Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that work together to assist us in our day-to-day bodily functions and activities.
They help to heal wounds, build bones, strengthen our immune system, repair cell damage, clot blood, convert food to energy, protect vision among many other health benefits.
Let's take a look at 10 main vitamins and minerals that we should incorporate into our diet on a daily basis to keep our body healthy and happy.
1. Vitamin A
Good for vision, immune system, heart health, and general growth and development – including healthy teeth and skin!
Food rich in Vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe melons, and other orange foods which get their colour from the carotene pigment.
2. B Vitamins
B Vitamins include B6, B12, riboflavin, niacin – just to name a few. These vitamins are good for energy production, iron absorption, and help to fight diseases and support the immune system.
Whole unprocessed foods have a rich source of B Vitamins. These include whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili peppers, beans, yeast, and molasses.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is well known for its deterrence to the common cold and flu. However, besides that, it also has a strong antioxidant function, strengthens blood vessels, and gives the skin its elasticity!
Foods that are packed with Vitamin C include oranges, guava, kiwi, red and green peppers, Brussel sprouts, grapefruits, strawberries and cantaloupe melons.
4. Vitamin D
This is one of the few vitamins that your body naturally produces, but there’s a caveat – it requires you getting out in the sun! Vitamin D is good for cell growth and calcium absorption which essentially gives you strong and healthy bones!
Besides spending a few minutes in the sun each day to generate Vitamin D, you can get this nutrient from eggs, fish, and mushroom too!
5. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is best for blood clotting and coagulation. However, for heart patients who are on blood thinner medications, do check with your doctors on the amount of Vitamin K you can consume.
The richest source of Vitamin K can be found in leafy greens such as kale, spinach, Brussel sprouts, and broccolis.
Zinc plays a critical role in the immune function, as well as protein formation, and nervous system health. It also aids in fertility.
Foods that are rich in zinc include oysters, spinach, cashews, beans, and dark chocolates (yay!).
Iron, which is found in hemoglobin (a protein found in red blood cell), is used to transport oxygen to various tissues. That is also the reason why blood which has been exposed to air smells like rust. Iron is also good for building muscles naturally and maintaining healthy blood.
Maintain healthy hemoglobin levels by eating iron-rich food such as clams, oysters, organ meats like liver, soybeans, cereals, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and lentils.
Potassium is part of every cell in the body and is required to maintain fluid balance and breakdown of carbohydrates. It also keeps your brain, nerves, heart, and muscles functioning normally on a daily basis, and lowers blood pressure!
Foods that are rich in potassium include sweet potatoes, potatoes, winter squashes, yogurt, bananas, cantaloupes, salmon, pork tenderloins, and raisins.
Calcium is essential for bone growth and hormonal secretions. It is also good for maintaining healthy teeth and bones, and delaying the onset of osteoporosis – a condition which your bones get brittle and fragile from loss of tissues.
Calcium can be found in most dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. If you're lactose intolerant, tofu is a calcium-rich choice.
Magnesium is an oft-overlooked mineral in an average person’s diet.
Do you know that our body uses magnesium for over 300 biochemical reactions?
Blood regulations, bone health, and nerve functionality are all tied back to this mineral. Low level of magnesium has been associated with several conditions including type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, migraines, hypertension, and etc.
Foods which are a rich source of magnesium include spinach, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, dried figs, and kefir.