Vitamins and Minerals

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Before recipe posting any further I thought it may be useful to upload a nutritional chart so that you can clearly see why the ingredients used throughout all my cooking are not only for their srumpdiddilyumptiousness (sorry family word for tasty) but because they play such a large part in keeping our bodies and mind healthy. The following chart is based on the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand and provides a great overview of the nutritional benefits on some of the essential vitamins and minerals that will be highlighted throughout this blog. Remember specific advice for individual needs should be sought from a qualified dietitian.

“The term nutrient identifies those substances in food that provide essential nourishment to maintain life”  http://www.health.gov.au/internet/healthyactive/publishing.nsf/Content/vitamins-minerals 

Nutrient (Vitamins)

Needed for

Vitamin A

  • maintaining normal reproduction
  • good  vision
  • formation  and maintenance of healthy skin, teeth and soft tissues of the body
  • immune  function (has anti-oxidant properties).
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
  • supplying  energy to tissues
  • breaking down and using the energy and nutrients in carbohydrates, proteins and fats
  • nerve function
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • obtaining energy from food
  • making Vit B6 active in the body
  • reducing a key cardiovascular risk factor
  • production of red blood cells and body growth
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • obtaining  energy from food
  • breaking down and using carbohydrates, proteins and fats and their building blocks
  • maintaining healthy skin and nerves
  • releasing  calcium from cellular stores
Pantothenic acid
  • making, hormones, vitamin A and D and substances that help make nerves work
  • helps make new fats and proteins in the body
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • breaking  down,using and reforming the building blocks of proteins
Vitamin B12 (Cyano-cobalamin)
  • normal nerve function
  • normal blood function
Folate
  • breaking down and using the building blocks of proteins
  • the processes of tissue growth and cell function
  • maintaining good heart health
  • preventing neural tube defects in newborns
Biotin
  • breaking down and using the building blocks of fats and proteins
Choline
  • making nerve cell transmitters and cell membranes
  • inflammatory and allergic response
  • healthy kidneys and liver
  • reducing the risk of heart disease
  • fat and cholesterol transport and break down in the body
Vitamin   C (Ascorbic acid)
  • protects against oxidative damage
  • aiding absorption of iron and copper
  • formation of collagen
  • healthy bones
  • helps fight infection
  • helps regenerate and stabilise other vitamins such as vitamin E or folate
Vitamin   D
  • absorption of calcium and phosphorus
  • maintenance of calcium levels in blood
  • immune function
  • healthy skin
  • muscle strength
Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
  • acts as antioxidant particularly for fats
  • keeping heart, circulation, skin and nervous system in good condition
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
  • normal blood clotting
Calcium
  • development and maintenance of bones and teeth
  • good functioning muscles and nerves
  • heart function
Chromium
  • enhancing the action of insulin to regulate blood sugar
Copper
  • the functioning of several enzymes
  • formation of connective tissue
  • iron metabolism and blood cell formation
  • nervous system, immune system and cardiovascular system function
Fluoride
  • healthy teeth and bones
Iodine
  • normal thyroid function (important in the growth and development of central nervous system)
  • energy production
  • oxygen consumption in cells
Iron
  • Haemoglobin in red blood cells (important for transport of oxygen to tissues)
  • component of myoglobin (muscle protein)
Magnesium
  • the functioning of more than 300 enzyme systems
  • energy production
  • regulating potassium levels
  • the use of calcium
  • healthy bones
Manganese
  • healthy bones
  • carbohydrate, cholesterol and protein metabolism
Molybdenum
  • breakdown of proteins
Phosphorus
  • forms part of DNA and RNA
  • buffers the acidity of urine
  • protection of acid/base balance of blood
  • storage and transport of energy
  • helps activate some proteins
Potassium
  • nerve impulses
  • muscle contraction
  • regulates blood pressure
Selenium
  • antioxidant
  • thyroid metabolism
  • part of several functional proteins in body
Sodium
  • maintain water balance throughout the body
  • nerve impulses
  • transport of molecules across cell walls
Zinc
  • component of enzymes that help maintain structure of proteins and regulate gene expression
  • needed for growth, immunity appetite and skin integrity
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The Raw Chocolate Brownie

ImageHaving some difficulty deciding on what my first blog post should be I couldn’t go past the ridiculously delicious and ever so simple raw chocolate brownie.

This recipe was adopted from one of my all time favourite blogs and served as a dessert for a dinner party. They were a hit and even enjoyed by my male friends who we all know tend to shrug and grunt whenever the word “raw” or “healthy” is put in front of a menu item.

These brownies are enriched with goodness raw cacao is well documented for its nutritional benefits being very high in antioxidant flavonoids, sulphur and magnesium and its benefits range from reducing cataracts to improving heart function.  Dates (my favourite natural sugar) contain oil, calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium and can assist when having intestinal issues and a great healthy alternative for when the 3pm sugar craving hits.  Walnuts are packed with omega 3 fatty acids and are rich in fibre, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E and a rich source of protein. Almonds, also a star nut is a great source of Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fibre and are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat. They contain more calcium than any other nut, which make them great for vegans and anyone with an intolerance to dairy products.

So what are you waiting for get cooking good looking!

Ingredients:


  • 2 cups whole walnuts
  • 2 ½ cups Medjool dates, pitted (store bought dates work as well but soak for 4 hours prior to use)
  • 1 cup raw cacao
  • 1 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt

Directions:


  • Place walnuts in food processor and blend on high until the nuts are finely ground.
  • Add the cacao and salt. Pulse to combine.
  • Add the dates one at a time through the feed tube of the food processor while it is running. What you should end up with is a mix that appears rather like cake crumbs, but that when pressed, will easily stick together (if the mixture does not hold together well, add more dates).
  • In a large bowl combine the walnut-cacao mix with the chopped almonds.
  • Press into a lined cake pan or mold. Place in freezer or fridge until ready to serve
  • Serve with dusting of dark chocolate powder and a sprinkle of sea salt.

http://mynewroots.org/site/2011/04/the-raw-brownie-2/.