It’s been awhile since I have updated Interpretive Chef, due to some epic traveling between Italy, Germany, Iceland and the United States. Pair the traveling with family, friends and the holidays, and you get one busy gal. Eating healthy has been difficult over the past few weeks, but I managed to eat vegetable and tofu curry with brown rice and roasted chicken with rice my two nights out in Germany and the three other nights there I cooked quinoa with feta cheese, avocado, broccoli, and mushroom in olive oil with chili powder, piri powder and cayenne pepper as the seasoning. For breakfast I was fortunate enough to find some delicious yogurt and fruit. The one night in Italy, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon an affordable Japanese restaurant and filled myself with raw tuna, seaweed and miso soup. I was nervous about my upcoming trip to Iceland and the lack of healthy affordable food so I shopped for fruit and healthy cereal and brought it all along in my purse.  I have not forgotten about the nutrition article I promised and below is part 1 of my research.

The nutrients our bodies need and how to get them:

Vitamin A/Beta-carotene/ retinol, retinal, retinoic acid (immune-supportive, vision, encourages red and white blood cell production and activity, keeps the immune system fit and blood vessels healthy, helps rebuild bone, regulates cell growth and division, and may reduce the risk for some cancers): Asparagus, Bell peppers, Carrots (538 mcg per ½ cup), pumpkins, collard greens, Green beans, Kale (443 mcg per ½ cup), Leeks, Mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, Spinach, Winter Squash (572 mcg per ½ cup), Sweet potato (961 mcg per ½ cup), Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Quinoa, Turnip greens, parsley, cayenne pepper, apricots, cantaloupe (467 mcg per ½ a melon), grapefruit, papaya, strawberries, mango (79 mcg per fruit), eggs (91 mcg per large egg), cod liver oil (1,350 mcg per teaspoon) What You Need: Men = 900 mcg; Women = 700 mcg

Vitamin C/ asorbic acid (antioxidant-promoting, immune-boosting, helps make collagen): Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Fennel, Green beans, Kale, Mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, Spinach, Summer Squash, Winter squash, Swiss chard, Turnip greens, parsley, cantaloupe, cranberries, kiwi, lemons, limes, oranges, papaya, pineapple, raspberries, watermelon, OJ (100+ mg per cup) and grapefruits (76 mg per medium fruit), strawberries (85 mg per cup), tomatoes (16 mg per medium tomato), red peppers (95 mg per ½ cup), and broccoli (51 mg per ½ cup)What You Need: Men = 90 mg; Women = 75mg

Vitamin D (calcium metabolism, immunity, nervous system function, and bone density, strong teeth): salmon, sunshine, cod liver oil, sardines, herring, tuna, fortified cereals (1.0-1.3 mcg per cup), fortified milk (2.4 mcg per cup), egg yolks (0.53 mcg per large egg) What You Need: 5- 15 mcg

Vitamin E/tocopherol/tocotrienol  (powerful antioxidant,protects essential lipids from damage, battles free radicals, and maintains the integrity of cell membranes): Spinach, Swiss chard, buckwheat groats, Turnip greens, broccoli, cayenne pepper, sunflower seeds, olive oil (1.9 mg per tablespoon), canola oil (2.4 mg per tablespoon), Quinoa, almonds (7.4 mg per ounce), avocados (2.7 mg per avocado), hazelnuts (4.3 mg per ounce) What You Need: 10-15 mg

Vitamin K/phylloquinone/menaquinone (bone-supportive, wound healing):  Asparagus, Broccoli (220 mcg per cup), Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Beet Greens, Cauliflower, Celery, Collard Greens, Cucumber, Green beans, Kale (547 mcg per cup), Leeks, Mustard greens, Sea Vegetables, Romaine lettuce, Spinach, Swiss chard (299 mcg per cup), Tomatoes, Turnip greens, thyme, sage, parsley (246 mcg per ¼ cup), oregano, basil, blueberries, grapes, prunes What You Need: Men = 120 mcg; Women = 90 mcg

