Understanding Nine Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential substances that our bodies need to develop and function normally. Each one serves a unique purpose in helping each of us stay healthy. Vitamins can be consumed through a healthy eating pattern of nutrient-dense foods. However, some people take a multivitamin/multimineral (MVMs) as a dietary supplement for nutrients they aren’t getting through diet.
While the list of important vitamins and minerals is long, we’ll cover nine of them, including the benefits and foods containing each one.
- Benefits: Supports your immune system, prevents age-related eyesight decline, and is linked to the overall development and growth of bones.
- What to eat: Dairy products, as well as green or orange vegetables and fruits, such as spinach, broccoli, carrots, apricots, and mangoes.
B Vitamins (a group of eight vitamins, often called the B-complex)
- Benefits: Supports healthy metabolism, energy levels, and can even have a positive effect on your mood. They promote good muscle tone and growth of red blood cells. B vitamins are also vital for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- What to eat: Eggs, bananas, dark leafy vegetables (such as spinach), and whole grains.
- Benefits: Restores and repairs body tissues and blood vessels with antioxidants. The body also uses vitamin C to help with the absorption of iron. It’s been proven to reduce people’s risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
- What to eat: Oranges, strawberries, grapefruits, broccoli, and kiwi.
- Benefits: Vital in promoting bone health and growth. People need vitamin D to allow the intestines to stimulate and absorb calcium, and reclaim calcium that the kidneys would otherwise excrete. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to several types of cancer and depression.
- What to eat: Eggs, cheese, and some fortified foods, such as cereal, milk, and juices.
- Benefits: It serves as an excellent skin-protecting antioxidant. Vitamin E also supports the brain, vision, blood, and reproductive health. Initial research has found that taking the vitamin as a supplement can help ward off cancer and heart disease.
- What to eat: Olive oil, peanuts or peanut butter, almonds, and leafy greens.
- Benefits: It’s well known that calcium is necessary for strong teeth and bones. However, calcium also helps your blood to clot and supports heart health.
- What to eat: Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.), dark leafy greens, such as kale or broccoli, and almonds.
- Benefits: This is the synthetic form of folate (B9), which supports proper growth and development, as well as nerve and brain function. This is particularly vital for women who are pregnant, as it dramatically impacts fetus health.
- What to eat: Avocado, banana, eggs, brussel sprouts, and dark leafy greens, such as spinach or asparagus.
- Benefits: Iron helps our red blood cells transport oxygen to all parts of the body. Iron also plays an important role in specific processes within the cell that produce energy for our bodies.
- What to eat: Kidney beans, nuts, peas, baked potatoes, tofu, and fortified foods, such as cereal and bread.
- Benefits: This trace element supports a healthy immune system and is imperative for proper growth and healing.
- What to eat: Legumes (beans, lentils, and chickpeas), seed, dairy, eggs, nuts, and whole grains.