Spotlight on Nutrition

Spotlight on Nutrition - Potatoes
Spotlight on Nutrition – Potatoes


Potatoes have more Vitamin C than a tomato and more Potassium than a banana? That’s good news for helping build immunity and controlling blood pressure!

Many people believe that potatoes are not healthy, because they are a carbohydrate-rich vegetable. But they are complex carbohydrates and full of fiber which aids digestion. We need to eat carbohydrates every day because they support optimal physical performance and mental wellbeing. Potatoes contain important nutrients needed in the body, like Vitamins C & B6, Potassium, and Iron. They are also fat, sodium and gluten free naturally.

Check out this video from Potatoes USA to hear more about the valuable nutrients in potatoes and their benefits throughout the body. I couldn’t have said it better myself!


Spotlight on Vitamin C!
Spotlight on Vitamin C!

  • It is a water-soluble vitamin (so it will be absorbed without the need for fat, unlike Vitamin A) so there is no concern about toxicity.
  • It is another essential micronutrient which the body cannot make and must be in our diet.
  • It is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals (both formed when the body converts food to energy and found in the environment).
  • It also helps make collagen, which is needed for wound healing.
  • It improves body’s ability to absorb iron from plant-sourced foods.
  • It helps the immune system work to protect the body from disease.
  • Deficiency can lead to bruising easily, gingivitis and bleeding gums, dry/splitting hair, dry/rough skin, lower wound-healing rate, and a decreased ability to prevent infection.
  • Vitamin C can be lost with cooking, so steaming or microwaving are best methods.
  • Vitamin C is found in:
    • Citrus fruits and their juices
    • Red and green pepper and kiwifruit
    • Other fruits and vegetables (such as broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, baked potatoes, and tomatoes)
    • Foods and beverages fortified vitamin C (check product labels to see if Vitamin C was added)


Spotlight on Vitamin A!
Spotlight on Vitamin A!

  • It is a fat-soluble vitamin (meaning it needs fat to help the body absorb it) stored in the liver.
  • It is an essential micronutrient which the body cannot make, so we need to get it from our diet.
  • It has an essential role in eye/vision health, body growth, immune function, and reproductive health.
  • It is a key part of our immune system, stimulating production and activity of white blood cells.
  • Deficiency causes increased chance of infections, hair loss, skin problems, and night blindness.
  • There are 2 forms of Vitamin A we can get in our diet:
    • Preformed (retinol)
    • Pro-vitamin A carotenoids (alpha-carotene & beta-carotene which body turns into retinol)
  • Retinol is found in:
    • Animal-sourced foods (e.g. fish, liver, eggs, cheese, and butter)
    • Fortified foods (e.g. cereals and milk)
    • Supplements (NOTE: Upper limit to avoid toxicity is 3,000 iu)
  • Carotenoids are found naturally in plant foods (e.g. fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains). Naturally RED and ORANGE foods are sources of beta-carotene!


Spotlight on Zinc!
Spotlight on Zinc!

  • It is a micronutrient (mineral) that people need to stay healthy.
  • It is found in cells throughout the entire body.
  • It helps our immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
  • It is necessary for the body to make proteins and DNA.
  • It is needed during pregnancy, infancy and childhood to ensure growth and development.
  • It helps to heal wounds.
  • It affects proper senses of taste and smell.
  • A wide variety of foods contain zinc, so eating a varied diet is important.
    • Contains SOME: Beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products
    • GOOD Source: Red meat, poultry, seafood (esp. crab and lobster), and fortified breakfast cereals
    • BEST Source: Oysters
  • Avoid nasal sprays with zinc as it could permanently affect senses of taste and smell if overused.
  • Throat lozenges with zinc are ok to use, as are multivitamins and supplements.
  • Signs of too much zinc include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea and headaches.If too much zinc is taken for a long time, it can lead to problems such as low copper levels, lower immunity, and low levels of HDL “good” cholesterol.


Spotlight on Vitamin D!
Spotlight on Vitamin D!

  • Found in cells throughout the entire body
  • Needed for health and to maintain strong bones (combined with calcium, it protects older adults from osteoporosis)
  • Helps the body absorb calcium (main building block of bones)
  • Deficiency could cause soft, thin, and brittle bones (known as Rickets in children and Osteomalacia in adults)
  • Muscles need it for movement, which is triggered by nerve impulses between brain and every body part
  • Immune system needs it to fight off invading bacteria and viruses
  • Few foods are natural sources, so the major source in food is typically fortified
  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best natural sources
  • Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts, naturally
  • Mushrooms provide some vitamin D, but more are available due to growers exposing mushrooms to UV light to boost this nutrient
  • Dairy milk, soy milks, almond milk, and oat milk are often fortified with Vitamin D, though products made from these milks typically are not
  • The skin can make Vitamin D from direct exposure to the sun’s UV rays – windows and sunscreen interfere
  • Supplements (high dose prescription or over-the-counter daily pills) are also available to increase body stores

Why is Vitamin D of concern? It is an essential nutrient needed to sustain human health. It is a steroid hormone with an important role in the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. That is why deficiency can contribute to bone-related disorders. Recent studies have also found that Vitamin D is closely associated with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Neuropsychiatric disorders include a wide variety of conditions affecting the nervous system:

  • Seizures
  • Attention deficit disorders
  • Cognitive deficit disorders
  • Migraine headaches
  • Addictions
  • Eating disorders
  • Anger control issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

For overall wellness, or to help manage a chronic condition, it is a good idea to have your physician check your Vitamin D levels and treat any deficiency. Having adequate levels of Vitamin D within your diet, safely exposing yourself to sun, and supplementation could help you feel your best.