About Nutrients

What are the various nutrients that we need and in what

varieties of seasonal plants those nutrients can be found?



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The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and the nervous system. An enzyme called amylase helps break down carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar), which is used for energy by the body.

 *Food that is high in carbohydrates that can be grown on a balcony includes:

 Corn, Quinoa, Sorghum, Potato, Sweet potato,



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They are necessary for the growth and repair of the body's muscles, cells and tissues. They are responsible for protecting the body from infection and disease.

 *Food that is high in amino acids (proteins) that can be grown on a balcony includes:

 Quinoa, Pumpkin seeds/Zucchini seeds, Sunflower seeds, Flax seeds, Corn, Soy beans, Peas, Beans, Brussels sprouts, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Goldenberry, Watercress, Artichoke, Peanuts,



They are crucial for the proper functioning of every organ system-skeletal, circulatory, neurological, digestive, immune and endocrine-as well as helping monitor and control the growth of tissues all over the body. Their function lies in their ability to help the metabolic enzymes responsible for processing carbohydrates, fats and protein from food and putting the resulting compounds to work.

There are 13 kinds of vitamins that the body needs and they are divided into two main categories, depending on whether or not they can be stored within the body for future use.

The first category is fat-soluble vitamins. These are vitamins that the fat tissues and liver are capable of storing. They can remain stored in fat for as long as six months.

The second type is water-soluble vitamins. These vitamins cannot be stored in body tissues and must be used as soon as they are present in the bloodstream, and any unused amounts of the vitamin are excreted. Because the water-soluble vitamins aren't stored, they must be constantly replaced through foods.

Fat-soluble vitamins:

 Vitamin A

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Two different types of vitamin A are found in the diet. (Retinol) is an active form of vitamin A. It is found in animal liver and whole milk. The other type, (Carotenoids) are dark-colored dyes (pigments) found in plant foods that can turn into a form of vitamin A. There are more than 500 known carotenoids. One such carotenoid is beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by substances called free radicals. Free radicals are believed to contribute to certain chronic diseases and play a role in the aging processes. Food sources of carotenoids such as beta-carotene may reduce the risk for cancer. Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, vision, Gene transcription, Immune function, embryonic development.

*Food that is high in Vitamin A (carotenoids) that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Bright yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as melons, Carrots, Sweet potatoes, and Pumpkins, and most dark green leafy vegetables such as Kale, Broccoli, Borage, and Spinach, Corn salad, Endive, New Zealand spinach,

The more intense the color of a fruit or vegetable, the higher the beta-carotene content.


Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is responsible for intestinal absorption of calcium, which you need for the normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. It also helps maintain proper blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.

The body can also synthesize vitamin D (from cholesterol) when sun exposure is adequate (hence its nickname, the "sunshine vitamin"). Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine three times a week is enough to produce the body's requirement of vitamin D.


Vitamin E:

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that the body uses to snatch up free radicals. It is also used in the body to regulate cell metabolism, protect Vitamin C from oxidizing, helps the body use vitamin K, acts at an anti clotting agent, and aids in the production of red blood cells.

*Food that is high in Vitamin E that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Broccoli, Spinach, Kale, Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds,


Vitamin K:

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Vitamin K is known as the clotting vitamin, because without it blood would not clot. When the body is injured, vitamin K initiates the process of healing by slowing and stopping the bleeding. Recent studies have suggested that vitamin K can help prevent or treat osteoporosis and the loss of bone density.

*Food that is high in Vitamin K that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Spring onions, Spinach, Cauliflower, Kale, Soy beans, Broccoli, Turnip greens, Swiss chard, Mustard greens, Parsley, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Endive, Okra, Pak Choi,

Vitamin K is also made by the bacteria that line the gastrointestinal tract.


Water-soluble vitamins include:

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin):

Vitamin B1 helps the body's cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system.

*Fruits and vegetables are not very high in thiamin, but when eaten in large amounts, they become a significant source:

Quinoa, Seed amaranth, Flax seeds, Sunflower seeds, Kale, Cauliflower, Beans, Chickpeas, Lupines, Peas.


Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin):

Vitamin B2 works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and red blood cell production and helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.

*Food that is high in Vitamin B2 that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Spinach, Swiss Chard, Lettuce, Rocket, Beans, Lupines, Peas, Cabbage, Leek, Turnip, Tomatoes, Okra, Chilies, Sweet peppers,


Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Niacin helps the digestive system, skin, and nerves to function. It is also important for converting food to energy. One of the most stable vitamins, it survives most cooking and most preserving processes.

*Food that is high in Vitamin B3 that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Sweet peppers, Broccoli, Carrots, Tomatoes, Borage, whole grains,


Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid):

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Pantothenic acid helps the body break down and use food (metabolism). It is involved in more than 100 different metabolic pathways including energy metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, and the synthesis of lipids, neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, porphyrins and hemoglobin. It also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol.

*Food that is high in Vitamin B6 that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Sunflower seeds, Peas, Chickpeas, Broccoli.


Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxin):

Vitamin B6 helps the body to make antibodies. Antibodies are needed to fight many diseases. It also helps the body maintain normal nerve function and make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the red blood cells to the tissues. Pyridoxin also breaks down proteins. The more protein you eat, the more vitamin B6 you need.

*Food that is high in Vitamin B6 that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Wheat, Sunflower seeds, Beans, Sorghum, Garlic, Dried Herbs and Spices,


Vitamin B7 (Biotin): Biotin is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids. It plays a role in the citric acid cycle, which is the process by which biochemical energy is generated during aerobic respiration. Biotin not only assists in various metabolic reactions but also helps to transfer carbon dioxide. Biotin may also be helpful in maintaining a steady blood sugar level.

*Food that is high in Vitamin B6 that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Beans, Peas, Chickpeas


Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid): The human body needs folate to synthesize DNA, repair DNA, and methylate DNA as well as to act as a cofactor in biological reactions involving folate.[7] It is especially important in aiding rapid cell division and growth, such as in infancy and pregnancy. Children and adults both require folic acid to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia.

*Food that is high in Vitamin B9 that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Dried Herbs, Sunflower seeds, Spinach, Soy beans, Turnip greens, Kale, Mustard greens, Cabbage, Beet, Swiss Chard, Rocket, , Parsley, Beans, Peas, Chickpeas, Cardoon, Endive,


Vitamin B12 (cobalamin):

Vitamin B12, like the other B vitamins, is important for metabolism. It helps in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system.

Mainly from animal source, however some plants do have traces of this vitamin; the amount of vitamin B12 found in plant foods depends on the plant-to-soil ratio of microorganisms at the plant's root level. These include bacteria, fungi, molds and yeasts, an example is:



Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid):

Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is used to form an important protein used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, heal wounds and form scar tissue. It is also used to repair and maintain cartilage, bones, and teeth. Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are made when your body breaks down food or when you are exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation. The buildup of free radicals over time is largely responsible for the aging process.

*Food that is high in Vitamin C that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Chillie pepper, Sweet peppers, Thyme, Parsley, Kale, Mustard greens, Broccoli, Cauliflower,

Brussels sprouts, Melons, Borage, Corn salad, Endive, Strawberries, Raspberry,



Vitamins cannot be assimilated without the aid of minerals. Minerals act as catalysts for many biological reactions within the body, including muscle response, the transmission of messages through the nervous system, the production of hormones, digestion, and the utilization of nutrients in foods. All tissues and internal fluids of our body contain varying quantities of minerals. Minerals are constituents of the bones, teeth, soft tissue, muscle, blood, and nerve cells. They are vital to overall mental and physical well-being as well as to the correct function of our immune and nervous systems.

There are 15 essential Minerals that the body needs:


Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body. It is essential for the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth, and that’s where about 99% of the body's calcium is found. Calcium also helps the heart, nerves, muscles, and other body systems work properly. It is probably best known for helping prevent osteoporosis. Your body needs several other nutrients in order for calcium to be absorbed and used properly, including magnesium, phosphorous, and especially vitamins D and K.

*Food that is high in calcium that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Savory, Celery seeds, Dill, Sage, Oregano, Parsley, Poppy seed, Chervil, Basil, Broccoli, Kale, Turnip greens,



Chromium is an essential mineral that plays a role in how insulin regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone that your body uses to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life. Low chromium levels can increase blood sugar, triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), cholesterol levels, and increase the risk for a number of conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

*Food that is high in chromium that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Corn, Quinoa, Broccoli, Spinach, Onions, Lettuce, Beet



Copper helps your body make red blood cells and keeps nerve cells and your immune system healthy. It also helps form collagen, a key part of bones and connective tissue. Copper may also act as an antioxidant, getting rid of free radicals that can damages cells and DNA. Copper helps the body absorb iron, and your body needs copper to make energy.

Your body doesn’t need much copper, and although many people may not get enough copper in their diet, it' s rare to be truly deficient in copper. Signs of possible copper deficiency include anemia, low body temperature, bone fractures and osteoporosis, low white blood cell count, irregular heartbeat, loss of pigment from the skin, and thyroid problems. People who take high amounts of zinc, iron, or vitamin C may need more copper.

*Food that is high in copper that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Sunflower seeds, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Pumpkin seeds, Dried herbs (Basil, Savory, Oregano, Parsley, Thyme) Endive,



Small amounts of fluoride help reduce tooth decay and maintain bone structure.

*Food that is high in fluoride that can be grown on a balcony includes:




Iron is an essential mineral that is required for human life. Much of the iron in the body is found in red blood cells and carries oxygen to every cell in the body. Iron also is involved in producing ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the body's energy source). Not having enough iron can lead to anemia. The most common symptoms of anemia are weakness and fatigue -- one reason people who are iron deficient get tired easily is because their cells don't get enough oxygen. On the other hand, too much iron in the body can lead to a condition known as hemochromatosis, which can cause diabetes, liver damage, and discoloration of the skin.

