Vitamin A

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Vitamin A is a Fat soluble Vitamin. It is stored in the Liver. It helps vision and keeps the body tissues healthy, the skin and mucous membranes and aids cell growth. It is part of the Antioxidant vitamin combo of A,C and E.

yellow fruitsOften in skin care products you read about an ingredient called Retinol, this is a form of Vitamin A found in foods of animal origin. Pro-Vitamin A or better known as Beta-carotene is found in fruits and vegetables particularly those which are yellow.

The Beto-carotene is responsible for the pigment in these brightly coloured fruit and vegetables. If consumed in large enough quantities it can turn your skin this colour too!! It is called Carotenosis and this occurred in the late 90’s when children consumed very large volumes of a popular children’s drink it also occurs if you drink a lot of carrot or orange juice. Tanning tablets too work on this principle, it can be harmless in most cases and normal skin colouring will return in a few weeks, however you may experience an upset tummy and flatulence if you consume beta-carotene in these large amounts.

vitamin aDeficiency signs can include Poor night Vision (which is where the saying that carrots can make you see in the dark comes from) Poor skin condition, dry and flaky or the other extreme of acne. Bumpy skin and slow healing. Frequent coughs and cold and mouth ulcers can occur.

The sources of this Vitamin come from both animals and plants. In animals the sources are from fish liver oil i.e cod liver oil, Liver and eggs and dairy produce. Many margerines are fortified. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and some of it is lost when milk for example is skimmed.

Liver is an excellent source of Vitmin A, it is a food to keep limited to maybe once a fortnight as it can be a source of medications, hormones or antibiotics that the animal has been given through its life.


Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

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Continuing my brief look at some of the Vitamins, here I’m taking a quick look at Vitamins C and D….


Vitamin D.

Latitude, the lessening of sunshine hours in winterand the consumption of more and more processed foods; our Vitamin D (alongwith other Nutrients) can get neglected. The sun is our best source, which can be a tad unfortunate when you live in the more Northerly Latitudes! Vitamin D is a fat soluble Vitamin which means the body can store it in our fat stores and can use this supply when it is scarce – as in winter.   It can also be supplemented (under supervision as it is a fat soluble vitamin it can be toxic if too high a dose is taken) or, it can be incorporated into the diet which is much safer to do. Sun exposure is the safest way as long as it is done within sensible guidelines for a short period without sunscreen for example 15-20 minutes uncovered should be sufficient.

butterflyVitamin D is intrinsic for our immunity and our bone health as it helps you absorb Calcium properly. Vitamin D2 is the variant found in foods whilst D3 is found in the sunshine.

Many countries have enriched foods such as milk and cereal with Vitamin D. Oily fish is also a great source so fish such as Tuna, Mackerel no more than a couple times a week, are recommended. Egg yolks too are a source and of course fish oil supplements contain this. Be aware if taking multiple supplements without guidance that you’re Vitamin D does not exceed recommended limits.


Vitamin C.

A water –soluble Vitamin so it is excreted out in the urine and needs topped up daily. It is the least stable vitamin and is easily destroyed by cooking, which is why gently steaming veg is a good way to keep levels intact as is eating plenty of raw fruit and brightly coloured salad veg.

It is an Antioxidant. It also helps the absorption of Iron to be more efficient. Helps with the formation of Collagen and is essential for growth and repair of tissue and by extension wound healing.

Regular drinkers and smokers can easily run low on this Vitamin as both toxins deplete levels. People with Wounds, Burns, Pneumonia, TB, and People recovering from surgery may all need extra to encourage the healing process.

Deficiency leads to Scurvy, Joint Pain, Poor wound healing, Loose Teeth and Swollen gums. Bruising and little Red Spots on the Skin, Fatigue and sometimes Depression are among the delights encountered if your levels are low.

Vitamin C reduces the Histamine levels in the body which can help reduce symptoms and the duration of a cold. But it cannot cure a cold. Sorry!!

Just some of the sources of Vitamin C….

fruitCitrus fruits


Brussel Sprouts




Kiwi Fruits









Greek Yoghurt

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Greek yoghurt was traditionally made using sheep’s milk, now a days the term can be used to indicate the straining process it has undergone. Now while all yoghurt has some health benefits to varying degrees, I’m going to focus on Greek Yoghurt as people may avoid its health benefits due to its higher calorie count.

Natural yoghurt is a Probiotic –rich food which confers many benefits on the digestive and immune systems. Greek yoghurt however can have up to 6 strains of probiotic while regular may only have two. The basis of a good immune system begins in the digestive system so incorporating pre and pro-biotic rich foods is a vital step to good health. It also due to higher probiotic content a better option for the lactose intolerant to digest than regular yoghurt.

It is higher in Protein than regular yoghurt and I would recommend this if you exercise a lot, as protein is good at managing hunger pangs and helps in muscle development so use it as perhaps part of a post-workout snack.

It is also lower in Sodium and Carbohydrates which can have obvious benefits for those looking to control blood sugar levels and for weight control. However the full fat version will be higher in calories may have more Calcium than the low fat version.

Due to its creamier texture, it can be a great option for cooking with. It is versatile enough for both sauces and dips for you to enjoy.

A basic Tzatziki, is made from Greek yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, olive oil and salt and sometimes lemon juice. You can add dill, mint or parsley too if required. It is lovely served with mezzes.


A Basic Portion Control Guide

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Food Size Guide Female Male

Protein: Meat, Fish, Eggs, beans (other Protein dense legumes), Tofu, Quorn and Soy etc.




Palm of Fist.


1 portion is recommended



2 portions is recommended


Vegetables: All vegetables apart from the starchy kind such as Potatoes.



Fist size.


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Carbohydrates: Starchy carbs i.e. Pasta, Bread, Grains, Fruit and Starchy Veg.



Cupped hand.


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Fat: Oil, Butter, Nut and Nut Butters and also Seeds.



Entire thumb.


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