidation and have been shown to affect immune power positively. The most important areselenium and zinc;
  • Vitamin C is unquestionably the master immune- boosting nutrient;
  • They help immune cells to mature, improve the performance of antibodies and macrophages;
  • Vitamin C is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and able to destroy toxins produced by bacteria;

General Information

  • Monounsaturatedfats do not lower blood cholesterol levels as much as         polyunsaturated fats, but they are better at maintaining levels of “good” HDL                cholesterol;
  • Unlike polyunsaturated fats, you can eat more of them without increasing your need for antioxidant vitamin E, and they can be heated to higher temperatures in cooking without oxidizing;
  • Antioxidants in food – red and orange vegetables and fruit are rich sources of antioxidant beta-carotene, with some vitamin C and D;
  • Carotenes are the pigments that give the most of the orange, red and yellow colour to vegetables and fruit;
  • Nearly all fruits and vegetables contain some of 4,000 – plus flavonoids or polyphenols;
  • Blackcurrants are anthocyanin flavonoids these are the pigments that give purple, dark-red and blue colours to fruit such as blackcurrants, bilberries and dark cherries;
  • A single food is likely to contain a range of these flavonoids. For example 40 flavonoids have been isolated from citrus fruit alone;´
  • Flavonoids have a wide variety of actions: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral or antibacterial, and sometimes more than one of these;
  • Flavonoids are promising health protectors, probably due to circulation benefits and antioxidant effects;

Vitamin A

  • Required for growth and the normal development of tissues; maintains the health of the skin inside and out protecting against infections. Protects also against many forms of cancer. Vitamin A is also necessary for vision;
Deficiency signs
  • Mouth ulcers, poor night vision, acne, frequent colds or infections, dry flaky skin, dandruff, thrush or cystitis, diarrhoea;
Source
  • Melon, mangoes, tomatoes, apricot, papayas, and tangerines;

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

  • Essential for many bodily functions, energy production and helps maintain the health of nerves and muscles.  Helps the body make use of protein.
Deficiency signs
  • Tender muscles, eye pains, irritability, poor concentration, “prickly legs, poor memory, stomach pains, constipation, tingling hands, and rapid heartbeat;
Source
  • Tomatoes

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

  • Vitamin B2 is involved in many bodily processes, especially making energy available from food; growth in children; and the repair and maintenance of body tissues; helps to regulate body acidity;
Deficiency signs
  • Burning or gritty eyes, sensitivity to bright lights, sore tongue, cataracts, dull or oily hair, eczema or dermatitis, split nails, cracked lips;
Source
  • Tomatoes

Niacin (part of B complex)

  • Niacin compromises nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, which are both needed for the production of energy in cells;
  • Nicotinamide is involved in enzyme processes, including fatty acid metabolism, tissue respiration and the disposal of toxins;
  • Essential for brain function;
Deficiency signs
  • Lack of energy production, brain function and the skin. Helps balance blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels. Also involved in inflammation and digestion;
Source
  • Tomatoes, peanuts and avocados;

Pantothenicacid (part of B complex)

  • Plays a central role in making energy from fats and carbohydrates available for the production of essential substances in the body including the production of steroid hormones and fatty acids;
  • Maintains healthy skin and hair;
Deficiency signs
  • Muscle tremors or cramps, apathy, poor concentration, burning feet or tender heels, nausea or vomiting, lack of energy, exhaustion after light exercise, anxiety or tension, teeth grinding;
Source
  • Tomatoes, strawberries, avocados;

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

  • Required by the body in the making of proteins;
  • Helps balance sex hormones;
  • Natural anti-depressant and diuretic;
  • Helps control allergic reactions;
Deficiency signs
  • Infrequent dream recall, water retention, tingling hands, depression or nervousness, irritability, muscle tremors or cramps, lack of energy, flaky skin;
Source
  • Bananas, seeds, nuts and avocados;

Biotin

  • Needed to make the energy from food available, for instance, for the synthesis of fats, and for the the excretion of protein waste products;
Deficiency signs
  • Dry skin, poor hair condition, premature greying hair, tender or sore muscles, poor appetite or nausea, eczema or dermatitis;
Sources
  • Nuts, oats, almonds, tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon and cherries;

Foliate (folic acid)

