What are vitamins and what do they do?

Vitamins are basically organic compounds that are required as vital nutrients by an organism in limited amounts. When an organic chemical compound cannot be synthesized by an organism in sufficient amounts, and thus has to be consumed through its diet then that compound it is classified as a vitamin. The term is therefore conditional on both – the circumstances as well as the specific organism. To illustrate this point let us take Vitamin C for instance. It is also known as ascorbic acid and is vital for humans, but it is not vital for most other creatures.

Vitamin as a term does not refer to other essential nutrients like essential fatty acids, dietary minerals or essential amino acids (these are required in larger quantities than vitamins). Neither do vitamins comprise of the several varieties of other nutrients that certainly promote good health but are only required in lesser quantities. Presently the medical community recognizes thirteen vitamins.

To better explain what vitamins do for us, the names and chief functions of nine main vitamins are listed below:

 

Vitamin A

Promotes good eyesight, appetite, growth and taste. A person note getting enough Vitamin A in their diet is likely to suffer from night blindness.

 

Vitamin B1

Keeps nervous system, muscles, digestion, and heart running in fine condition. Deficiency of this vitamin can be indicated by difficulty in maintaining balance, loss of appetite, quick exhaustion and weak concentration among other symptoms.

 

Vitamin B2

Helps overall growth, and in maintaining healthy hair, eyesight, skin and nails. It also keeps lips and tongue appropriately sensitive and helps in the regular breakdown of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

 

Vitamin B6

This vitamin helps the body absorb sufficient carbohydrates and proteins besides preventing skin conditions and problems in the nerves.

 

Vitamin B12

This one is important for generating red blood cells and forming nerves. Fatigue and tiredness besides anaemia and memory problems will indicate the deficiency of this vitamin.

 

Vitamin C

Among its many function it helps keep up the immune defence system, and protects us from bacteria. It also assists in lowering cholesterol, increasing cell lifespan, preventing scurvy and healing wounds.

 

Vitamin D

Helps with growing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. Often children in impoverished states who do not get enough Vitamin D early on begin suffering from rickets and osteomalacia (weakening of the bones).

 

Vitamin E

This vitamin helps fight toxins. It is commonly known to be a powerful antioxidant. Without this vitamin a person is likely to develop weakness in their muscles and fertility complications.

 

Folic acid

This should be consumed for the regular and sufficient production of red blood cells. It happens to be especially essential in the first 3 months of pregnancy in order to prevent any birth defects in the baby such as clefta palate, spina bifida, etc.

 

We hope this article has been information on the topic of ‘what do vitamins do?’ If you have further interest in the topic, there are innumerable books and sources online to quench your curiosity on the subject.

Give Tulsi Tea a Try!

Have you heard about these insane health benefits of tulsi tea? Here’s a quick recap on just what you need to know (summarized from Tea Mind Body). First off, tulsi tea is an herbal tea that has been used for centuries; today it is most often used in alternative medicine and is becoming more mainstream. You may have heard of ‘holy basil’ which is actually the same thing as tulsi. Many people take holy basil, or tulsi, extract pills for stress. I like it for relaxing; the blend from tea mind body is even called ‘After Work Tea’.

Just a few health benefits:

Tulsi tea is good for your breathing, because it helps bronchitis and asthma.  Tulsi promotes blood flow, which is often referred to as reducing chance of heart problems. This also has to do with the reason that holy basil tea often helps with fevers too! Okay, that is enough for this post! Go check out some more of the many health benefits! By the way, if you haven’t tried tulsi to help you relax, then you are missing out!

-Healthy Girl Now

How to make homemade chocolate

How to make homemade chocolate

Making chocolate in your own home doesn’t seem like a project that many of us are too comfortable trying out. Buying a chocolate bar down at the store is one thing but making your own handcrafted chocolates, and real homemade chocolate from scratch can allow you to do a lot of extra things in the kitchen as well as make giftgiving a lot easier. Here are some steps on how to make homemade chocolate with the use of cocoa powder.

