There are three primary macronutrients – these are protein, fat and carbohydrate. They are responsible for providing bulk energy.
What it does: Strengthens bones and teeth, promotes healthy muscles by helping them to relax, also important for PMS, important for heart muscles and nervous system. Essential for energy production.
Deficiency Signs: Muscle tremors or spasms, muscle weakness, insomnia or nervousness, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, constipation, fits or convulsions, hyperactivity, depression, confusion, lack of appetite, calcium deposited in soft tissue, e.g. kidney stones.
Best food sources: Wheatgerm, almonds, cashew nuts, brewer’s yeast, buckwheat flour, Brazil nuts, peanuts, pecan nuts, cooked beans, garlic, raisins, green peas, potato skin, crab.
What it does: Helps to form healthy bones, cartilage, tissues and nerves, stabilises blood sugar, promotes healthy cells, essential for reproduction and red blood cell synthesis, required for brain function.
Deficiency Signs: Muscle twitches, childhood growing pains, dizziness or poor sense of balance, fits, convulsions, sore knees, joint pain.
Best food sources: Watercress, pineapple, okra, endive, blackberries, raspberries, lettuce, grapes, lima beans, strawberries, oats, beetroot, celery.
Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin, hair and iris of the eyes their colour. Individuals with darker skin, have higher amounts of melanin.
Metabolism is a term that is used to describe the chemical reactions that take place within the body’s cells. The body gets the energy it needs from food through the process of metabolism.
Methylation is what occurs when the body takes one substance and turns it into another, so that it can be detoxified and excreted from the body. The process of methylation takes place in the liver.
Micronutrients are essentially the opposite of macronutrients. Micronutrients are still essential to good health but are only required in tiny amounts. They are commonly referred to as vitamins and minerals.
What it does: Helps rid the body of protein breakdown products, strengthens teeth and may help reduce the risk of tooth decay, detoxifies the body from free radicals, petrochemicals and sulphites.
Deficiency Signs: Deficiency signs are not known unless excess copper or sulphate interferes with its utilisation. Animals show signs of breathing difficulties and neurological disorders.
Best food sources: Tomatoes, wheatgerm, pork, lamb, lentils, beans.
Monounsaturated fats can have a beneficial effect on health when eaten in moderation. They are typically liquid at room temperature. Olive oil is an example of a monounsaturated fat.
A neurotransmitter is a chemical messenger that carries signals between body cells. They are various types of neurotransmitters which play a major role in everyday life. When neurotransmitters are affected by disease or drugs, there can be a number of adverse effects on the body.