  • Needed for the production of many essential substances in the body;
  • It is important for the roles it plays with vitamin B12 in rapidly dividing cells, making genetic material (DNA) for every cell;
  • Required to maintain immune system function;
  • Essential for brain and nerve function;
Deficiency signs
  • Anaemia, eczema, cracked lips, prematurely greying hair, anxiety or tension, poor memory, lack of energy, poor appetite, stomach pains, depression;
Source
  • Peanuts, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, cashew nuts, walnuts, and avocado;

Vitamin B12 (cyanoncobalamin)

  • Needed for the manufacture of genetic material (DNA and RNA);
  • Involved in the formation of red blood cells;
  • Essential for the nerves;
  • Deals with tobacco smoke and other toxins;

Deficiency signs

  • Poor hair condition, eczema or dermatitis, mouth oversensitive to heat or cold irritability, anxiety or tension, lack of energy, constipation, tender or sore muscles, pale skin;
Source
  • Some sources have indicated passion fruit as containing this vitamin but it has not yet been confirmed.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

  • Strengthens immune system – fights infections;
  • Keeps bones, skin and joints firm and strong;
  • There is a strong connection between higher intakes of vitamin C and a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cataracts and some cancers;
  • This vitamin is susceptible to oxidation as well as destruction by heat;
Deficiency signs
  • Frequent colds, lack of energy, frequent infections, bleeding or tender gums, easy bruising, nose bleeds, slow wound healing, red pimples on the skin;
Source
  • Strawberries, lemons, kiwi fruit, melons, oranges, grapefruit, limes, tomatoes;

Vitamin D (calciferols)

  • Needed for the absorption of calcium from food, and for calcium and phosphorous use;
  • Affects the growth and strength of bones and teeth, together with nerve and muscle health connected with calcium;
Deficiency signs
  • Joint pain or stiffness, backache, tooth decay, muscle cramps, hair loss;
Source
  • Exposure to sunlight; Vitamins A, C and E protect D;

Vitamin E(d-alpha tocopherol)

  • Vitamin E is needed for its antioxidant action, which protects against the harmful by-products of oxidation. The more polyunsaturated fats you eat, the more vitamin E is needed to protect them from oxidation;
  • Improves wound healing and fertility;
  • Good for the skin;
Deficiency signs
  • Lack of sex drive, exhaustion after light exercise, easy bruising, slow wound healing, varicose veins, loss of muscle tone, infertility;
Source
  • Sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds, oats and avocado;

Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

  • Essential for the formation of proteins controls blood clotting and other functions. Vitamin K may be required for maintaining bone health;
Deficiency signs
  • Haemorrhage (easy bleeding);
Source
  • Tomatoes

MINERALS

Calcium

  • Essential for growth and for maintaining the strength of the bones and teeth;
  • Calcium also controls the conduction of nerve impulses to and from the brain and the contraction of muscles;
  • Promotes a healthy heart, clots blood, improves skin, maintains the correct acid-alkaline balance, reduces menstrual cramps and tremors;
  • The calcium balance of the body is improved by adequate vitamin D intake and exercise;
  • It is made worse by exposure to lead, consumption of alcohol, coffee and tea or a lack of vitamin D and of hydrochloric acid produced in the stomach;
Deficiency signs
  • Muscle cramps or tremors, insomnia or nervousness, joint pain or arthritis, tooth decay, high blood pressure;
Source
  • Almonds, prunes, pumpkin seeds;

Chloride

  • Works with sodium and potassium in regulating the body’s delicate fluid balance;
Deficiency signs
  • Deficiency is very unlikely, except as a result of heavy and prolonged sweating or vomiting;

Chromium

  • It is part of a compound needed to enable the insulin system to work
  • Involved in fat metabolism and in maintaining the structure of genetic material;
Deficiency signs
  • Poor glucose tolerance and raised blood cholesterol;
Source
  • Nuts and seeds;

Copper

  • Part of many enzymes, copper is required for a wide spread of functions: blood and bone formation, production of melanin pigment of skin and hair, and energy release from food;
Deficiency signs
  • Adult deficiency is rarely recognized but early features can include defects in heart function and anaemia;
Source
  • Fruit and nuts;

Iodine

  • Needed by the thyroid gland to produce the thyroid hormone, which regulates more than 100 enzyme systems, involving the metabolic rate, growth, reproduction and many more essential functions;
Deficiency signs
  • Iodine deficiency is rare these days  people eat food grown from all over the world and because many brands of table salt are enriched with iodine;
Source
  • Levels in land-grown food vary widely according to natural soil level variations;

