The body needs its regular dose of vitamins and minerals in order to function properly. We can get nutrients from what we eat and it is important to develop a healthy diet in order to ensure our body gets the right nourishment. Having a versatile diet is key and incorporating a balanced combination of vegetables, fruits, and meat while also following a daily workout routine can help ensure our body maintains its peak physical condition while also reducing the risk of ailments.
What are Vitamins and Minerals?
Think of the human body as a factory that operates 24/7. Every second our body builds and strengthens our bones develops our muscles and produces new skin. The heart delivers blood throughout our body which carries all the nutrients and oxygen needed to keep our organs and muscles functioning properly.
Think of vitamins and minerals as the fuel our body needs in order to operate. In fact, our body needs at least 30 different types of vitamins and minerals which it takes from the food we eat as our body cannot produce sufficient amount on its own.
Vitamins and minerals are the key ingredients in developing the body as well. It is not just for giving us energy and keeping our immune system strong, it is also used to help develop bones and heal injuries. However, seeing as there are literally more than 2 dozen vitamins and minerals our body needs it can a little daunting to plan out a proper diet.
What do Vitamins and Minerals Do?
I will list down the key essential nutrients our body needs to help you get a clearer understanding of the inner workings of our body.
Vitamin A – This nutrient focuses on strengthening bones, teeth, mucous membranes, improved eyesight, healthier skin, and hair, as well as improving our eye’s ability to adapt to low light conditions.
Vitamin D – This one also promotes bone and teeth development as well as normal body growth. Vitamin D also assists in boosting the body’s nervous system.
Vitamin E – This vitamin is essential for our body’s cells and can also help lower blood pressure. It is also known to help regulate our body’s calcium and protein.
Vitamin C – You are probably already familiar with vitamin C. This nutrient is vital for collagen production and boosts our body’s natural immune system.
Niacin – This nutrient focuses its benefits on the nervous system as well as the gastrointestinal tract. Niacin, combined with other vitamins, is used by the body to convert carbohydrates into energy.
Vitamin B-6 – This vitamin’s primary function is by helping the metabolism process fats and protein carbohydrates. It can also help regulate cholesterol levels and builds up hemoglobin.
Vitamins B-1 – A nutrient that helps in digestion. It aids the body in converting sugar into energy and also helps strengthen the heart muscle. It can also promote proper growth in children, reduce fatigue, and prevent fat from clogging up the arteries.
Vitamin B-2 – A key nutrient that is basically the spark that helps energize the cells. It also helps the body utilize fat, protein, and sugar.
Vitamin B-12 – Vitamin B-12 is an important ingredient in the production of red blood cells in the body. It also assists in strengthening the body’s nervous system.
Folic Acid – Folic acid is a key ingredient in order for our body to utilize our stock of vitamins A, D, E, and K. It improves general circulation of the body and can prevent cancer and heart diseases.
Calcium – Calcium is an important mineral for building a strong body as it not only aids in producing stronger bones but also helps maintain the body’s muscle and major organs like the heart. Some of the benefits that calcium gives to the body include relieving muscle pain and helping treat insomnia.
Magnesium – It helps lower blood cholesterol and also known for fighting tooth decay. Magnesium is also used to regulate the body’s temperature.
Iron – This nutrient is an essential part of cells and assists in carrying oxygen throughout the body.
Iodine – This mineral is vital to prevent goiter as it helps improve the health of the thyroid gland.
Copper – This mineral helps in enabling the body to better absorb iron. It is also known to affect skin pigments, oxidation via Vitamin C, RNA production, develops hemoglobin, produces red blood cells, and affects hair color.
Zinc – This mineral helps regulate cholesterol levels and assist the body in absorbing B-vitamins. Zinc is also known to help produce insulin and enzymes, metabolize carbohydrates, keeps prostate gland functioning properly, and increases the body’s resistance to prostate cancer. It also gives hair the shiny and smooth appearance.
Sodium Fluoride – This mineral primarily affects the development of teeth. It improves the integrity of teeth and prevents the cariogenic microbial process.
Where to Get Vitamins and Minerals?
Obviously, the food we eat will be the primary source of vitamins and minerals. But the question is which fruit, vegetable or meat offers the specific vitamins our body needs?