*Food that is high in iron that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Pumpkin seeds/Zucchini seeds, Beans, Chickpeas, Borage, Spinach, Endive,



Every organ in the body -- especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys -- needs the mineral magnesium. It also contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. Most important, it activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate calcium levels, as well as copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body.

*Food that is high in magnesium that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Coriander, Chives, Dill, Sage, Basil, Savory, Watermelon Seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Zucchini seeds, Flax seeds, Sunflower seeds, Broccoli, Spinach,



Manganese is a trace mineral that is present in tiny amounts in the body. It is found mostly in bones, the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Manganese helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.

*Food that is high in manganese that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Cardamom, Parsley, Coriander, Parsley, Pumpkin seeds, Zucchini seeds, Flax seeds, Chilies, Corn salad, Endive, Okra,



Molybdenum, along with copper, controls the movement and release of iron in the body. The role of iron utilization is important because iron provides oxygen to the body's organ systems, which is essential for life. Without molybdenum, all body functions would be impaired because they would not receive the oxygen necessary for metabolism.

*Food that is high in molybdenum that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Beans, Sunflower seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes and peas,



Next to calcium, phosphorus is the most abundant mineral in the body. These 2 important nutrients work closely together to build strong bones and teeth. About 85% of phosphorus in the body can be found in bones and teeth, but it is also present in cells and tissues throughout the body. Phosphorus helps filter out waste in the kidneys and plays an essential role in how the body stores and uses energy. It also helps reduce muscle pain after a hard workout. Phosphorus is needed for the growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues and cells, and for the production of the genetic building blocks, DNA and RNA. Phosphorus is also needed to help balance and use other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, and zinc.

*Food that is high in phosphorus that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Sunflower seeds, Corn, Broccoli, Goldenberry, Garlic,



Potassium is a very important mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs in the human body. It is also an electrolyte, a substance that conducts electricity in the body, along with sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium. Potassium is crucial to heart function and plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, making it important for normal digestive and muscular function.

*Food that is high in potassium that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Beans, Broccoli, Burdock root, Spinach, Swiss chard, Kale, Carrots, Tomatoes, Soy beans, Endive,



Selenium is an essential mineral found in small amounts in the body. It works as an antioxidant, especially when combined with vitamin E. Selenium plays a role in thyroid function and your immune system needs selenium to work properly.

*Food that is high in selenium that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Grains and seeds, cereals, mushrooms,



Zinc is found in every cell. It has been used since ancient times to help heal wounds and plays an important role in the immune system, reproduction, growth, taste, vision, and smell, blood clotting, and proper insulin and thyroid function. Low zinc levels are sometimes seen in the elderly, alcoholics, people with anorexia, and people on very restricted diets. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of appetite; poor growth; weight loss; lack of taste or smell; poor wound healing; skin problems such as acne, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis; hair loss; lack of menstrual period; night blindness; white spots on the fingernails; and depression.

Zinc reduces the amount of copper your body absorbs, and high doses of zinc can cause a copper deficiency. Zinc also has antioxidant a property, meaning it helps protect cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals.

*Food that is high in zinc that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Beans, Lupines, Pumpkin seeds, Mustard, Celery, Endive,



Iodine is a trace mineral that the body needs to make thyroid hormones, which are essential for normal growth and development. In your body, about 70 - 80% of iodine is found in the thyroid gland in the neck. The rest is distributed throughout the body, particularly in the ovaries, muscles, and blood. If your body doesn't have enough iodine, you can develop hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels). Symptoms include sluggishness or fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, and sensitivity to temperature changes.

*Food that is high in iodine that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Beans, Strawberries, Potatoes,



Chloride is a type of electrolyte. It works with other electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and carbon dioxide (CO2) to help keep the proper balance of body fluids and maintain the body's acid-base balance.

*The main food source of chloride is sodium chloride, or salt. Chloride is also found in many vegetables including Tomatoes, lettuce, Celery, Beet,



The body uses sodium to regulate blood pressure and blood volume. Sodium is also critical for the functioning of muscles and nerves.

*The main food source of sodium is sodium chloride, or salt. Sodium is also found in many vegetables including Tomatoes, lettuce, Celery, Beet,



Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning they can only be digested, absorbed, and transported in conjunction with fats. Fats play a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, insulating body organs against shock, maintaining body temperature, and promoting healthy cell function. Fats also serve as energy stores for the body.

Fats that are required by the human body but cannot be made in sufficient quantity from other substrates, and therefore must be obtained from food, are called essential fatty acids:

alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), they help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system.

A healthy diet contains a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6. The optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is thought to be 4 to 1.


Omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid)

Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. Fish, plant, and nut oils are the primary dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids.

*Food that is high in omega-3 fatty acids that can be grown on a balcony includes:



Omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid)

Along with omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development.

*Food that is high in omega-6 fatty acids that can be grown on a balcony includes:

Pumpkin seeds, Borage, Corn Poppy, Evening Primrose oil,