In this recipe we end up using cocoa powder because real cocoa beans are very expensive in most parts of the world. Processing these cocoa beans can also be pretty difficult so cocoa powder is a lot easier to work with and also a lot less expensive for most people to buy at the local supermarket.

To start making homemade chocolate you will need water(1 cup), flour(1/4 cup), cocoa powder(2 cups), butter(3/4 cup), milk(2/3 cup) and sugar (1/2 cup).

The first step is to make cocoa powder is flying as you possibly can and take all of the butter and place it into a bowl with the cocoa powder. If you are able to chop the butter into small pieces it makes it much easier to blend together the cocoa powder and the butter as one. The easiest way is to use a blender or a food processor to turn the butter in the cocoa powder into a really fine paste. Make sure that you can keep the bowl somewhat covered as cocoa powder is likely to fly around a bit during the mixing process.

From here placed the 1 cup of water into a small pot and heated until it is at a standing hot temperature but not boiling. Add 1 cup of milk to the water and the flower as well as the sugar and if possible stir all of the ingredients together using a food processor or blender while it is still fairly hot.

From here you can place the chocolate into various molds such as ice cube trays, pans or maybe even cookie cutters if you’re interested in making shapes. From here the chocolate needs to be placed in a fridge for at least six hours so that it can cool and be removed from the molds using a knife.

At this point you will have your own homemade chocolate that you can give as gifts or eat for a snack.

Six healthy foods you should eat today

If you are looking for some great snack foods or meals that you can eat which are still very healthy for you, it can always be difficult to find just the right foods. They might be hard to find, but once you find them, they can become main staples in your diet. In this article we will explore six healthy foods that you can eat today that will provide you with ongoing nutrients to benefit your body as well as low calorie servings which will help you prevent gaining weight.

1. Green Tea: green tea is known as one of the best health foods on the market. Although it has been around for thousands of years, green tea is just becoming recognized as a great source of antioxidants and has less caffeine than coffee, so you shouldn’t experience the shaking or crashing often associated with higher caffeinated drinks. Just be sure to keep it to 3-5 cups a day, as those with low caffeine tolerances could become jittery.

2. Popcorn: popcorn is a surprisingly healthy snack food. With little butter or salt you can enjoy about 3.5 cups of popcorn and only be ingesting around 100 calories. Popcorn is a whole grain as well so it can provide you with daily fiber. Consider adding spices to your popcorn if you would like to give it some extra flavor. Some spices like paprika or chili powder are low in calories and can give your popcorn a little bit more flavor without sacrificing your health. Here are a couple of popcorn recipes from Martha Stewart.

3. Zucchini: zucchini is only about 19 calories per cup. You can add things like lemon pepper seasoning, chili powder and others to flavor up the zucchini and provide yourself with a great cooked snack or side dish. Zucchini is filled with many great nutrients and is very low in calories meaning that it fills you up without you having to worry about it being converted into love handles.

4. Artichokes: artichokes are an easy way for you to enjoy many antioxidants and are also a low calorie snack. Artichokes are really easy to chop up and can be enjoyed as a salad or as a quick bite to eat. If you use canned artichokes, it’s very important that you drain and rinse them before eating as they are usually stored in salty water.

5. Kale: kale is perhaps one of the most important leafy green veggies because it’s so wide range of nutrients. If you end up craving chips or other unhealthy snack foods you can actually turn kale into chips by removing the stems and baking kale leaves in the oven. But be careful, you should cook your kale and not eat it raw, here is an article that explains more: why you should cook kale.

6: Pickled vegetables: pickled veggies are a great idea because they are full of healthy bacteria. Your gut is made up of billions of bacteria, both good and bad. Essentially the good bacteria replaces all of the bad bacteria when you start to consume fermented veggies regularly. If you can bring some pickled carrots, broccoli or snow peas with you to work this is a great way to avoid hitting the vending machines.