by Patrick Oliver
Are the vitamins you buy in the drug store the same as those you get in food?
Yes, as far as those particular vitamins are concerned. But food supplies a great many other essentials than vitamins, and also supplies you with vitamins that have not yet been discovered and hence can’t be packaged in cellophane.
Fortified bread is no more costly than ordinary white bread, so, in effect you receive free vitamins.
Fortified breakfast cereals are better value than the super-refined kinds; whole-grain cereals even better in some respects. More and more, the grocery shelves are offering vitamin-enriched foods which are excellent value.
But one should not be tempted to purchase inferior kinds of food simply because they claim to be “vitaminized.” It will pay you to get the habit of checking the labels of fortified foods to see how many vitamin units they deliver in measured quantities.
If your doctor recommends synthetic vitamins for you, study the labels on the bottles. Check the units of various vitamins furnished by a measured dose, as stated on the label.
Certain vitamins, such as A and D, are relatively cheap. Those of the B complex are likely to be expensive.
So-called “shotgun” mixtures / preparations which contain a number of different vitamins may contain certain ones in liberal quantity while others are too scanty to be of much significance. Check your needs against the promises made on the labels.
For the ordinary person, able to sit up and take nourishment, it is practically always possible to obtain all necessary vitamins from food alone without adding a cent to your grocery bill.
The wealthy are just as likely to suffer vitamin deficiencies as the poor. Rich, expensive foods are more likely to be vitamin-poor than the simple, common ones.
The reason why many of us are vitamin starved?you have the word of scores of investigators and dozens of countrywide surveys for that?is simply that we don’t know how to spend our food dollars for greatest value.
For the same amount of money, certain foods will supply three times as much Vitamin A as others.
Whenever possible, buy vitamin-fortified foods, as long as they cost no more.
Drug store vitamins are excellent supplements but poor substitutes for food. Concentrated vitamins are useful in cases of existing or potential deficiencies.
It is, for instance, usually good protection for anyone on a reducing diet to supplement his food with small quantities of concentrated Vitamin A; additional B vitamins may also be helpful.
It should always be remembered, however, that if you are getting all the vitamins you can use, additional vitamins will simply be excreted and wasted.
As long as you get sufficient vitamins, there is no need to exclude from your diet other foods that may be poor in vitamins; such foods may provide innumerable other valuable elements. The vitamin content of some foods often varies according to growing conditions, season of the year, and other factors.
Now you see how easy it is to be sure you are getting your vitamins. A cup of orange juice a day for Vitamin C, a pork chop for Vitamin B, a serving of greens for Vitamin A, a bit of liver for riboflavin ? any one of these will give you your basic intake of these particular vitamins.
Yet the only vitamins that really go to work for you are those that reach the platter through the kindness of the cook. Sunshine travels some 90,000,000 miles to make plant growth possible. Animals work industriously to store vitamins in meat and dairy products.
And then, a dozen feet from the dining-room table, enormous quantities of vitamins come to an untimely end on the kitchen stove.
There is nothing complicated about preserving vitamins in cooking. A basic principle is simplicity. Fancy victuals that go through several cooking processes before they reach the table (even so common a procedure as boiling potatoes and then frying them) lose some of their vitamins in each operation.
Here are simple rules for preserving vitamins:
Use a minimum amount of cooking water.
Cook in covered vessels for as short a time as possible.
Never add baking soda.
Start vegetables in hot water.
Serve the cooking liquids in soups.
Handle fruits and vegetables as little as possible.
Use a brush to clean vegetables rather than a knife to scrape them.
Cook in their natural state (i.e., potatoes in jackets)
as far as practicable.
Some vitamins are more temperamental than others. Vitamin C is the flightiest prima donna of the lot. It runs off and dissolves itself in cooking liquids when it gets a chance.
It is a heat-hater with a tender skin and it resents rough handling. Shredding, cutting, and dicing of fruits and vegetables can result in severe losses of Vitamin C.
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