Vitamin B1/ Thiamin (heart-healthy, digestion aid, energy-producing, helps with food metabolism and boosts the health of hair, skin, muscles, and the brain, needed for proper mental functioning): Asparagus, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, brazil nuts, peanuts, wheatgerm, yeast, milk (0.10 mg per cup), lentils (0.17 mg per ½ cup), cantaloupe (0.11 mg per ½ fruit), enriched long grain white rice (0.26 mg per cup), pecans (0.19 mg per ounce)  What You Need: Men = 1.2 mg; Women = 1.1 mg

Vitamin B2/ Riboflavin (energy-promoting, needed by the body for proper visionencourages iron absorption in the intestines, and also enhances the health of hair, skin, muscles, eyes, and the brain): Crimini mushrooms, broccoli, sunflower seeds, Spinach, milk (0.34 mg per cup), almonds (0.23 mg per ounce), cheddar cheese (0.11 mg per ounce), eggs (0.27 mg per large egg), enriched grains and cereals (0.59-2.27 mg per cup). What You Need: Men = 1.3mg; Women = 1.1mg

Vitamin B3/Niacin/ Nicotinic Acid (energy-producing, essential for converting food into energy. It’s also central for the health of skin, hair, eyes, liver, and the nervous system, and is believed to lower risks of high cholesterol and heart disease. High doses of niacin can be toxic if doses exceed 50 mg per day). Crimini mushrooms, Shiitake, tuna, brown rice, pumokin seeds, turkey, peanuts (3.8 mg per ounce), chicken (7.3 mg per 3 ounces), salmon (8.5 mg per 3 ounces), fortified cereals (20-27 mg per cup), and coffee (0.5 mg per cup) What You Need: Men = 16 mg; Women = 14 mg

Vitamin B5/ Pantothenic Acid  (energy-producing, food metabolism, helps synthesize neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, red blood cells, and more): Crimini mushrooms, Shiitake, turkey, peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, chicken (0.98 mg per 3 ounces), eggs (0.61 mg per large egg), whole grains (0.19 mg per slice of whole wheat bread), sweet potato (0.88 mg per medium potato), avocados (1.99 mg per whole avocado), and yogurt (1.35 mg per cup). What You Need: 5 mg

Vitamin B6/ pyridoxal/ pyridoxine/pyridoxamine (heart-healthy, nerve-healthy, energy producing, helps the body absorb protein and carbohydrate, helps out with the production of serotonin, a hormone that plays a hand in sleep, appetite, and mood. It also assists with manufacturing red blood cells and steroid hormones, influences cognitive and immune function, and is linked to reducing the risk of heart disease): Bell peppers, brown rice, Shiitake, Summer Squash, Turnip greens, dried beans, pork, salmon (0.48 mg per 3 ounces), chicken (0.51 mg per 3 ounces), bananas (0.43 mg per medium banana), baked russet potatoes with the skin (0.70 mg per medium potato), hazelnuts (0.18 mg per ounce), cooked spinach (0.44 mg per cup). What You Need: 1.3 mg- 2mg

Vitamin B7/Biotin/Vitamin H (energy-producing, cell growth and food metabolism, needed by the body to use sugars, fats, and amino acids properly): almonds, brown rice, oats, peanuts, cauliflower, Cooked salmon (4-5 mcg per 3 ounces) whole grains (0.02-6 mcg per slice of bread), eggs (13-25 mcg per large egg), or avocados (2-6 mcg per avocado)

Vitamin B12/cobalamin (helps convert food to fuel, cell creation, and the protection of nerve cells, required for the liver to perform certain functions properly): sardines, chicken, turkey, scallops, alfalfa, comfrey, spirulina, chlorella, clams (84 mcg per 3 ounces) and mussels (20.4 mcg per 3 ounces), Beef (2.1 mcg per 3 ounces), salmon (2.4 mcg per 3 ounces), poached eggs (0.6 mcg per large egg), skim milk (0.9 mcg per cup), and brie cheese (0.5 mcg per ounce) What You Need: 1-2.4 mcg

Vitamin P/bioflavonoids/ hesperidin/quercetin/rutin (needed for the body to absorb and use vitamin C properly):  citrus fruits, such as grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, and tangerines, tomatoes, blueberries, currants, cranberries, red grapes, raspberries, strawberries, onions, parsley, rhubarb, sage, various types of beans, and certain types of algae.