Calcium is an essential nutrient that our body needs in order to maintain strong bones and teeth. During our developmental years as a child, calcium was vital to make sure our body grew and develops properly. As adults, we need calcium in order to maintain bone mass. The recommended calcium intake for adults is around 1,136 milligrams per day.
We can get calcium from milk, specifically low-fat milk. Another good source of calcium includes seafood like sardines. We can also get calcium by eating oatmeal and spinach.
Potassium is essential if you wish to maintain a level of blood pressure. It is recommended that an adult should consume around 4,000 milligrams of potassium per day. Some of the best source of potassium includes banana, potatoes, beans, yogurt, and skim milk. You can also find potassium in certain fish like yellowfin tuna and cod as well as tomato-based products like tomato sauce, paste, and juice.
One of the most important vitamins our body needs, vitamin A is connected with healthy vision and cellular development and maintenance. Vitamin A can be found in meats such as liver and giblets as well as vegetables like carrots, spinach, pumpkin, and turnip greens.
This is another essential vitamin that helps improve the body’s immune system. It also assists the body in producing collagen which is the primary protein in the body’s tissue. Collagen also helps the skin retain its smoothness and elasticity.
Vitamin C sources are fruits such as pineapple, oranges, strawberries, mango, papaya, cantaloupe, kiwi, and guava. Certain vegetables can also be good sources of vitamin C like raw red and green sweet pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and brussels sprouts.
The body needs vitamin D so that it can properly absorb calcium which promotes normal growth. The thing about vitamin D is that it is actually a little difficult to find foods that contain this nutrient. The most common source of vitamin D for people is sunlight but we obviously can’t soak up the rays for prolonged periods of time as that can be quite dangerous.
Alternative sources of vitamin D include fatty fish like canned tuna and salmon. We can also get our daily dose of vitamin D by drinking fortified products like milk, yogurt, cereal, and orange juice. Swiss cheese also offers vitamin D although at minute amounts.
This is an antioxidant which helps cleanse our body of harmful chemicals and free radicals which can damage the body over time. If you want to detox your body, vitamin E will definitely help you along the way.
Some of the most common sources of Vitamin E include nuts and seeds like almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and peanuts. Peanut butter also contains vitamin E. As for fruits and vegetables, you can try avocados and spinach for your vitamin E fix. Tomato-based products are also good sources of vitamin E.
Vitamin and Minerals Supplements
For some people, some of the sources of vitamins and minerals I listed above are either difficult to acquire or are quite expensive. An alternative you can choose is by taking nutritional supplements. You can buy this at your local drug store and are over-the-counter purchases so no need for a doctor’s receipt.
Supplements are specifically designed to offer certain vitamins and minerals. Of course, there are multivitamin supplements that cover the entire nutritional spectrum. However, if you have a specific vitamin deficiency then you can take supplements that offer the necessary nutrients your body needs.
The Importance of Healthy Eating
A healthy lifestyle is one sure fire way to guarantee that you live a long and healthy life. A balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and the proper amount of meat is a good start. Including daily exercises into your routine and avoiding hazardous vices like smoking will further strengthen the foundations of your health.
It goes without saying that eating healthy food and mostly avoiding junk foods will help improve your day to day living. The vitamins and minerals that we get from fruits and vegetables allow our body to operate at peak conditions. It also helps us avoid ailments from the simple cold to more serious conditions like heart diseases and cancer. There really is no downside when it comes to having a healthy diet.
Not only can eating healthy improve our overall health, it can also help us control our weight better. One important aspect of eating healthy is considering the amount of calorie you consume to the amount you burn per day. Fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of calorie which is why they are ideal proponents of a weight loss plan.
Vitamins and minerals are essential to maintaining our body’s health and functionality. Keep in mind that our body needs a complex collection of nutrients. For example, besides the vitamins and minerals, I listed above our body also needs a healthy dose of fiber which helps maintain our digestive system. If you feel there is something wrong in your body I highly recommend you consult with a doctor as soon as possible. If you plan on using supplements, again, consult with a doctor first to make sure there won’t be any unforeseen side effects in the future.