Saturday, May 21, 2005

Nutrition Basics - Vitamins I

Vitamin C

Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are easily transported throughout the body in the bloodstream. Toxic levels of these vitamins in the body are possible but unlikely because when consumed in large amounts, the excess is released from the body along with waste water. A small amount of the water-soluble vitamins can be stored briefly in lean tissue, such as muscles and organs, but the body's supplies must be replenished daily.

The B-complex vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, B6 and B12) and vitamin C are water-soluble. B-complex vitamins are found in grains, legumes, vegetables, and meats. They are critical for the proper release of energy in the body. B-complex vitamin deficiencies may result in beriberi, anemia, or pellagra. Because B12 is found only in animal foods, strict vegetarians need to supplement their diets by taking vitamin B12 supplements or eating foods fortified with this vitamin.

Vitamin C, found in fruits and vegetables, increases the body's absorption of iron and is imperative to the growth and maintenance of body tissues because it promotes the production of collagen, the protein substance that helps hold tissue together. It also boosts the immune system and possibly reduces serum cholesterol levels. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties, which means that it protects cells from damage by oxygen and may protect against heart disease and cancer.
The Professional Chef, 7th Edition
by The Culinary Institute of America

No comments: