Nutrition and Health

This is intended for  seminary aged girls , kallah maidels, kallahs and of course newly weds (and even may be helpful for older married women as well!).
There are many factors that go into a successful marriage. But  there are certain things that somehow are not emphasized enough in schools or seminaries and many girls/women are lacking in understanding.
So here I would like to spend some time on nutrition and health, as well as on finances and household management. 
If a wife/mother is not eating well or taking care of her health properly, obviously that will affect her level of energy, ability to run her family properly, it will affect her patience, her shalom bayit and even can affect her pregnancies/ successful nursing and many other factors.
Our educational system in general does not emphasize studying about nutrition in high schools or even in seminaries.  

Many girls grow up with the idea that skinny is good and they diet constantly to lose a few more pounds.
Well, the first thing to be emphasized is that everyone has a different constitution. If by nature you are not so skinny, there is no point to try to become a size 4. It simply wont work, or if it does work, it will mean compromising health, energy etc.
Don’t worry, your bashert will appreciate you for who you are. Of course one has to watch one’s weight and not just allow oneself to become heavy. But watching one’s weight and trying to become super skinny are two different matters.

Also, many women mistakenly diet by skipping breakfast. That is the worst thing one can do. It has been proven that when people eat less, the body goes into a saving energy mode and actually the metabolism slows down so a person preserves more energy and pounds. So in fact what one may assume is helping to lose weight, could be hindering the very idea.
People need to eat breakfast. Why in fact is it called breakfast? Because after sleeping so many hours where the body is in essence “fasting”, one needs to eat something to have energy. If you skip breakfast, you are depriving your body of perhaps the most important meal of the day!
So one should eat a good breakfast complete with protein, carboyhydrates and enough water.  We will go into nutrition soon, as well as healthy recipes.

Let us say that a woman or a teenage girl really needs to lose some weight. Instead of frantically dieting, there is another option: that is supplements that you can take that allow you to eat normally and still lose weight responsibly.  A person may not have time to go to gym to exercise, and dieting often leads to malnutrition, so it becomes a very complicated situation. One could benefit then from supplements that allow someone to eat normally yet still lose weight at the end of the month: at least one’s health would not be compromised.

Breakfast is a very important meal and nobody should skip breakfast. Children need breakfast as well because otherwise it becomes difficult for them to concentrate properly in school or to function well. A child who is malnourished may be lethargic, have difficulty paying attention, and may also become hyper active.  But a sugary breakfast of very sweet cereal with a little milk is not really an adequate breakfast for a child.

There are many women who diet or who simply do not have energy or time to prepare proper meals. They then wonder why they are feeling so exhausted, can barely function and are totally worn out (which, by the way, is not very good for shalom bayit. A man may work hard all day and when he gets home, he wants to come home to a happy wife, an organized household and if instead his wife is in a bad mood, exhausted, has no energy to even sit and talk to him, this does not do much to bring closeness in a marriage).

So if a woman finds herself feeling very tired, she has to examine her diet. (of course if a woman is up all night nursing a little baby, that would contribute very much to tiredness. Not sleeping enough is already tiring enough. But if you eat well, even if you did not sleep enough, you will function better).

Iron is one mineral that many women are lacking. Many people think it is not healthy to eat meat (or maybe it is expensive). But it really is important for women who are pregnant and/or nursing to include some meat in their diets. Even for an average woman some meat is good as women’s stores of iron get depleted easily. You don’t need huge amounts of meat but a little lean meat is of great benefit and boosts energy levels a lot.

One has to examine if in general enough protein is being consumed. Chicken, fish, lean meat, eggs etc. (of course beans and nuts have protein as well but those are not complete proteins and are not going to give as much energy overall as the complete proteins. However a combination of beans with some complete protein is always good).  There are many women who do not eat protein at breakfast, some do not eat a proper lunch (or any lunch) and they wonder why by the afternoon they are totally wiped out.

And then we come to carbohydrates. There are people who cannot handle certain carbs such as wheat. If that is the case, then obviously those carbs should be avoided. But in general one needs good quality carbs, more whole grains are recommended. Rice is good (brown rice and even white rice but the best white rice is basmati, lowest glycemic index meaning it wont spike blood sugar much).

A healthy bread is very beneficial. There are many types out there: spelt bread, sprouted breads, whole grain breads etc. You have to find which breads you feel good with. In general the white breads are empty calories and not a very good choice.  
Besides, many people these days are gluten intolerant. A lot of the reason is because the flours are not of good quality. Wheat is no longer actually wheat that we know from the old days.  Too many pesticides are also being used in production of wheat as well as chemicals such as roundup. it is important to use only organic flours and preferably flours such as spelt instead of wheat as much as possible.
Actually the best bread is sourdough: long fermentation which breaks down the gluten and makes the bread more digestible and not damaging to the digestive system. But if one is truly gluten intolerant it is wise to avoid any gluten grains. Oats are generally fine but should be organic and for those who are celiac, only gluten free (specially grown not to be contaminated).
One should try to eat a balance of healthy grains such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat, spelt etc. 
Whole grains provide a lot of B vitamins, which are essential for health including mental health. Meat also contains B vitamins but not all types. You need a variety of healthy grains, some vegetables and fruits and meat (as well as chicken) to get an adequate amount of B vitamins in the diet. There are several types of B vitamins, and all are important.

And of course a good amount of vegetables (steamed or cooked are preferable to too many raw salads but raw vegetables are also necessary) are important in everyone’s daily food.   Orange/yellow vegetables are important for vitamin A which is necessary for the skin, eyesight etc. and for the immune system. So good vegetables are butternut squash, carrots, red and orange peppers etc. Again, it depends on each person: some people cannot tolerate certain vegetables but some vegetables are an important component of a healthy diet.

Green vegetables are very important: steamed greens, raw greens, leek, etc. Green vegetables clean the liver and calm a person. (of course they have to be well checked for bugs!)

Soups are great in the cold weather. They should be seasoned with various herbs and a nice amount of sea salt.
Sea salt is the best quality and preferably iodized because many people are iodine deficient and end up with thyroid issues. Also kelp and seaweeds are good sources of natural iodine. Egg yolks are as well.

Fruits are good in moderation (in hot weather they are preferable than in cold weather, but in cold weather they are good in moderation and better cooked or baked). The Rambam says a lot of fruits are not healthy . Moderation is the key. And of course preferably organic. Certainly peel fruits so as to avoid pesticide residues. The best fruits are grapes/raisins and almonds (if you are not allergic to nuts). but the key is moderation. 

Fruit juices are too concentrated and should not be used too much, especially for little children. If you do use some fruit juices it is good to mix them with water to dilute the juice.  If a child drinks too many sweet juices or eats too much sugar, and does not take in enough protein, that child will often start to cry and scream or throw tantrums from being imbalanced within the body. Many children throw tantrums or simply cry out of nervousness due to incorrect diets. Usually they lack protein or perhaps enough good quality food. usually it is the result of too much sugar. Even adults often cannot handle the sugar content (fructose content) of fruit juices. It is far healthier to eat fruits in their whole form, not juiced. The fiber in the fruit prevents too much glucose from being absorbed. And it is hard to overeat whole fruits. 

Dried fruits also provide energy (iron etc.) But again, in moderation. 

Regular sugar is of course a quick energy source but not  healthy: too much sugar causes many problems including a predisposition in some people to diabetes, sometimes a drop in blood sugar which causes exhaustion, sleepiness etc., and sugar is not very good for healthy glowing complexions.  A little sugar is okay but overdoing it is a problem and in our society most baked goods have way too much sugar in them. Best is organic sugar. But many people like to avoid processed sugar and prefer using maple syrup or honey (good quality organic honey so it is not mixed with corn syrup). And even there it is best to use very little sweetening.  One should accustom oneself to not eat very sweet foods in abundance. Sweet foods are better for little children and elderly people. But again, in moderation. And things like agave nectar that people thought were healthy are no longer considered a health item. 

Oils are essential for health: for proper functioning of hormone levels, for healthy skin, energy etc. But again, it depends upon the quality of oils. For example, in so many store bought products there are hydrogenated oils or margarine (even non trans fat). These oils are not natural and not good quality and in fact hydrogenated fats have been found to be dangerous to the heart health.  Too much of the wrong fats can clog the arteries and turn into unhealthy free radicals in the body which actually can damage cells.  So one should concentrate on having healthy fats.   Canola oil is not a very healthy oil, and corn or soya oil are definitely not healthy. Coconut oil is good for those who tolerate coconut products,  but should be extra virgin.  Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best fats.  Avocado and nut oils are also good. Butter is preferable to margarine.  But margarine is an artificial food which is chemically altered and hence is not very healthy.  All hydrogenated oils and transfat should be avoided. Frying, particularly deep frying, should be avoided as much as possible since the oils turn to free radicals in the body and may cause itching etc.  But, obviously everyone fries sometimes. If you do choose to fry, the best oil for frying is light olive oil or possibly coconut oil. It somehow does not cause the same itching in the body in general. . Oils should be used sparingly. I always cut down the amount of oil and sugar in recipes. It is incredible how people in America are so used to foods being so sweet or so oily! Too much of certain foods goes beyond the body’s threshold and can then cause acne problems and other problems. So moderation is the key.  A little bit of anything unhealthy is not terrible: it is a question of not overdoing anything.

Dairy products are controversial: many people are allergic, partly because the quality of dairy products today is not what it used to be. However, if you can get good quality dairy, it is important for calcium. Those who are not allergic or do not have too much mucous from dairy, should eat some dairy each day for calcium. This is especially important for pregnant and nursing women,  and for children. And along with calcium you need good sources of magnesium and also vitamin D to help absorb the calcium.
however, many people do not tolerate dairy and therefore calcium can be obtained through bones of animals, bones of fish, green vegetables and even vegan fortified milks. 

Now what about weather? Many people do not know that you have to eat for the weather. If the weather is cold, one should eat hot foods, hot soups, more chicken and meat and very little raw salads and fruits. Dairy should be avoided except for a bit of hard cheese perhaps for calcium. But overdoing dairy in the cold weather is not advisable. This is especially true of very cold dairy such as ice cream.
If the weather is very hot, one should consume cooler foods, more salads and cooked vegetables, and lighter proteins such as fish and chicken. Some dairy is beneficial in the hot weather, but again in moderation.
Spring weather is more balanced and hence one’s diet can be more balanced.

Sunshine provides a very important vitamin called vitamin D. Just ten minutes a day of sunshine allows the body to produce its own vitamin D. But in cold climates like the winter of Canada, there is not enough sunshine. One has to use supplements. Many dairy products have vitamin D added to them as vitamin D also helps the body absorb more calcium.

Vitamin K is produced by the body but it helps to eat some green vegetables as well.

There are numerous vitamins and minerals that we need , some are simply trace elements and the body requires very little of them. Some are more important and we need more of them.

Vitamin C is an important vitamin that helps to boost the immune system and fight off colds etc.

This can be found in vegetables and fruits. But the more something is cooked, the more it affects the vitamin C. So for vitamin C some fresh fruits and vegetables are recommended. Citrus fruits have a lot of vitamin C. Some people cannot take citrus fruits but even if you cannot eat oranges, perhaps you can have lemon. Lemon is a good source of vitamin C and can be squeezed onto vegetables etc.

B vitamins have been proven to be effective in mental health: fighting depression, hallucinations etc. So adequate B vitamins are very important. B vitamins also affect many other functions in the body including hormone levels, skin, etc. B vitamins are found in meat, whole grains, some types in chicken and fish, and some in various vegetables and even nuts. A rounded diet helps a lot.

Following is a description of the main vitamins and minerals we need daily including recommended their daily dosages and foods that contain them:

Vitamin A - Retinol, Carotene
Vitamin A works together with vitamins D, B, E, zinc, phosphorus and calcium. It also acts as an antioxidant, which may help protect against cancer and other diseases.
Solubility: Fat
Functionality:
Healthy formation of bones, teeth, skin; maintenance of outer layer of many tissues and organs; promotes growth and vitality; essential in pregnancy and lactation; necessary for night vision; good for growth and repair of body tissues; good for health of hair and eyes

Rich Sources:
Eggs, Dark Green & Yellow Fruits and Vegetables, Dairy Products, Liver

Deficiency Disease:
Night-blindness and Keratomalacia, Keratinisation of the nasal and respiratory passage epithelium

Overdose Disease: Hypervitaminosis A

Deficiency Symptoms: Defective Teeth and Gums, Allergies, Dry Hair, Retarded Growth, Susceptibility to Infections, Night Blindness, Eye Irritations, Sinus Trouble, Dry Skin, Loss of Smell.

Deficiency Occurs in: People who limit their consumption of liver, dairy foods, and beta-carotene-containing vegetables can develop a vitamin A deficiency.

Lack of vitamin A can result in extremely low birth weight babies

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Men : up to 25,000 IU (7,500 mcg)
Men over age 65 : 15,000 IU per day
Women : less than 10,000 IU (3,000 mcg) per day

Vitamin B-1 - Thiamine
Assists in production of blood formation, carbohydrate metabolism, and affects energy levels in the body.
Solubility: Water

Functionality:
Carbohydrate metabolism appetite regulation, important in nervous system and growth

Rich Sources:
Baked Potato, Beef kidney/liver, Brewer's yeast, Flour; rye and whole grain, Garbanzo beans (chickpeas),  Kidney beans, Dried Navy beans, Dried Orange juice, Oranges,  Peanuts, Peas, Raisins, Rice, brown and raw, Wheat germ, Whole-grain products.

Deficiency Disease: Beriberi

Overdose Disease: N/A

Deficiency Symptoms:
Symptoms include fatigue, depression, decreased mental functioning, muscle cramps, nausea, heart enlargement, and eventually beriberi. Alcoholics are at increased risk of a deficiency.

Deficiency Occurs:
Most commonly in alcoholics
People with Malabsorption conditions
Those eating a very poor diet
Also common in children with congenital heart disease
People with chronic fatigue syndrome
Individuals undergoing regular kidney dialysis

Recommended Daily Intakes
Men : 1.2 mg
Women: 1.1 mg
Pregnancy: 1.4 mg
Lactation: 1.5 mg

Vitamin B-2 - Riboflavin
Vitamin B2 is a vitamin that helps the body process amino acids and fats; activate vitamin B6 and folic acid, and helps convert carbohydrates to adenosine tri-phosphate.
Solubility: Water

Functionality:
Aids in formation of red blood cells and antibodies, Essential for carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism, Promotes general health, Necessary for the maintenance of good skin, nails, hair and good vision, Maintains cells respiration

Rich Sources:
Dairy Products, Green Leafy Vegetables, Whole & Enriched Grains, Beef, Lamb, Eggs

Deficiency Disease:
Ariboflavinosis, Painful tongue and fissures to the corners of the mouth, chapped lips

Overdose Disease: N/A

Deficiency Symptoms:
Symptoms include red, swollen, cracked mouth and tongue; fatigue; depression; anemia; and greasy, scaly skin. The formation of cataracts may be a result of this vitamin deficiency.

Deficiency Occurs in:
Alcoholics
People with cataracts or sickle cell anemia
People with chronic fatigue syndrome

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Men: 1.3 mg
Women: 1.1 mg
Pregnancy: 1.4 mg
Lactation: 1.6 mg

Vitamin B-3 - Niacin
Solubility: Water

Functionality:
Helps Metabolize Sugar, Fat and Protein, Reduces High Blood Pressure, Improves Circulation, Reduces Cholesterol Level, Increases Energy, Helps Maintain Healthy, Digestive System

Rich Sources:
Meat, Fish, Whole & Enriched Grains, Beans, Nuts & Peas

Deficiency Disease: Pellagra

Overdose Disease: N/A

Deficiency Symptoms:
Symptoms include Dermatitis on the Hands and Face, Weakness, Loss of Appetite, Sore Mouth, Diarrhea, Anxiety, Depression, and Dementia.

Deficiency Occurs in:
Alcoholics

People with cataracts or sickle cell anemia
People with chronic fatigue syndrome

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Men: 16 mg
Women: 14 mg
Pregnancy: 18 mg
Lactation: 17 mg

Vitamin B-5 - Pantothenic Acid
Solubility: Water

Functionality:
Aids in the utilization of vitamins, Helps in cell building, Aids in, development of the central nervous system, Fights infections, Participates in release of energy from carbohydrates

Rich Sources:
Most plant & animal foods especially lean meats, whole grains, legumes

 Deficiency Disease: Paresthesia

Overdose Disease: N/A

Deficiency Symptoms:
Symptoms include Excessive Fatigue, Sleep Disturbances, Loss of Appetite, Nausea or Dermatitis. However, These Symptoms are Rare and if they occur, they may indicate other B -Vitamin Deficiencies.

Deficiency Occurs in:
People with alcoholism but are generally believed to be rare.

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Men: 5 mg
Women: 5 mg
Pregnancy: 5 mg
Lactation: 5 mg

Vitamin B-6 - Pyridoxine, pyridoxal phosphate
Solubility: Water

Functionality:
Building blocks of protein, Necessary for synthesis and breakdown of amino acids, Promotes healthy skin, Aids in production of antibodies, Reduces muscle spasms and leg cramps, Helps maintain a proper balance of phosphorous and sodium

Rich Sources:
Fish, poultry, lean meat, whole grains, and potatoes

Deficiency Disease: Anemia
Overdose Disease: Impairment of Proprioception

Deficiency Symptoms:
Symptoms include Weakness, Mental Confusion, Irritability, Nervousness, Inability to sleep, Hyperactivity, Anemia, Skin lesions, Tongue Discoloration, and Kidney Stones.

Deficiency Occurs in:
Alcoholics
Patients with kidney failure
Women using oral contraceptives
People with chronic fatigue syndrome

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Men: 1.3 mg
Men (Over 50): 1.7 mg
Women: 1.3 mg
Women (Over 50): 1.5 mg
Pregnancy: 1.9 mg
Lactation: 2.0 mg

Vitamin B-9 - ((Folic Acid) Folate, Pteroyiglutamic Acid) Folacin
Solubility: Water

Functionality:
This vitamin is very important to the growth and reproduction of all body cells, including red blood cells. It is very important during pregnancy.  In fact, when taken during pregnancy it often helps to combat anemia.

Rich Sources:
Green leafy vegetables, dried beans, poultry, Fortified cereals, oranges, nuts

 Deficiency Disease:
Deficiency during pregnancy is associated with birth defects, such as neural tube defects

Overdose Disease: N/A

Deficiency Symptoms:
Symptoms include anemia,mood disorders and gastrointestinal disorders. Neural tube defects may occur when a deficiency occurs during pregnancy.

Deficiency Occurs in:
Alcoholics
People with Malabsorption disorders or liver disease
Women taking the birth control pill
People with kidney failure have an increased risk of folic acid deficiency

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Men: 400 mg
Women: 400 mg
Pregnancy: 600 mg
Lactation: 500 mg

Vitamin B-12 - Cyanocobalamin
A vitamin that is needed to make red blood cells and DNA (the genetic material in cells) and to keep nerve cells healthy. It plays an important role in protein formation, aids in the development of normal blood cells, and helps maintain normal nerve tissue.

Solubility: Water

Functionality:
Prevents anemia by helping in formation and regeneration of red blood cells, Necessary for fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism, increases energy, promotes growth in children, maintains healthy nervous system. People lacking severely in vitamin B12 often have nervous breakdowns, depression and if the cause is an actual disease called pernicious anemia, it can lead to severe neurological problems if not caught in time.

Rich Sources:
Beef, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Dairy Products

Deficiency Disease:
Megaloblastic or Pernicious Anaemia

Overdose Disease: N/A

Deficiency Symptoms:
Symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, sore mouth, diarrhea, abnormal gait, loss of sensation in hands and feet, confusion, memory loss, and depression. Harmful anemia may be a result of this deficiency.

Deficiency Occurs in:
Alcoholics
Vegetarians who also avoid dairy and eggs
People with malabsorption conditions
Older people with urinary incontinence and hearing loss
People with tinnitus and related disorders
People with psychiatric disorders

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Men: 2.4 mcg
Women: 2.4 mcg
Pregnancy: 2.6 mcg
Lactation: 2.8 mcg

Vitamin C - Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin that protects cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen (for wound healing), hormones and neurotransmitters; it may have a role in fighting infection.

Solubility: Water

Functionality:
Helps heal wounds, scar tissue and fractures, essential for healthy bones, teeth and gums, builds resistance to infection, Prevents scurvy, Gives strength to blood vessels, Aids in absorption of iron, is essential for the synthesis of collagen

Rich Sources:
Citrus Fruits, Tomatoes, Melons, Berries, Green & Red Peppers, Broccoli

Deficiency Disease: Scurvy

Overdose Disease: Refer to Vitamin C megadosage

Deficiency Symptoms:
Prolonged healing of wounds, Easy bruising, Frequent infections, Prolonged colds, Scurvy: weak muscles, fatigue, loss of teeth, bleeding gums, depression, bleeding beneath the skin, Swollen or painful joints, Nosebleeds, Anemia: tired, paleness

Deficiency Occurs in:
Smokers
Women with Preeclampsia, who have lower blood levels
People with kidney failure

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Age over 55: Intake of specific vitamins may decrease as you age
Pregnancy: Do not take doses greater than RDA. Megadoses during pregnancy may result in deficiency symptoms after birth.

Vitamin D - Cholecalciferol, sunshine vitamin
Vitamin D is necessary for the reproduction of new skin cells. It is one of only three vitamins that are absorbed by the skin (the other two are vitamins A and E). It plays a key role in ensuring the absorption of calcium from the intestines.

Solubility: Fat

Functionality:
Required for bone and teeth formation, Improves absorption and utilization of Phosphorous and Calcium, Maintains stable nervous system.

Rich Sources:
Egg Yolk, Fatty Fish and fish oils, Milk; Also made in Skin when exposed to Sunlight

Deficiency Disease: Rickets and Osteomalacia

Overdose Disease: Hypervitaminosis D

Deficiency Symptoms:
Symptoms include bone pain and tenderness and Muscle Weakness. In children, Rickets may occur, in which bones lose calcium and become soft and curved. Without proper intake, there is an increased risk of Osteoporosis, Arthritis, and Cancer.

Deficiency Occurs in:
More common in strict vegetarians
Dark-skinned people
Alcoholics
People with liver or kidney disease
People with hyperparathyroidism
Also common in men with advanced prostate cancer

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Men: 200 IU
(over 50) 400 IU
(over 70) 600 IU
Women: 200 IU
(over 50) 400 IU
(over 70) 600 IU
Pregnancy: 200 IU
Lactation: 200 IU

Vitamin E - Alpha-tocopherol
Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin that prevents cell damage that may lead to cancer. By inhibiting the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, vitamin E may reduce the risk of heart disease. It belongs to the family of drugs called tocopherols.

Solubility: Fat

Functionality:
Retards cellular aging because of oxygen, alleviates fatigue by supplying oxygen, prevents and dissolves blood clots, helps in preventing sterility, aids in bringing nourishment to cells

Rich Sources:
Vegetable oil, wheat germ, nuts, dark green vegetables, whole grains, beans

Deficiency Disease: Deficiency is very rare; mild hemolytic anemia in newborn infants

Overdose Disease: N/A

Deficiency Symptoms:
Symptoms include in Infants irritability, Fluid Retention and Anemia. Adult symptoms may include Lethargy, Loss of balance and Anemia. There may be increased risk of Heart Disease, Cancer, and Premature Aging with marginal deficiencies.

Deficiency Occurs in:
People with a genetic defect in a vitamin E transfer protein called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)
Women with Preeclampsia
Very old people with type 2 diabetes

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Men: 10 mg alpha TE (15 IU)
Women: 8 mg alpha TE (12 IU)
Pregnancy: 10 mg alpha TE (15 IU)
Lactation: 12 mg alpha TE (18 IU)

Vitamin H - Biotin
Biotin is a B-complex vitamin which is important in the catalysis of essential metabolic reactions to synthesize fatty acids, in gluconeogenesis, and to metabolize leucine.

Solubility: Water

Functionality:
Promotes healthy, Aids in the utilization of folic acid, protein, Vitamin B12 and Panthothenic Acid

Rich Sources:
Egg Yolk, Meat, Dairy Products, Dark Green Vegetables; Also made by Microorganisms inside Intestinal Tract

Deficiency Disease:
Hair loss in both children and adults, Dry skin, Seborrheic dermatitis, Fungal infections

Overdose Disease: N/A
Deficiency Symptoms:

Symptoms are incredibly rare. However, if such a deficiency occurs, symptoms may include hair loss, dermatitis, anemia, and muscle pain, loss of appetite, lethargy, depression, hallucinations, and lowered immunity.

Deficiency Occurs in:
Alcoholics
People with inflammatory bowel disease
Someone eats large quantities of raw egg whites
Long-term antibiotic use
Long-term use of anti-seizure medications
People with diseases of the stomach

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Men: 30 mcg
Women: 30 mcg
Pregnancy: 30 mcg
Lactation: 35 mcg

Vitamin K - Phytonadione
Vitamin K is necessary for proper bone growth and blood coagulation. It accomplishes this by helping the body transport calcium.

Solubility: Fat

Functionality:
Vitamin K is known as the clotting vitamin, because without it blood would not clot. Some studies indicate that it helps in maintaining strong bones in the elderly. Vitamin K plays an important role in the intestines and aids in converting glucose into glycogen for storage in the liver, promoting healthy liver function.

Rich Sources:
Green Leafy Vegetables, Beef Liver and Cheese. It is also found in asparagus, coffee, and green tea. Vitamin K is also made by the bacteria that line the gastrointestinal tract.

Deficiency Disease:
Bleeding Diathesis, Delayed clotting & Hemorrhaging, Cholestatic Constipation, Patients may show signs of bruising easily and have nosebleeds.

Overdose Disease: Brain Damage and Impaired Liver Function

Deficiency Symptoms:
Symptoms include prolonged clotting time, easy bleeding, and bruising. This deficiency is rare in adults and normally limited to those with liver or food absorption disorders. However, it may occur in premature babies.

Deficiency Occurs in:
People with certain malabsorption diseases
Hospitalized patients who had poor food intake and were receiving antibiotics
Sometimes develop in breast-fed infants
Some people have a mild deficiency and may simply see they have bleeding gums or extra bruising.

Recommended Daily Intakes:
Men: 80 mcg
Women: 65 mcg
Pregnancy: 65 mcg
Lactation: 65 mcg

Vitamin P (Bioflavonoids, Phytochemicals)
A water-soluble vitamin, found as a crystalline substance especially in citrus juices that functions as a bioflavonoid in promoting capillary resistance to hemorrhaging.

Solubility : Water

Functionality :
It enhances the use of vitamin C by improving absorption and protecting it from oxidation. Promotes blood vessel health, including improving capillary strength, Prevents accumulation of atherosclerotic plaque, May prevent hemorrhoids, miscarriages, capillary fragility (including varicose veins), nosebleed, retinal bleeding in people with diabetes and hypertension

Rich Sources :
Great sources of this vitamin are found in the edible pulp of fruits, green pepper, broccoli, and red wine.

Deficiency Disease : If a diet contains enough fruit and vegetables, bioflavonoids should not be deficient, but deficiency would show up as bruising.

Overdose Disease : Over dosages of bioflavonoids may cause diarrhea.

Deficiency Symptoms : No reports exist of this deficiency. 

Deficiency Occurs in : Deficiencies have not been reported

Recommended Daily Intakes : There are no daily recommended allowances for this vitamin.

MINERALS

Calcium
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and has several important functions. Calcium is the top macro mineral when it comes to your bones. This mineral helps build strong bones, so you can do everything from standing up straight to scoring that winning goal. Calcium is a primary structural constituent of the skeleton, but it is also widely distributed in soft tissue where it is involved in neuromuscular, enzymatic, hormonal, and other metabolic activity.

Calcium absorption is dependent upon the calcium needs of the body, the foods eaten, and the amount of calcium in the foods eaten. Vitamin D from diet or exposure to the ultraviolet light of the sun increases calcium absorption. Calcium absorption tends to decrease with increased age for both men and women. More than 99% of total body calcium is stored in the bones and teeth where it functions to support their structure. The remaining 1% is found throughout the body in blood, muscle, and the fluid between cells. Because of its biological importance, calcium levels are carefully controlled in various compartments of the body. The three major regulators of blood calcium are parathyroid hormone (PTH), vitamin D, and calcitonin.

Functionality of calcium:

It helps in building of strong bones, healthy teeth, for chomping on tasty food. Because the body cannot manufacture calcium, you must eat calcium in your daily diet to replace the amounts that are constantly lost. Calcium is also used in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and maintenance of cell membranes. Long-term calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, in which the bone deteriorates and there is an increased risk of fractures. Calcium has also been found to assist in the production of lymphatic fluids. Just 1% of the total body pool of calcium is utilized to support nerve transmission, muscle contraction (including normal heart rhythm), blood clotting, and regulation of enzyme and hormone activities. Membrane calcium transport systems are involved in regulation of cellular osmolarity and peripheral vascular resistance. Additionally, this mineral assists in transport of nutrients and other substances across cell membranes and is required for binding of intrinsic factor to ilea receptors for absorption of vitamin B12.

Deficiency Diseases of calcium: Arthritis, High Blood Pressure, Osteoporosis

Overdose Disease of calcium: Constipation and lack of appetite

Deficiency Symptoms of calcium:

Because bone stores of calcium can be used to maintain adequate blood calcium levels, short-term dietary deficiency of calcium generally does not result in significantly low blood calcium levels. But, over the long term, dietary deficiency eventually depletes bone stores, rendering the bones weak and prone to fracture. The symptoms of calcium deficiency are:

Bowlegs, Pigeon Breast, and Knock-knees of children
Cramp pains in legs
Delay in sitting up, Crawling and Walking of babies
Heart becomes irregular
Nerves become extremely irritable
Poor sleep disorder
Weakness in the bones

Rich Sources of calcium:
Dairy Products, such as Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt
Canned Salmon and Sardines with Bones
Bones of animals (such as marrow bones)
Leafy Green Vegetables, such as Broccoli, Spinach
Calcium-Fortified foods - from Orange juice to Cereals and Crackers
Ice Cream, Kale, Ricotta  cheese

Individuals two years and older should eat 2-3 servings of dairy products per day. A serving is equal to:
1 cup (8 fl oz) of milk
8 oz of yogurt
1.5 oz of natural cheese
2.0 oz of processed cheese

Although dairy products are the main source of calcium in the diet, other foods also contribute to overall calcium intake. A person may have to eat several servings of certain foods such as spinach to obtain the same amount of calcium in one cup of milk, which is not only calcium-rich but also contains calcium in an easily absorbable form. So basically dairy is the most absorbable form of calcium in general. Nuts such as almonds also are rich in calcium but again, you have to eat a lot of them.

Calcium is Important for:
Formation of bones and teeth
Coagulation of blood
Contraction of muscles, Cardiac action, Milk production
Transformation of light to electrical impulses in the retina
Young mothers during pregnancy and the nursing period
Children and young people for rapid growth of bones

Best Suitable Composition:
Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Phosphorus, Soy-based foods and Fluoride compose the major nutrients that strengthen bone. A deficiency of any of these may produce a serious disturbance in the framework of the body.

Applications or Uses of Calcium:
How to retain calcium in healthy food?
Calcium is lost in cooking some foods even under the best conditions. To retain calcium:
Cook foods in a minimal amount of water.
Cook for the shortest possible time.

Some foods, such as orange juice, bread, and ready-to-eat cereals, are not normally good sources of calcium but may have had calcium added. Most instant-prepared cereals are fortified with calcium.

The serving sizes used on the list of good sources is only estimates of the amounts of food you might eat. The amount of nutrient in a serving depends on the weight of the serving. For example, a cup of a cooked vegetable contains more calcium than a cup of the same vegetable served raw, because a serving of the cooked vegetable weighs more. Therefore, the cooked vegetable may appear on the list while the raw form does not.

Use low fat or fat free milk instead of water in recipes such as pancakes, mashed potatoes, pudding and instant, hot breakfast cereals.

Blend a fruit smoothie made with low fat or fat free yogurt for a great breakfast.

Sprinkle grated low fat or fat free cheese on salad, soup or pasta.
Choose low fat or fat free milk instead of carbonated soft drinks.
Serve raw fruits and vegetables with a low fat or fat free yogurt based dip.
Create a vegetable stir-fry and toss in diced calcium-set tofu.
Enjoy a parfait with fruit and low fat or fat free yogurt.
Complement your diet with calcium-fortified foods such as certain cereals, orange juice and soy beverages.

Recommended Daily Intake:
The Recommended Daily Intakes (RDI) for calcium is shown in the table given below:

Calcium Requirements 
 Life Stage Calcium mg/day 
 Infants
0-6 months 210
7-12 months 270 
 Children
1-3 years 500
4-8 years 800 
 Males
9-13 years 1300
14-18 years 1300
19-30 years 1000
31-50 years 1000
51-70 years 1200
>70 years 1200 
 Females
9-13 years 1300
14-18 years 1300
19-30 years 1000
31-50 years 1000
51-70 years 1200
>70 years 1200 
 Pregnancy
< 18 years 1300
19-30 years 1000
31-50 years 1000 
 Lactation
< 18 years 1300
19-30 years 1000
31-50 years 1000
Calcium is one of the most important macronutrients for the body's growth and function. Sufficient amounts are important in preventing many diseases. Calcium levels are tightly controlled by a complex interaction of hormones and vitamins. Dietary requirements vary throughout life and are greatest during periods of growth and pregnancy. However, recent reports suggest that many people do not get sufficient amounts of calcium in their diet. Various calcium supplements are available when dietary intake is inadequate.

Who needs extra calcium to prevent a deficiency?
Menopausal Woman
Menopausal Woman often leads to increases in bone loss with the most rapid rates of bone loss occurring during the first five years after menopause. Drop in estrogen production after menopause result in increased bone resorption, and decreased calcium absorption.

Estrogen therapy works to restore postmenopausal bone remodeling levels back to those of pre-menopause, leading to a lower rate of bone loss. Estrogen appears to interact with supplemental calcium by increasing calcium absorption in the gut. However, including adequate amounts of calcium in the diet may help slow the rate of bone loss for all women.

Lactose Intolerant Individuals
Lactose mal-digestion (or "lactase non-persistence") describes the inability of an individual to completely digest lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk. Lactose intolerance refers to the symptoms that occur when the amount of lactose exceeds the ability of an individual's digestive tract to break down lactose.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea after consuming large amounts of lactose (such as the amount in 1 quart of milk). Lactose maldigesters may be at risk for calcium deficiency, not due to an inability to absorb calcium, but rather from the avoidance of dairy products. Symptoms of lactose intolerance vary from individual to individual depending on the amount of lactose consumed, history of previous consumption of foods with lactose and the type of meal with which the lactose is consumed. Drinking milk with a meal helps reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance substantially.

Vegetarians
There are several types of vegetarian eating practices. Individuals may choose to include some animal products or no animal products in their diet. Calcium absorption may be reduced in vegetarians because they eat more plant foods containing oxalic and phytic acids, compounds which interfere with calcium absorption. However, vegetarian diets that contain less protein may reduce calcium excretion. Yet, vegans may be at increased risk for inadequate intake of calcium because of their lack of consumption of dairy products. Therefore, it is important for vegans to include adequate amounts of non-dairy sources of calcium in their daily diet

Calcium Supplements
Calcium supplements are taken by individuals who are unable to get enough calcium in their regular diet or who have a need for more calcium. They are used to prevent or treat several conditions that may cause hypocalcemia (not enough calcium in the blood). The body needs calcium to make strong bones. Calcium is also needed for the heart, muscles, and nervous system to work properly.

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and adolescents may need more calcium than they normally get from eating calcium-rich foods. Adult women may take calcium supplements to help prevent a bone disease called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, which causes thin, porous, easily broken bones, may occur in women after menopause, but may sometimes occur in elderly men also. Other bone diseases in children and adults are also treated with calcium supplements.

Vitamin D helps prevent calcium loss from your bones. It is sometimes called "the sunshine vitamin" because it is made in your skin when you are exposed to sunlight. If you get outside in the sunlight every day for  about 15 minutes, you should get all the vitamin D you need. However, in northern locations in winter, the sunlight may be too weak to make vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D may also be obtained from your diet or from multivitamin preparations. Most milk is fortified with vitamin D.

Magnesium
The Magnesium is one of the families of major minerals although it is not as well known as some of the other minerals in the same group. Even though it is not as prominent, the magnesium mineral plays an essential role in about three hundred biochemical processes that take place inside the body.

Functionality:
It is essential to maintain both the acid-alkaline balance in the body and healthy functioning of nerves and muscles, including the heart muscle. 

Deficiency Diseases: Heart disease, Diabetes and Osteoporosis or even muscle cramps.

Overdose Disease: Kidney failure

Deficiency Symptoms:
Nausea
Vomiting
Loss of appetite
Fatigue and a feeling of weakness

Rich Sources:
Dark green vegetables such as Spinach, Kale, Broccoli and Avocado are excellent magnesium sources. Other magnesium sources include Whole grains, Legumes, Black beans, Brown rice, Lentils, Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts and Peanut butter, Bananas, Soybeans, Wheat bran and Bran flakes, Lean meats, Dry figs, Halibut, and Sardines.

Important for:
Lowers high blood pressure
Promotes healthy cardiovascular system to prevent heart disease and arrhythmia
Calcium deposits, kidney stones, and gallstones
Relief from indigestion
Inhibits blood clots and widens arteries
Diabetes Prevention
Relaxes muscles and reduces severity of asthma by widening the airways

Best Suitable Composition:
It is best taken with calcium, iron, B group vitamins as well as vitamin E. Magnesium is very important to help in the absorption of calcium so the two are often taken together in a supplement form.

Recommended Daily Intake:
Children: 80-240 mg
Men: 350 mg
Woman: 300 mg
Pregnancy: 350-400 mg
Breast-feeding: 310-360 mg

Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body and 85% of it is found in the bones. The rest of the body's phosphorus is found in the blood. It is found in the body usually at a ration of 1:2 to calcium. It is nonmetallic element that is found in the blood, muscles, nerves, bones, and teeth and is a component of adenosine tri-phosphate

Functionality:
Like calcium it is needed for the formation of bone tissue and plays other vital roles in the blood, nervous and enzyme systems. It helps form cell membranes and genetic material. Phosphorus also helps to maintain normal acid-base balance (pH) in its role as one of the body's most important buffers.

Deficiency Diseases: Rickets, Osteoporosis, Stiff joints and Pain in the bones. It can also cause anxiety, irritability, sensitive skin, stress, tiredness and weak teeth etc.

Overdose Disease: N/A,

Deficiency Symptoms:
Weak or fragile bones & teeth
Fatigue, weakness
Loss of appetite
Joint pain and stiffness
Less energy and a susceptibility to infections

Rich Sources:
Milk, Yogurt, Cottage cheese, American cheese,  beef burger, Tuna,, Chicken, Sunflower seeds, Peanuts, Pine nuts, Peanut butter, Bran flakes, Shredded wheat, Whole wheat bread, Noodles, Rice, White bread, Potatoes, Corn, Peas, French fries, Broccoli, Milk chocolate and Soda beverages (due to the phosphoric acid added as a preservative, however sodas are full of sugar and other ingredients that can deplete nutrients from the body).

Important for:
Growth, maintenance, and repair of cells, and the production of energy
Maintain the pH level (acidity-alkalinity) of the blood
Reduces pain of arthritis
Speedy recovery of burn victims
Cancer prevention
Building of strong bones and skeletal structure
Maintain heart regularity
Best Suitable Composition:
Phosphorus & Calcium compose the major nutrients that strengthen bone. The body would not be able to make these connective tissues and organs that are so vital without a steady supply of Phosphorus.

Recommended Daily Intake:
Men & Women: 1000 mg

Phosphorus is best taken as part of a multivitamin and mineral supplement.

Iron
Iron is part of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of the blood. Iron helps because it's important in the formation of hemoglobin, which is the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Although iron is part of the antioxidant enzyme catalase, iron is not generally considered an antioxidant, because too much iron can cause oxidative damage.

Functionality:
The body needs iron to transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Iron is necessary for production of hemoglobin, and oxygenation of red blood cells, builds up blood quality, and increases resistance as well as increasing energy production. Iron also forms part of several enzymes and proteins in the body.

Deficiency Diseases:
Anaemia Overdose Disease: Cancer, Liver & Heart damage, Diabetes & Skin Changes

Deficiency Symptoms:
Lethargy, poor concentration
Pale skin and shortness of breath
poor stamina
Intestinal bleeding
Excessive menstrual bleeding
Nervousness
Heart palpitations

Rich Sources:
Iron is found in Meat, Fish, Beans, Spinach, Molasses, Kelp, Brewer's yeast, Broccoli and Seeds.

Important for:
Formation of hemoglobin
Brain development
Regulation of body temperature
Binding oxygen to the blood cells

Best Suitable Composition:
Iron should be taken between meals with Vitamin C, while manganese, copper, molybdenum, vitamin A and the B group are also beneficial.

Recommended Daily Intake:
Men: 10 mg
Women: 18 mg

Zinc
Zinc is an essential trace element found in every cell of the human body. It also seems as if zinc helps to control the oil glands, and is also required for the synthesis of protein and collagen - which is great for wound healing and a healthy skin.

Functionality:
Zinc helps in immune system, which a body's system for fighting off illnesses and infections. It also helps with cell growth and helps heal wounds, such as cuts. It helps manufacture proteins and genetic material and carry out immune functions, such as protecting against infection and cancer.

Deficiency Diseases:
Allergies, Night blindness, Loss of smell, Falling hair, White spots under finger nails, Skin problems, Sleep disturbances etc.

Overdose Disease: Nausea, Diarrhea, Dizziness, Drowsiness and Hallucinations

Deficiency Symptoms:
Hair loss, diarrhea, fatigue
Delayed wound healing
Decreased Mental development in infants

Rich Sources:
Beef, Black beans, Blackstrap molasses, Chicken heart, Egg yolk, Fish, Lamb, Maple syrup, Milk, Nuts,  Sesame seeds, Soybeans, Sunflower seeds, Turkey, Wheat germ, Whole grain products, Yeast.

Important for:
Metabolism of the ovaries and testes, and in liver function
Metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and energy
Fighting skin problems such as acne, boils and sore throats
Tissue of hairs nails and skin
Growth and maintenance of muscles
Sexual development
Synthesis of protein

Best Suitable Composition:
Best suitable composition of zinc in nutrition would be adequate levels of copper, calcium, phosphorous, selenium, vitamin A, B6 and E.

Recommended Daily Intake:
Men: 15 mg
Women: 12 mg

Selenium
Selenium is an essential trace element that is important in proper immune system functioning and in free radical control. The body only needs a small amount. Nevertheless, the Selenium mineral is an essential mineral which the body requires on a daily basis.

Functionality:
Selenium enhances the immune system and protects against heart weakness and degeneration. It is crucial for optimal health and detoxification. Selenium is required for the production of thyroid hormones.

Deficiency Diseases:
Malabsorption, but that too is rare.

Overdose Disease: Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea

Deficiency Symptoms:
Cardiovascular disease
Nerve degeneration
Hypothyroidism
Arthritis
Anemia and a dry, scaly scalp

Rich Sources:
Red meat, Chicken, Turkey, Liver, Fish, dark Green leafy vegetables, Whole grains, Eggs, Onions, Brazil nuts, Walnuts, Brewer's yeast, Wheat germ, Pasta, Noodles, Rice, Cottage cheese, Cheddar cheese and Garlic are all good selenium sources.  Ocean water is also rich in selenium (and many other minerals) and is a good way to get a dosage of minerals. That is why you feel calm after swimming or bathing in the sea.

Important for:
Protection of eyes from cataracts
Heart from muscle damage
Antioxidant
Reducing cancer risk

Best Suitable Composition:
Selenium should always be taken with vitamins E, A and beta-carotene, and it is preferable when taking a supplement to take selenium in the form of selenocysteine or selenomethionine, which are both organic.

Recommended Daily Intake:
Men & Women: 70 mg

Manganese
The word manganese comes from the Latin word "magnes" which means magnet, because when manganese is alloyed with other metals like aluminum, copper and antimony, the end product is magnetic.

Functionality:
It helps neutralize free radicals as well as being of assistance in preventing diabetes and needed for normal nerve function. It is needed for healthy skin, bone, and cartilage formation, as well as glucose tolerance. It also helps activate superoxide dismutase (SOD)-an important antioxidant enzyme.

Deficiency Diseases: Problems with the disks between the vertebrae, Birth defects, and Problems with blood glucose levels and reduced fertility. Serious deficiency in children can result in Paralysis, Deafness and Blindness

Overdose Disease: Manganese Madness

Deficiency Symptoms:
Deficiencies are rare, as manganese is widely available in the food supply. However, Symptoms may include:
Seizures, Epilepsy, Poor muscle coordination,
Facial twitching, Bone deformities and General weakness
Deficiencies in children may lead to stunted growth and development.

Rich Sources:
Nuts, Green leafy vegetables, Peas, Beets, Egg yolks, Whole grain cereals, Organ meats, Bran, Fruits, and Black tea

Important for:
Blood clotting
Eliminating fatigue
Good digestion
Good muscle reflexes
Improves the memory
Improves weakness
Milk manufacturing for nursing mothers
Reduces nervous irritability

Best Suitable Composition:
It has best suitable composition when taken with vitamins B1, E, and calcium as well as phosphorous.

Recommended Daily Intake:
Men & Women: 2.5 - 5 mg

Copper
Copper is the third most abundant trace mineral in the body. It is found in a variety of enzymes , including the copper centers of cytochrome c oxidase, the Cu-Zn containing enzyme superoxide dismutase, and is the central metal in the oxygen carrying pigment hemocyanin.

Functionality:
It helps protect the cardiovascular, skeletal, and nervous systems. It promotes low cholesterol levels. Copper also helps supply the heart with healthy, oxygenated blood. It works together with iron in the respiration and synthesis of hemoglobin.

Deficiency Diseases:
Menke's syndrome, Wilsons Disease, kwashiorkor, Neutropenia

Overdose Disease: Diarrhea, Vomiting, Liver damage as well as Discoloration of the skin and hair

Deficiency Symptoms:
Changes in hair color & texture
Hair loss
Disturbances to the nervous system
Bone diseases

Rich Sources:
Good sources include Cocoa; Liver; Kidney; Peas; Raisins, nuts.

Important for:
Aids in formation of collagen
Aids in maintaining fertility
Assists the absorption and utilization of Iron
Helps body used its stored iron
Helps make red blood cells
May help fight bone loss
May protect from damage by free radicals
Promotes blood clotting
Promotes healthy skin and hair pigmentation
Strengthens blood vessels, bones, tendons, and nerves
Various enzymatic processes in the body

Best Suitable Composition:
Copper is best absorbed and utilized in the body when cobalt, iron, zinc and folic acid is available.

Recommended Daily Intake:
Men & Women: 1.2 mg

Iodine
Functionality:

Iodine's primary function is to keep the thyroid gland healthy and manufacturing sufficient thyroxine, a hormone that is needed throughout the body.

Deficiency Diseases: Acne, Bad Circulation, Confused Thinking, Cretinism Fatigue, Goiter, Hormonal Imbalance, Menstrual Difficulties Miscarriages, Scaly or Dry Skin, Sterility, Weight Gain and Weight Loss etc.

Overdose Disease: Hyperthyroidism

Deficiency Symptoms:
Apathy, Drowsiness
Hair loss, Fatigue, Dry skin
Increased blood fats, hoarseness
Delayed reflexes, and reduced mental clarity

Rich Sources:
Iodine is added to most table salt so people generally get the required amount from just one teaspoon of iodized salt. Other Iodine sources include eggs, milk, sea fish and sea food, sea vegetables - such as kelp, seaweed, asparagus etc. Fruits and vegetables grown in coastal regions are other good sources of iodine.

Important for:
Thyroid gland to produce thyroxine
An important hormone for growth and metabolism
Prevention of goitre

Best Suitable Composition:
Iodine is rapidly eliminated from the body, so high intake or toxicity is not very likely, but if your diet is supplement with too much kelp or iodine you could have problems with acne or skin rashes.

Some people are diagnosed with hypothyroidism (often an autoimmune disease) and they need more iodine in their diets to boost the thyroid function (at least until they start their medications).

Recommended Daily Intake:
Men & Women: 0.5 mg
Females require higher iodine amounts during periods of puberty and pregnancy.

Fluoride
The Fluoride mineral is one of the families of trace minerals and is one mineral that is surrounded by controversy. Although the fluoride mineral is not considered as essential, it certainly plays a significant role in keeping teeth and bones healthy and strong.

Functionality:
It helps in the fight against tooth decay. Teeth need a way to fight tooth decay and fluoride is the best weapon. It's believed that this function plays a big role in protecting a person against the onset of osteoporosis.

Deficiency Diseases:

Cavities and Weakened tooth enamel

Overdose Disease: Dental fluorosis

Deficiency Symptoms:
Appearance of dental carries, better known as cavities
Weakened tooth enamel
Brittle bones

Rich Sources:
Fluoride sources are not at all common and the fluoride mineral is not found in many of the foods that we eat. That is why it has been added to toothpaste and some drinking water supplies. Canned fish, including their edible bones, such as salmon is also a good source of the fluoride mineral.

Important for:
Preventing dental caries
Preventing osteoporosis

Best Suitable Composition:
The main composition of fluoride is water

Recommended Daily Intake:
Men & Women: 1 mg

Chromium
Chromium is considered a trace mineral meaning that the body only requires that a small amount is present. Avoid chromium chloride, which is found in some supplements. It is mostly unabsorbable.

Functionality:
Chromium is needed for energy, maintains stable blood sugar levels. In cooperation with other substances, it controls insulin as well as certain enzymes.

Deficiency Diseases:
Anxiety, Fatigue, Glucose intolerance, inadequate metabolism of Amino acids, and an Increased risk of Arteriosclerosis.

Overdose Disease: Gastrointestinal ulcers, Liver and Kidney damage, and Skin irritation

Rich Sources:
Some of the best dietary sources of chromium include Egg yolks, Bread made from whole wheat, Fruit juices, hard cheeses, Lean beef, Brewer's yeast, Molasses and Liver.

Recommended Daily Intake:
There is no recommended daily intake of this mineral.

It is not necessary, in general, to measure out the amounts of vitamins and minerals you consume each day. Obviously that would be very difficult. Some people do take a multivitamin to ensure their daily dosages of vitamins and minerals which is a good idea. But one should not feel that just taking a vitamin supplement is a replacement for adequate food.

So it is important to eat a well rounded diet and every day to eat three healthy meals. It is also important to be sure our children have well rounded diets. Children can be picky eaters and often children instinctively feel what their bodies need….nevertheless children can easily become deficient in calcium if they do not have dairy products, or in iron if they eat almost no meat , or even in protein if they do not have much protein. Children often eat “junk” or “snack” foods and therefore could be missing important foods that they need for development (physical and mental). We have to be creative to encourage our kids to eat the foods they need. 

A nursing baby will generally take from the mother what it needs…but then the mother could become deficient if her own intake of protein or calcium or iron is lacking. And if she is really malnourished it can affect her baby as well. That is why women who are of child bearing age should eat well and not become obsessed with losing weight!

Just eat a balanced healthy diet and you will not crave so much junk food. Often the body craves sugar or other foods if we are not eating properly and are missing many things.

If one really wants to avoid gaining too much weight, the secret is to avoid too many of the wrong carbs such as white bread, cakes, too much sugary food and white noodles.

But protein is a must. If someone does not eat enough proper protein, good quality protein, and is also on a diet to lose weight, first they burn fat but if they continue losing too much below their ideal weight, after the fat is gone then then the body will burn it’s own muscles eventually and that is dangerous.  Many women suffer from headaches and often those headaches are the result of lack of adequate food or protein.

Bochurim out of yeshivah usually know very little about nutrition and do not understand why their wives are exhausted and unable to keep up with all their duties. And sometimes husbands can be demanding, wanting their wives to accommodate and cook for lots of guests and run many errands or help them in their shlichus or work….which is fine and good..but only if the wife is taking care of herself properly and has adequate energy!

People do not realize and do not understand:

FOOD EQUALS ENERGY. Without enough food, you cannot have enough energy. Everyone needs a certain amount of food in order to stay strong and energetic. 

A very fat person has more energy to burn and so they can afford to eat less.

But if a relatively thin person wants to lose extra weight, they have to be careful not to burn too many calories too fast and not to skip meals or protein as they will really go down in energy levels. 

Some people mistakenly believe if you take a vitamin supplement it does not matter if you don’t eat much. This is not at all true. A vitamin supplement helps to give the body vitamins and minerals that you may not get enough from food. But it does not substitute for protein or adequate calories.

Calories equal energy. If you are not eating enough, and you are not eating enough of the right foods, you cannot expect to produce energy from nothing. 

And protein shakes (made from soy etc.) are NOT adequate protein. You need some complete protein from animal sources, whether it is eggs, fish, chicken or meat. And you need that every day. And children need that as well , especially as they are growing all the time. 

And there are many people who need meat: even eggs are not powerful enough.

Blood types also make some difference as to the type of protein and foods one should consume.
O blood types need a lot of protein and in particular meat.
B blood types are more balanced and need a balance of protein, with a lot of vegetable foods and dairy products.
A blood type can handle more vegetarian foods and lots of grains and vegetables etc. BUT they do need some protein besides beans. Fish is good, chicken is good, and eggs are okay. Meat is not tolerated as well for some A blood types, but it still is necessary to some degree. Certainly for  a Jew, meat is a part of their diet: we can elevate the meat and we should eat some. Not fatty, heavy meats, but lean meats are okay. Especially since the koshering process draws out a lot of impurities in the salting so kosher meat is definitely healthier. And certainly for Shabbat and yom tovim one should eat some meat products. 
AB blood type is a combination of A and B and do well with dairy products, chicken, fish and meat in moderation.

For further information about blood types and diet, please refer to the book Eat Right for Your Type by Dr. Peter D’adamo.

A Jew is of course beyond all these limitations and the main thing is to eat proper kosher food.

But one does have to eat enough and to eat as healthy as possible; this is a mitzvah in the Torah to guard one’s health. Vshomartem nafshotechem. 

Having an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals is important for health and for well balanced nervous system. Ocean water is rich in many  minerals and is a good way to get a dosage of minerals. That is why you feel calm after swimming or bathing in the sea.

What about preservatives, coloring and other additives?
In general it is best to stay away from chemical additives in food. A little bit may not be harmful but it is good to avoid colored candies and all kinds of extra preservatives (which are hidden inside many, many foods , sodas, and drinks). Many children become hyper active from these chemicals in food. You will usually notice that your children become calmer, happier and sleep better when these chemicals are removed from their diets. It means being vigilant (even at parties, Kiddush on Shabbos etc.).

EXERCISE:
Exercise is of course an important aspect of a healthy life as well.  Many mothers do not have time to do real exercise and even if they have time, they may have no energy left by the time they find a moment to attend an exercise class or to do some sort of exercise.  Remember that going up and down stairs, walking (even pushing a carriage outside and walking around), are exercise as well. But it is good to get into some sort of exercise routine wherever possible. This will make you feel calmer, keep you in good shape, help you to lose some excess weight, and may even promote a good mood and clarity of thought. However, if you are really exhausted, exercise can make you more exhausted. And if you are pregnant you have to limit the types of exercise you do. But exercise of some sort is beneficial; two of the best exercises are walking and swimming.

FRESH AIR:
Fresh air is another important component for health. The Rambam (Maimonides) writes that one should endeavor to live where the air is pure and clean, and preferably in a slightly elevated area. Obviously this is not always possible, but even if one lives in a polluted city, one should avoid going out on very polluted days and one should keep windows closed when the air is particularly dirty and avoid breathing car exhaust in the streets etc.

But fresh air does a lot for one’s health including one’s emotional and psychological health and happiness.  It is very beneficial to take walks and breathe deeply of fresh pure air.  It is important for children to go outside in the fresh air. Many children become fussy if they are indoors too much and when they go out, the change of air is good and they sleep better afterwards.

RESPONSIBILITY:
Part of being a responsible wife and mother is to be sure you eat well so you function well, and to be sure your family eats well.
Canned fast foods are not healthy foods. Neither is it healthy to go often to restaurants where you are not sure of the quality of food you are consuming. 
In general it is important to do one’s best to make healthy and fresh meals for one's family. It does not have to be time consuming or difficult.
Of course eating out is enjoyable so one can indulge at times. Everything has to be in a balance. A bit of junk food wont hurt anyone. It is all about balance and moderation.

I am including a cookbook section with healthier recipes to give an idea of the types of foods one can make which do not take a lot of time and yet they are nutritious and generally balanced.

For a more mystical approach and understanding to vitamins, minerals and health please see the following article by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh:http://www.inner.org/torah_and_science/exact_sciences/E68-0705.php