GLOSSARY OF VITAMINS AND MINERALS

HEALTHY FROM A TO Z

This chapter contains an overview of the most important ingredients, medicinal plants and related keywords in connection with healthy nutrition and sanotact products.

Acerola cherry

The acerolacherry is found in Central and South America as well as the West Indies. It is not commercially available in Europe, as it would not survive the long transport route in one piece. The acerola cherry is one of the plants that has the highest content of vitamin C worldwide. In addition to vitamin C, it contains beneficial bioflavonoids.

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Alpha galactosidase

The enzyme alpha-galactosidase breaks down indigestible multiple sugars (oligosaccharides) into their digestible components in the body. Oligosaccharides are contained in a lot of tasty food items that should be part of any healthy and balanced diet. These include pulses, different types of cabbage, wholemeal products and certain types of fruit.

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Artichoke

The thistle-like vegetable plant is cultivated in Central Europe, the Americas and Asia. Artichokes are considered to be extremely beneficial owing to the bitter substances they contain.

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Brewer’s yeast

Apart from barley, water and hops, brewer’s yeast is needed for making beer. According to the German purity law of 1516, these are the only permitted ingredients. In the past, when the majority of beers were served unfiltered as “Zwicklbier”, the liquid brewer’s yeast produced during fermentation with its important B-complex vitamins was still contained in the drink. In order to extend the shelf life of the beers and to be able to transport them over long distances without quality losses, brewers began to filter out the yeast contained in the beer, about sixty years ago. This yeast, however, contains a real wealth of vitamins. For example, brewer’s yeast is contained in wheat beer and is also available as a nutritional supplement.

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Biotin

Biotin (vitamin H) belongs to the group of B vitamins. It gets its nickname vitamin H because of its positive effects on skin and hair, which were first discovered during research into the vitamin. Biotin is present in many foods, but usually only in small amounts. Yeast, liver, eggs, wholemeal products and pulses are particularly rich in biotin.

B vitamins

The group of B vitamins includes vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 (cobalamin), folic acid and biotin. All B vitamins are water-soluble. B vitamins are mainly found in whole grain products, animal-based food, milk and milk products.

Calcium

Calcium is one of the bulk elements. It is the most abundant mineral in the human body. 99% of the calcium found in the body is found in the bones and teeth. There, it helps in mineralisation. Calcium aids the blood clotting, muscles and nerves, and digestive enzyme. Calcium is mainly contained in milk and dairy products. Green leafy vegetables, however, are also rich in calcium. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium.

Iron

Iron is an essential trace element, and an important component of the red blood pigment haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen to the body cells and carbon dioxide from the cells to the lungs. Vitamin C aids the iron absorption. Meat, green leafy vegetables, grains and nuts are good sources of iron.

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Folic acid

Folic acid is part of the group of B vitamins. The vitamin plays a role in cell division and thus an important role in all the growth processes of the human body. Good sources of folic acid are leafy vegetables, salads, tomatoes, eggs and liver. Folic acid is especially indispensable for women who want to have children, pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Copper

Copper is an essential trace element. Its most important function is the transport of iron in the body. In addition, copper is important for the connective tissue, energy balance and production of the pigment melanin, which influences the colour of skin and hair. Copper is mainly found in liver, nuts, grains, and cocoa.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a bulk element that is present in around 300 enzymes in the body and is therefore indispensable for protein synthesis. Magnesium plays an important role in energy metabolism. Magnesium, like calcium, is also contained in the bones. Magnesium is mainly found in plant-based food products. Whole grain products, vegetables and nuts are particularly good sources of magnesium.

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Selenium

Selenium is an essential trace element present in the cells, and protects them from oxidative stress. Selenium is also involved in the metabolism of the thyroid gland and supports the immune system. Fish, meat and eggs are good sources of selenium.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C protects the cells from oxidative stress. It also supports the immune, aids in the formation of collagen for cartilage and bone tissue formation, and in energy metabolism. All citrus fruits, especially grapefruit and oranges, are the best sources of vitamin C. However, bell peppers and broccoli contain even more vitamin C.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin required for the bones. It ensures that the bone building block calcium is absorbed from food and used. Without vitamin D, calcium is not absorbed properly. The body can produce vitamin D itself under the influence of sunlight. It is therefore different from all other vitamins, which the body cannot produce itself. In addition, vitamin D is mainly absorbed through animal-based foods such as fatty salt-water fish. An increased intake via your diet is particularly useful during the winter months, because the body is less exposed to sunlight during this time of year.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that protects the cells from oxidative stress. The vitamin performs its most important function in the cell membranes. It is mainly contained in vegetable-based food: vegetable oils, cold-pressed edible oils, nuts and seeds.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential trace element, which is involved in many enzymatic reactions in the human body. Zinc is needed for cell division. Zinc protects cells from oxidative stress and supports the immune system. Meat, hard cheese, nuts and wholemeal products are good sources of zinc.