Winter Irritability

Dispositions Smoothed by Protective Foods

BY ETHEL HEABERLIN, B. S.

Foods and Diet Editor

 

                Streamlining has come to stay—but have you streamlined your disposition for speed, comfort, and economy of effort? Psychologists tell us that dispositions are similar to trains; “A man can go farther and faster on half the energy he once used if his disposition follows the principle of streamlining.” The contour of the disposition should be smooth, purposeful lines curved into a form that offers the least resistance to life and to people. Perhaps you have noticed just before vacation time or in the long winter months, the great number of minor offenses which assume major proportions. That gay, pert, and saucy telephone girl of last September may be plain sassy in February! Or how many backstair’s speeches have you composed about that sour-puss, otherwise known as your employer?

And so the list of irritations grow. But just what is the basis of that desired smooth disposition? Health, of course, both mental and physical. The foods that we eat are the best medicines for preserving and restoring health. Some foods build and repair tissues, others give us heat and energy, and there are those foods containing vitamins which give that super-touch of protectiveness against disease. Vitamin discovery is of this century and the chemists have much work left to be done in order to isolate chemically each vitamin. Vitamins, however, are still a mystery to most of us. What are their names and why, where can each be found,  what are their purposes, are a few of the questions asked concerning them. Funk in 1911 gave the name vitamine to apply to a substance he had found necessary to life, and which he wrongly thought belonged to the group  of chemical substances called amines. Drummond suggested the present terminology with the dropping of the final e so that the term should have no chemical significance.

A brief table will best show names and uses of vitamins:

A—anti-infective. Described by McCollum, Davis, Osborne and Mendel in 1913. Milk fats, as butter, cream, cream cheese and cod liver oil are excellent sources.

B—divided into two parts; one part known as B, B1, or F, the other part called G. B is anti-neuritic, G is the pellagra preventive. Both fractions aid in growth. Richest sources are whole cereals, nuts, vegetables, milk, eggs, and some fruits.

C—specific for scurvy. Latent scurvy shows up as irritableness, retarded growth, tooth defects, sallow skin, and loss of energy. Widely distributed in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially oranges, lemons, tomatoes, and pineapple.

D—anti-rachitic. Cod liver oil and ultra violet ray treatment supply this vitamin effectively. There is just a moderate amount in egg yolk, whole milk, butter fat, and some green vegetables. Tolle and Nelson in their reports in a chemical journal state: “From the data obtained on vitamin D content of the oil in canned salmon, it is apparent that there is more vitamin D in the canned salmon sold in this country that in the cod liver oil used both for human and animal feeding.”

E—the anti-sterility factor necessary for reproduction. This vitamin is widely distributed in natural foods, but is especially found in wheat embryo, yellow corn, cotton seed, and green leaves.

How should the housewife best preserve vitamins in her cookery of foodstuffs? Three of these vitamins are water-soluble, B, C, and G; A, D and E are fat-soluble. All the vitamins except C are fairly stable to heat and oxidation. Vitamin C is rapidly destroyed by heat and oxidation together, also by drying and aging. Many commercial canners have issued bulletins which principally concern tomatoes and these indicate that if oxidation is avoided, the vitamin C content is quite stable. Authorities have stated that one ounce of orange or tomato juice daily or one pound of cooked cabbage or potato would furnish enough vitamin C to prevent scurvy in man. For full health, however, it is wiser to include in the diet a larger amount of foods containing vitamin C. children whose diet consists of meat, mashed potato, gravy, crackers, white bread, cake, and candy, and but very little fruits, vegetables, and milk, frequently are high strung and irritable. Latent scurvy may be one of the causes of this condition, and vitamin B deficiency another cause, for lack of this vitamin results in loss of appetite, fatigue, and nervousness.

Since at this time our interest has been chiefly a desire to streamline our dispositions and be ready for spring without a tonic, vitamin B with its component G and vitamin C have held the limelight in this discussion. However, a menu including a fresh citrus fruit preferably, a leafy vegetable, a cooked vegetable other than potato and meat or eggs will adequately insure a sufficient vitamin supply. Our dispositions will have then a sound basis to work out the streamline principle.