Chromium is an important mineral that you've probably not paid much attention to, but with its links to glucose – it’s crucial.
What Does Chromium Do?
The main use within your body is to help metabolise fats and carbohydrates in the digestive system. It boosts fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, which are vital for healthy brain function. Chromium is also involved in the metabolism of insulin, and scientists have found links between low levels of chromium in the blood and type 2 diabetes. Low levels of chromium are also associated with several factors for cardiovascular disease.
People with chromium deficiency have limited glucose tolerance, and you often find it in people with type 2 diabetes. This is particularly common in older people or infants with protein-calorie malfunction. Supplements can help to manage these conditions, but they are not a substitute for other forms of treatment.
Fortunately, it is difficult to overdose in chromium due to the low absorption and high excretion rates.
Food Sources of Chromium
Out of all the different sources of chromium, the best is undoubtedly brewer’s yeast. However, foods made from yeast, such as vegemite and marmite, are very processed – and not exactly Paleo!
Certain fruit and vegetables are also high in chromium. These include:
- Green capsicum (bell peppers)
- Black peppers
In general, foods that have high concentrations of simple sugars, such as sucrose and fructose, are usually low in chromium.
Problems with Chromium Intake
As low chromium levels link to diabetes, it is important for any diabetics following the paleo diet to ensure they have a sufficiently high intake. If you are concerned about your chromium intake, you can improve the absorption rate on the body by consuming vitamin C and vitamin B3 (niacin). High consumption of simple sugars will increase the excretion rate from the body – so it’s great that a Paleo diet is naturally low in sugars.
Infection, exercise and stress can all reduce levels of chromium in the body and potentially lead to deficiency. When this happens, the body is unable to use glucose efficiently to meet all its energy requirements and more glucose is required.
Have you ever had your blood levels tested?
Thiamine – it is not a vitamin you hear about often, but yet it is vital to the functioning of your body. You see, Vitamin B1 is used in the body to maintain cellular function, and it is important to keep all the organs working as they should. It helps along in producing energy from carbohydrates, and also supports the working of the nervous system.
People who consume a lot of highly processed foods, sweets and sodas are at a higher risk of Vitamin B1 deficiency – which is one reason why the Paleo Diet is great for maintaining health. In addition, a deficiency can occur because of alcohol abuse, liver disorders, kidney dialysis, and over-dieting, and you might need more B1 if you have chronic stress, or are a smoker. How do you know you might be deficient? Aspects that can indicate that are a feeling of numbness or muscle tenderness (especially in the legs), loss of appetite, and frequent “pins and needles” sensations. Vitamin B1 deficiency also causes the syndromes of beriberi, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, and optic neuropathy.
But let’s look at the bright side! Sufficient consumption may play a role in the prevention or treatment of a number of health conditions, including alcoholism, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, congestive heart failure, depression, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, Korsakoff’s psychosis, multiple sclerosis, and Wernicke’s encephalopathy. But knowing that it supports muscle function, brain health and learning capacity, and acts as an antioxidant should be a good enough reason to include more of it in your diet!
How much Vitamin B1 do you need?
The recommended daily amount is 1.4mg, and there appears to be no upper limit you should be worried about, since high doses do not appear to carry a risk of toxicity.
Where can you get thiamine from?
The Paleo Diet is a great way of getting optimal levels of Vitamin B1. Below are some of the best sources of Thiamine – do you already include them in your diet?
- Sesame seeds and tahini (sesame butter) – A staple in Middle-Eastern cuisine, sesame butter provides 106% of your daily need of thiamine in 100g, one tablespoon providing 15%. An easy way of including tahini in your meals is to make a simple sauce from it – mix it with a bit of lemon juice and salt, adding water to reach a good consistency – then eat it with roasted or grilled vegetables. Sunflower seeds that provide 7.5% of daily Thiamine in a tablespoon, are a great addition to salads and stir-frys. Yum!
- Tuna – Here’s a great reason for adding tuna to your salad or cooking a tuna steak for dinner – just 120 g of tuna will provide as much as 40% of your daily need of Thiamine.
- Sunflower seeds – Another great addition to your salads or home-made trail mix you can have on the go, sunflower seeds provide 6% of your daily need of vitamin B1 in two tablespoons.