Iron

  • Essential for the formation of red blood cells, and so needed for the circulation because red blood cells carry oxygen around the body;
  • Component of enzymes, vital for energy production;
Deficiency signs
  • Anaemia, pale skin, sore tongue, fatigue, listlessness, loss of appetite, nausea, sensitivity to cold;
Source
  • Pumpkin seeds, almonds, prunes, cashew nuts, raisins, brazil nuts, walnuts, dates, sesame seeds, pecan nuts;

Magnesium

  • Mainly present in the bones and essential for their growth, magnesium is also needed in every cell and for the functioning of some of the enzymes required for energy use. It is also required for normal calcium function;
Deficiency signs
  • Muscle tremors or spasms, muscle weakness, insomnia or nervousness, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, constipation, fits or convulsions, hyperactivity, depression, confusion, lack of appetite, calcium deposited in soft tissue, eg. kidney stones;
Source
  • Almonds, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, peanuts, pecan nuts, raisins;

Manganese

  • Is part of several essential enzymes and triggers the activities of numerous others, including antioxidant and energy production processes;
Deficiency signs
  • Muscle twitches, childhood growing pains, dizziness or poor sense of balance, fits, convulsions, sore knees, joint pain, cardiovascular disease;
Source
  • Pineapple, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, strawberries, nuts and seeds;

Molybdenum

  • Part of several enzymes, including mechanisms for excreting uric acid, use of iron, and DNA metabolism;
Deficiency signs
  • Deficiency signs are not known unless excess copper or sulphate interferes with its utilisation;
Source
  • Tomatoes

Phosphorus

  • In combination with calcium, phosphorus helps maintain the strength of bones and teeth.
  • Needed by the body to use energy and B vitamins from food;
  • It is a constituent of many essential body substances and body control mechanisms;
Deficiency signs
  • Dietary deficiencies are unlikely since it is present in all most foods. May occur with long-term antacid use or with stresses such as bone fracture. Signs include general muscle weakness, loss of appetite and bone pain, rickets, osteomalacia;
Source
  • Present in almost all foods;

Potassium

  • Complements sodium in regulating the fluid levels in the body;
  • Helps the body excrete excess sodium, which helps prevent and relieve raised blood pressure;
  • Enables nutrients to move into and waste products to move out of cells;
  • Promotes healthy nerves and muscles, helps secretion of insulin for blood sugar control;
  • Involved in metabolism, maintains heart functioning, stimulates gut movements to encourage proper elimination;
Deficiency signs
  • Rapid irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, pins and needles, irritability, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, swollen abdomen, cellulite, low blood pressure resulting from an imbalance of potassium/sodium ratio, confusion, mental apathy;
Source
  • Fruit, notably dried fruit, such as apricots, as well as bananas and citrus fruit;

Selenium

  • A vital part of the body’s antioxidant defence system, selenium works with vitamin E and can partially replace it;
Deficiency signs
  • Family history of cancer, signs of premature aging, cataracts, high blood pressure, frequent infections;
Source
  • Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds;

Sodium

  • Essential in small amounts for regulating the body’s balance of fluid, in conjunction with potassium and chloride;
  • Helps nerve functioning;
  • Used in muscle contraction including heart muscle, utilized in energy productionhelps move nutrients into cells;
Deficiency signs
  • Dizziness, heat exhaustion, low blood pressure, rapid pulse, mental apathy, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, reduced body weight, headache;
Source
  • Olives

Zinc

  • Required for the health of the immune systemnormal growthtissue formation, male sexual maturation and the action of various enzymes;
  • More zinc is needed when new tissue must be formed for example, when recovering from surgery, burns of during wound-healing;
  • The most important immune-boosting mineral. There is no doubt that it helps fight infections;
Deficiency signs
  • Poor sense of taste or smell, white marks in more than two fingernails, frequent infections, stretch marks, acne or greasy skin low fertility, pale skin, tendency for depression, loss of appetite;
Source
  • Brazil nuts, peanuts, oats, almonds and pumpkin seeds;

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The information contained on CrystalWind.ca is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Please consult with your healthcare professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes or taking supplements that may interfere with medications. Any products or information discussed are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any illness, disease or lifestyle.

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