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Learn About Your Health: Nutrition

Learn About Your Health: Nutrition

Following a healthy diet is the foundation of healthy living and safe driving. South African diets are typically high in fat and lack fresh fruit and vegetables, leading to common shortages of essential elements like Vitamin A, C, B complex and Calcium. The table below will help to show you which elements are important in maintaining a healthy body and mind, and also gives examples of the main food sources in which these elements can be found.

 

 

ELEMENT WHAT IT DOES FOOD SOURCE SIGNS OF SHORTAGE
Vitamin A Needed for a healthy skin and to fight infection. Essential for night vision. Liver, carrots, cabbage, pumpkin, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Mouth ulcers, poor night vision, frequent colds, dry flaky skin.
Vitamin B1 Essential for energy production, brain function and digestion. Mushrooms, peas, lettuce, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and beans. Tender muscles, irritability, poor concentration and fast heart beats.
Vitamin B2 Turns fats, sugar and protein into energy. Important for hair, nails and eyes. Milk, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes and wheat germ. Burning eyes, sensitivity to bright light, sore tongue, split nails, cracked lips.
Vitamin B3 Helps balance blood sugar and lowers cholesterol levels. Tuna, chicken, lamb, turkey, mushrooms and cauliflower. Lack of energy, insomnia, headaches, bleeding gums.
Vitamin B5 Essential for brain and nerve function. Helps to produce anti-stress hormones. Peas, lentils, celery, strawberries, eggs, avocados and squash. Muscle cramps, burning feet or tender heels, exhaustion after light exercise.
Vitamin B6 Natural anti-depressant. Helps to control allergic reactions. Bananas, red kidney beans, onions, nuts, peppers and cabbage. Lack of energy, muscle cramps, depression, water retention.
Vitamin B12 Helps the blood to carry oxygen. Breaks down toxins like tobacco smoke and alcohol. Oysters, sardines, tuna, eggs, cottage cheese, milk and chicken. Anxiety or tension, constipation, tender or sore muscles.
Vitamin C Helps the immune system to fight infection. Keeps joints, bones and skin firm and strong. Turns food in energy. Strawberries, lemons, kiwi fruit, oranges, grapefruit, limes and tomatoes. Frequent colds and infections, easy bruising, nose bleeds, slow wound healing..
Vitamin D Helps maintain strong and healthy bones by retaining calcium. Herrings, salmon, oysters, eggs and cottage cheese. Aching, stiff joints, tooth decay, hair loss, muscle cramps.
Vitamin E Protects cells from damage. Helps the body to use oxygen and improves wound healing and fertility. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, beans, peas, sardines and sweet potatoes. Varicose veins, infertility, loss of muscle tone, easy bruising.
Vitamin K Controls blood clotting. Lettuce, cabbage, asparagus, potatoes and tomatoes. Easy bleeding.
Calcium Promotes a healthy heart and is essential in forming strong bones and teeth. Cheddar cheese, brewer’s yeast, parsley, prunes and almonds. Aching joints, arthritis, tooth decay, high blood pressure..
Iron  Transports oxygen to and from the cells. Vital for energy production.. Cashew nuts, raisins, pork, dates, sesame seeds, cooked dried beans. Fatigue, loss of appetite, sensitivity to cold.

 

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