- Pork chops – Trying to decide what meat you want to have for dinner? Why not go for pork chops? A serving of just 100g provides 83% of your daily Thiamine need.
- Asparagus – This micronutrient-dense spring vegetable is also a great source of Thiamine. 1 cup of asparagus stalks will cover 12.7% of your daily need.
- Spinach – Yet another reason to add spinach to your diet! 1 cup of cooked spinach provides 11.3% of your daily Vitamin B1 need. If you’re not a fan of spinach by itself, try adding it to smoothies – you’ll be surprised at how much of it you’ll be able to eat.
- Pineapple – A cup of pineapple pieces will provide you with 8.7% of your daily need. This is a great reason to end your meal with some juicy slices, or using pineapples to prepare an exotic smoothie.
- Oranges – Just one fruit provides you with 7.3% of your daily Thiamine need, making oranges a great snack to have on the go. Also, you can try adding orange slices to salads – delicious!
What else do you need to know about the consumption of vitamin B1?
The adequate absorption of Thiamin requires a good supply of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, so it is important that you get good overall nutrition from whole foods – for which the Paleo Diet is a great solution.
So, what do you think – are you going to include more B1-rich foods into your diet? Maybe you have good recipes to share for using these specific foods? Do share in the comments!
If you want to ensure you keep your body healthy, it is important to consume the right foods with plenty of the essential vitamins required for a healthy lifestyle. One of these vitamins is Thiamin, which is the water soluble vitamin B. The function of Thiamine in the body is to help our cells produce energy and it is imperative in order for our hearts, muscles and nervous system to function properly. Thiamin improves the contraction of muscles and also increased fertility in adults. It is also essential for children as it helps to improve the immune system from a very early age.
There are many notable signs that you may not be consuming enough Thiamin in your body. If your immune system is weak and you suffer from a lot of colds and flus, it may be due to a deficiency in Thiamin. As Thiamin is found in such a high number of different foods, it is quite rare to be deficient in this vitamin but it is quite common in alcoholics. It can also lead to a loss of weight and problems with the cardiovascular and nervous system. If you are consuming too much Thiamin, it can also have negative effects on the body, although these may not be as noticeable as consuming too little. It is recommended that females have around 0.8mg of Thiamin, while males have 1mg. The recommended intake should be lower for children, so it is worth checking before you consume foods with Thiamin.
There are many foods on the Paleo diet which can help you to improve your intake of Thiamin. If you can manage to eat it, offal is a really good source of Thiamin and you can easily incorporate this into your daily meals if you don’t want to eat it as it comes. It is also found in high quantities in meat, such as beef and pork, which is why the Paleo diet is one of the healthiest to follow as it encourages the consumption of these food groups. It is always a good idea to ensure you are not consuming too much of this as otherwise, you won’t feel the full benefits.
If you enjoy eating your snacks on the Paleo diet, you will find that nuts and seeds act as a good source of Thiamin so consume these in moderation and you will soon notice the results. It is also found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including asparagus, cauliflower and oranges. Eggs are also a good source of Thiamin and are a good choice to eat for your breakfast, as it will set you up for the rest of the day.
Thiamin is a source of vitamin B which is very sensitive to heat which means it can be easily destroyed during the cooking and preparation of food. A good method to use to get the most from it is to ensure you always cook your Thiamin rich foods for as little time as possible, as you will get the full benefits from it. There are other foods which you may want to add to your meals to absorb the Thiamin, including garlic and onions. These will also make them taste a lot better in the process.
As part of any healthy diet it is vital to consume a full range of the right nutrients and vitamins, which is why the Paleo diet is the healthiest to follow. If you are feeling lethargic and in need of a boost to your immune system, Thiamin will help you to feel much healthier and will improve your appearance. You can also find Thiamin in supplements, but it is much better to try and get this from the foods you intake.
As long as you follow the Paleo diet strictly, you will be at your healthiest as you are consuming a wide range of different foods which offer a number of different benefits to the body. No matter what stage of life you start the Paleo diet, whether young or old, you will notice the difference in how you look and feel quite quickly. It is a great diet to ensure you are getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals from your foods. It is important to just keep an eye on your intake of each of the nutrients, so you are getting the maximum possible benefits from your food.