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Vitamin A

The active form of vitamin A is retinol and it is only found in animal products, but plants have more than 50 compounds called carotenoids that the body can convert into vitamin A, the most common being beta-carotine. Vitamin A is needed for immunity, health and development of the skin, hair and mucous membranes prevent ageing and some cancers.

You can find vitamin A in bright coloured vegetables, apricots, broccoli, spinach and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E refers to a group of eight fat-soluble compounds that include both tocopherols and tocotrienols. There are many different forms of vitamin E, of which y-tocopherol and a-tocopherol are the most common in normal diet.

Vitamin E has many biological functions; the antioxidant function being the most important and/or best known. It is also important for the growth and development and blood clothing.

You can find vitamin E on nuts, seeds, almonds, margarines and wheat germ.

Calcium

Calcium promotes growth and development, including muscle growth. It is needed by amino acids to activate and do their many jobs. They promote storage and release of some of the body hormones.

You can find calcium on peas, all green leafy vegetables, green vegetables, orange and some fortified plant milk

Phosphorous

Phosphorus is a mineral that makes up 1% of a person’s total body weight. It is present in every cell of the body, but most of the phosphorus in the body is found in the bones and teeth. The main function of phosphorus is in the formation of bones and teeth. It plays an important role in the body’s utilization of carbohydrate and fats and in the synthesis of protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues.

You can find phosphorous on nuts, wholegrain products and cereal.

Protein

Protein is a polymen chains made of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. In nutrition protein in broken down in the stomach during digestion by enzymes known as protease into smaller polypeptides to provide amino acids for the body. Protein in found in all cell of the body and is the major structural component of all cells in the body, especially muscle. This also includes body organs, hair and skin. When broken down into amino acids, they are used as precursors to nucleid acids, co-enzymes, hormones, immune response, cellular repair ad molecules essential for life. A good source of protein is often a combination of various foods, because different foods are rich in different amino acids. Soya bean, which is almost the identical balance of amino acids found in meat and it can come on the form of soya milk, tofu, temper and yogurt.

Fats

Fat is a big category that includes a number of different fatty acids, two of which are essential to our diet. Actual requirements for essential fats are low, but there may be advantages to eating some fat-rich foods overall.

Fats can be categorised into saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats can be further divided into cis fats, which are the most common in nature, and trans fats, which are rare in nature but present in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Examples of edible plant fats include peanut, soya bean, sunflower, sesame, coconut and olive oils, and cocoa butter.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates is a organic compounds that contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. A carbohydrate which is a synonym of saccharine is divided into four chemical grouping, monosaccharide, disaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. They are sugar and starches that provide the body with its most important form of energy. Carbohydrates also serves for storage of energy, play a role in the immune system, fertilisation, blood clothing and some metabolic processes.

Complex carbohydrates starch can be found in cereal, bread and pasta and simple carbohydrates such as sugar can be found in jams, candy and deserts.

Fibre

Dietary fibres can act by changing the nature of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract and by changing how other nutrients and chemicals are absorbed through bulking and viscosity. Food sources of dietary fibre are often divided according to whether they provide soluble or insoluble fibre. Plant foods contain both types of fibre in varying degrees, according to the plant’s characteristics.

Advantages of consuming fibre are the production of healthful compounds during the fermentation of soluble fibre, and insoluble fibre’s ability to increase bulk, soften stool, and shorten transit time through the intestinal tract.

Some types of soluble fibres bind to bile acids in small intestine, making them less likely to enter the body; this in turn lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. Viscous soluble fibres may also attenuate the absorption of sugar, reduces sugar response after eating, normalises blood lips levels and, once fermented in the colon, produce short-chain fatty acids as by-products with wide-ranging physiological activities. Insoluble fibre is associated with reduced diabetes risk. One type of insoluble dietary fibre, resistant starch has been shown to directly increase insulin sensitivity in healthy people, in type 2 diabetics, and in individuals with insulin resistance, possibly contributing to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

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