Copper (bone-building, energy metabolism, immunity, and nervous system function): Asparagus, Crimini mushrooms, Turnip greens, buckwheat groats, blackstrap molasses, sesame seeds, oysters (670 mcg per medium oyster), crabmeat (634 per 3 ounces), cashews (629 mcg per ounce), semisweet chocolate (198 mcg per ounce), and chunky peanut butter (185 mcg per two spoonfuls). What You Need: 900 mcg

Choline (helps with nerve and brain activities that control memory and muscle movement, helps to lubricate joint areas of the body, helps turn the food we eat and our stored energy into fuel. Vegetarians, vegans, pregnant women, and endurance athletes are at greater risk for choline deficiency, which is linked to fatty liver disease, atherosclerosis, neurological disorders, and impaired fetal development):
cauliflower, oranges, peanuts, potatoes, Eggs (126 mg per egg), milk (38 mg per cup), cooked broccoli and Brussels sprouts (both 62 mg per cup), beef (67 mg per 3 ounces), milk chocolate (20 mg per 1.5 ounce bar) Men = 550 mg; Women = 425mg

Iodine (crucial component of thyroid hormones, helps to regulate body temperature, nerve and muscle function, and plays a role in the body’s growth and development): yogurt, eggs, cod (99 mcg per 3 ounces), shrimp (35 mcg per 3 ounces), canned tuna (17 mcg per half can), milk (56 mcg per cup), baked potatoes (60 mcg per medium potato), and (small amounts of) seaweed (more than 4,500 mcg per ¼ ounce!). What You Need: 150 mcg

Folate/Folic Acid/folacin (muscle-building protein, heart healthy, vital for pregnant women to ensure the baby’s proper development, helping prevent birth defects in the brain and spine; Folic acid also helps create most all cells in the body and may reduce the risk of heart disease and colon cancer): Beets, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, Turnip greens, papaya, carrots, pumpkin, melon, liver, yeast, apricots, fortified grains and cereals (200-400 mcg per cup), asparagus (134 mcg per 6 spears), spinach (132 mcg per half cup), orange juice (83 mcg per cup), lentils (179 per half cup), almonds, lima beans, peanuts, walnuts What You Need: 200-400 mcg

Iron (energy-promoting, help hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells, and myoglobin (hemoglobin’s counterpart in muscles) bring oxygen to all the cells that need it; production of amino acids, collagen, neurotransmitters, and hormones. acute overdose of iron can be lethal): Asparagus, Spinach, Swiss chard, buckwheat groats, Quinoa, turmeric, thyme, cumin, beef (2.32 mg per 3 cooked ounces), oysters (5.04 mg per 6 medium oysters), raisins (0.81 mg per small box), prune juice (2.28 mg per 6 fluid ounces), potatoes (1.87 mg per medium potato), cooked lentils (3.30 mg per half cup), tofu (2.15 mg per ¼ block), and cashews (1.89 per ounce). What You Need: Men = 8 mg; Women = 18 mg

Magnesium (relaxes nerves and muscles, regulating body temperature, partners with calcium to assist with proper muscle contraction, blood clotting, cell signaling, energy metabolism, blood pressure regulation, and building healthy bones and teeth): Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, millet, amaranth, oat bran (96 mg per half cup), almonds (78 mg per ounce), brown rice (86 mg per cup), cooked spinach (78 mg per half cup), bananas (32 mg per banana), and molasses (48 mg per tablespoon). What You Need: Men = 400 mg; Women = 310 mg

Manganese (bone-healthy, enzyme-catalyzing, energy producing, wound healing, potentially toxic in excess): Collard Greens, Eggplant, Garlic, Kale, Mustard greens, Spinach, Summer Squash, Swiss chard, kamut, Turnip greens, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, chickpeas, turmeric, thyme, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, spelt, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, pineapples (0.77 mg per half cup), pecans (1.28 mg per ounce), oatmeal (0.99 mg per instant oatmeal packet), brown rice (1.07 mg per half cup), and green tea (0.41-1.58 mg per cup What You Need: Men = 2.3 mg; Women = 1.8 mg

