Ever wonder about all the different vitamins and minerals and why you need them? Or maybe you’re curious about which foods contain certain essential vitamins and minerals. Below is a menu of various vitamins and minerals and an explanation of how to eat to get them into your diet.
Vitamin A – This helps fight infections, aids vision, helps jawbone and tooth formation, keeps skin clear and helps to keep the reproductive organs healthy.
Where to find it – Various fruits, liver, butter, whole milk, cheese, egg yolks, yellow vegetables, spinach, beet greens, carrots and turnips
Vitamin B – Responsible for helping enzymes release energy from food, promotes healthy metabolism, gives cells oxygen, detoxifies organs, prevents defective vision and stabilizes nervous system function.
Where to find it – Fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans.
Vitamin C – Plays a role in controlling infections and healing wounds. Works as an antioxidant and neutralizes free radicals, which are byproducts of oxygen metabolism that may contribute to the development of cancer and heart disease. Helps make collagen for healthy bones, teeth, gums and blood vessels.
Where to find it – Citrus fruits, berries, green and red peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and spinach.
Vitamin D – Often called the “sunshine” vitamin because that is the best way to get it. Helps the body use calcium and phosphorus, which helps form strong bones, teeth and healthy skin. Too little Vitamin D increases the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, certain cancers, multiple sclerosis and infectious diseases such as the flu and tuberculosis.
Where to find it – Dairy products and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.
Vitamin E – Protects red blood cells and may play a role in the body’s immune function. Diets rich in Vitamin E may help lower the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
Where to find it – Sunflower seeds and other nuts and oils, turnip greens, spinach, tomato paste and avocados.
Calcium – It is essential for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion.
Where to get it – Milk, yogurt, cheese, Chinese cabbage, kale and broccoli.
Iron – Iron deficiency results in limited oxygen delivery to the cells which results in fatigue and decreased immunity.
Where to get it – Dried beans and peas, lentils, whole grain products, baked potatoes with skin, dark leafy vegetables and dried fruit.
Magnesium – Helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system and keeps bones strong. Helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and aids in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Magnesium is also thought to help with preventing and managing hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Where to get it – Spinach, legumes, nuts and seeds and whole unrefined grains.
Selenium – Helps to prevent cellular damage from free radicals, regulates thyroid function and supports a healthy immune system.
Where to get it – Plant foods, some meats and seafood and some nuts.
Zinc – Lack of zinc leads to poor night vision and decreased wound healing, decreased taste and smell, reduced ability to fight infections and poor development of reproductive organs.
Where to get it – Whole grains, legumes, nuts, wheat germ, mushrooms, peas, dairy foods and eggs.