The complex human body needs hundreds of vitamins, minerals and supplements to function healthily. Here are ten of the most important vitamins and minerals, and what foods will provide them.
Although only needed in tiny quantities, magnesium supports more than 300 functions in the body. It can be found in whole-grain bread, spinach, broccoli, nuts and legumes. It helps maintain lower blood pressure, improves vision in those diagnosed with glaucoma and protects the brain from damage by heavy metals in the bloodstream.
Zinc is found in animal products, oysters and nuts. It helps the body to heal, boosts immunity and has been shown to support a healthy prostate.
The body needs calcium for strong bones and teeth. Taking 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day is particularly important to help prevent bone loss and osteoporosis. It is found mainly in dairy products including low-fat and fat-free options. It is also found to a lesser extent in dark green leafy vegetables. Most people have problems getting sufficient calcium from their diet, so top up with IVL Calcium Complex or the Calcium Magnesium and Zinc supplement with vitamin D.
As well as aiding the absorption of calcium supplements, vitamin D supports the immune system. Those not living in a sunny climate, when the body naturally produces vitamin D, should take a supplement of 600-800 IUs. It is also found in oily fish and fortified foods such as cereals and milk.
Vitamin A has many important roles in promoting healthy eyes and skin, it also supports the immune system. Along with vitamins C and E, vitamin A fights the damage from free radicals in the body.
Commonly found in citrus fruits, peppers and leafy green vegetables, vitamin C is important for fighting disease and lowering blood pressure. You simply cannot get too much of this vitamin, so consider adding a vitamin C supplement to your natural intake.
Known as the “elixir of youth”, vitamin E provides far more than just superficial benefits. It fights illness, prevents heart attacks and lessens the effects of aging. Eat generous amounts of avocados, olive oil, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and nuts to top up your vitamin E.
Vitamin B9, more commonly known as folic acid, is important for brain function and helps prevent heart disease. It is found in liver, kidneys, yeast and leafy green vegetables. Although it is important to all age groups, it is particularly required by pregnant mums and seniors.
All the B vitamins play an important role in a healthy body but B12 is particularly diverse. It maintains healthy nerve cells and red blood cells as well as being necessary to make DNA. Meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products are a good natural source of B12. However, as we age our bodies absorb less B12, making it wise to add a supplement in later life.
Eating poultry, beans, fish, wheat germ and bananas will provide the body with B6 for clear brain functions and enhanced mood.
Eating a balanced diet topped up with these essential vitamins and minerals will help you maintain the best possible health.