Molybdenum (enzyme-catalyzing, sulfite-detoxifying, necessary factor of many enzymes, which speed up the body’s biochemical reactions that break down dietary and stored nutrients into energy): Summer Squash, dried peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans, soy beans, black beans (130 mcg per cup) and split peas (148 mcg per cup), almonds, chestnuts, and peanuts (all about 42 mcg per cup). What You Need: 45 mcg

Phosphorus (energy-producing, primarily builds and protects teeth and bones, aids in shuttling nutrients to the organs that need them): Crimini mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, Quinoa, milk (257 mg per cup), yogurt (385 mg per cup), cheese (131 mg per ounce), Consider salmon (252 mg per 3 ounces), eggs (104 mg per large egg), chicken (155 mg per 3 ounces) What You Need: 700 mg

Potassium (heart-healthy, essential for a steady heartbeat, the transmission of nervous system signals, and muscle function; helping the kidney save fluids when we are dehydrated or excrete fluids that are in excess; lower blood pressure and benefit bones): Crimini mushrooms, millet, Spinach, Swiss chard, cantaloupe, papaya, baked potatoes (926 mg per medium potato), artichokes (343 mg per medium artichoke), plums (637 mg per ½ cup), raisins (598 mg per ½ cup), bananas (422 per medium banana). What You Need: 2,000 mg

Tryptophan: Asparagus, Spinach, cod, halibut, salmon, sardines, shrimp, tuna, venison, turkey, lamb, chicken, soy beans, tofu, pumpkin seeds

Fiber (digestion-promoting) : Collard Greens, Eggplant, Mustard greens, Sweet potato, Turnip greens, navy beans, cinnamon, barley, flax seeds, cranberries, oranges, raspberries, millet, amaranth

Protein: cod, shrimp, tuna, venison, turkey, Quinoa, buckwheat groats, kamut, amaranth

Zinc (immune-supportive, a building block for enzymes, proteins, and cells. zinc is less easily absorbed from vegetables ): brown rice, buckwheat groats, kamut, oysters (76.3 mg per 6 oysters), beef (6 mg per 3 ounces), turkey (3.8 mg per 3 ounces), milk (1.8 mg per cup), and cashews (1.6 mg per ounce) What You Need: Men = 11 mg; Women = 8 mg minimum

Selenium (immune-supportive, free radical-scavenging, thyroid hormone regulation, antioxidant): Crimini mushrooms, cod, halibut, tuna, mustard seeds, kamut, Brazil nuts (544 mcg per six kernels), shrimp (34 mcg per 10-12 shrimp), crabmeat (41 mcg per 3 ounces), salmon (40 mcg per 3 ounces), enriched noodles (38 mcg per cup), beef (16 mcg per 3 ounces), and pork (35 mcg per 3 ounces) What You Need: 55 mcg

Omega-3 (anti-inflamatory): cloves, walnuts, flax seeds

Calcium (bone and teeth healthy, muscle function, blood clotting, nerve signaling, hormone secretion, and blood pressure): Collard Greens, Mustard greens, Quinoa, buckwheat groats, amaranth, Turnip greens, (197 mg ) milk (300 mg per cup), yogurt (300 mg per cup), cheddar cheese (303 mg per 1.5 ounces), tofu (258 mg per ½ cup), bok choy (79 mg per ½ cup), spinach (115 mg per ½ cup), and rhubarb (174 mg per ½ cup), Canned Salmon with bones(232 mg), in ½ can with bones, Sardines(321 mg) , Kale (188 mg), Black-eyed Peas(185 mg ), Blackstrap Molasses(172 mg,) White Beans(191 mg), Seaweed(126 mg) Dried Figs(107 mg), Sesame Seeds: 88 mg, What You Need:  1,000 mg

Healthiest foods based upon the amount of nutrients they contain overall:

Collard Greens, Mustard greens, Spinach, swiss chard, Turnip greens, sweet potato, asparagus, brocolli, crimini mushrooms, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, cantaloupe, papaya, raspberries, turkey, shrimp, tuna, turmeric, thyme, cinnamon, cloves, barley, brown rice, spelt, quinoa, buckwheat groats, amaranth, kamut


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