What Are Vitamins ?

A substance can be classified as vitamin as it satisfies 2 criteria.

VitamIt must be a vital, organic dietary substance, which is neither a carbohydrate, fat, protein or mineral and is necessary in only very small amount to perform a specific metabolic function.

It cannot be manufactured by the body and therefore must be supplied by the diet.

Vitamin's Functions

  • Vitamins participate in many metabolic reactions in the body which take place as food is being utilized. The fat soluble vitamins act as a regulator of specific metabolic activity and the water soluble vitamins function as coenzymes. Coenzymes combine with a protein to form enzymes which promote, release and utilization of energy. The energy comes from mainly carbohydrate, fat, and protein respectively but not from the vitamins.
  • The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) provides scientific and accurate information on Vitamins are easily lost from the food sources. Some vitamin loss occurs when the food is harvested. Modern method of harvesting, storage, transportation, processing and preparation minimizes these losses. Vitamin loss occurs by oxidation, by light, by heat, by exposure to acids and alkali and by leaching onto water.

Food Preparation Methods To Prevent Vitamin Loss Are : -

  • Peel vegetables and fruits thinly or cook some vegetables with the skin if palatable like small potatoes, bitter gourd etc.
  • Cut vegetables into large pieces.
  • Use minimum amount of water for cooking.
  • Cook the vegetables with the lid on.
  • Cook until just tender but not mush.