Side dishes are not only an integral part of any holiday table, but also food rich in vitamins and minerals. Julie Pollock, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Richmond, writing for The Conversation toldhow to get the maximum benefit from vegetables on the holiday table and which ones you should pay attention to first.
Greens – collards, kale, spinach, green beans – are a rich source of elements magnesium and calcium. The body needs these two minerals for free muscle movement and healthy bones. Magnesium is essential for many enzymes that play important roles in DNA synthesis and repair, as well as protein production and metabolic functions.
Cellular processes are important in protecting the body from the development of diseases such as cancer. Calcium helps regulate pH in the body, affects metabolism, and enhances nerve impulses important for senses and memory. Greens are also a source of iron, which is especially important for the oxygen-binding proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin, which carry and store oxygen in the body and help generate energy.
Orange vegetables—carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes—contain some calcium and iron, as well as high amounts of potassium. It is important for muscle movement, nerve impulses and maintaining low blood pressure. Although white potatoes are not a colorful vegetable, they also contain very high levels of potassium.
Most green and orange vegetables contain high levels of vitamin C. It acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from certain types of damage. In addition, vitamin C strengthens the immune system and is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, the main protein of the skin.
Potatoes have high levels of vitamin B6, a component of enzymes necessary for carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. It also helps create healthy blood cells and is important for the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which regulate pleasure and happiness.
One of the most important vitamins you can get from green vegetables (especially leafy vegetables – kale, spinach, collards and Brussels sprouts) is vitamin K. It is a component of enzymes that make proteins in bones, as well as proteins that help blood clot after injuries
A is another important fat-soluble vitamin found in spinach and orange vegetables. It is essential for vision, cell differentiation, reproduction, bone health, and immune system function.
Absorption of microelements
Eating vegetables that contain micronutrients is important, but equally important is the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and transport them to cells. Macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) are absorbed efficiently into the bloodstream, but only 3-10% of some micronutrients are actually distributed throughout the body. Therefore, it is important to prepare vegetables in such a way that they can improve the body’s ability to absorb essential vitamins and minerals.
For example, squeezed lemon or orange juice, rich in vitamin C, improves both the taste of vegetables and the content of microelements that we receive. Fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin K and vitamin A) are best absorbed if the food contains dietary fat. This means cooking greens with olive oil, butter, avocado oil, or even fat from meat.
Recently a nutritionist toldwhich seasonal vegetables and fruits will protect against heart disease.