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Today I would like to talk about vitamins and minerals, as they are an essential part of staying healthy.
The foods you choose to eat have everything to do with the amount of vitamins and minerals you get, and consequently whether you need to take a vitamin supplement.
I’ll talk about the essential vitamins and minerals, the foods to eat to get them, and if you should be taking a vitamin supplement.
Let’s get started!
There are 13 vitamins that your body needs on a regular basis to function at its peak.
The 13 essential vitamins are: A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyroxidine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin).
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are stored in the fatty tissue of the body until they are needed. The other vitamins, which are water-soluble, enter the bodies systems and are used as needed, or just expelled through the excretory system.
Along with the minerals in the body, vitamins perform hundreds of functions in the body from shoring up bones, to healing wounds, and bolstering your immune system. They also keep your nerves healthy and help your body get the energy it needs form the food you eat.
There are 16 minerals that your body also needs. Five of these minerals are found in substantial quantities in the human body, and the other nine are called “trace” minerals, as there is only a trace amount of them in the body.
The five essential minerals are: calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and magnesium. The other, non-essential minerals are: sulfur, chloride, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, selenium, molybdenum, chromium, and fluoride.
Let’s take a look at the essential vitamins and minerals, what they do and how to get them from our food.
Vitamin A is also known as Retinal and is important for your vision (can prevent night blindness), your immune system, and your skin. It can be found in orange fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and oranges, green leafy vegetables, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B1 helps turn carbs into energy and is good for the health of your nervous system. It can be found in black beans, lentils, sunflower seeds, and tuna.
Vitamin B2 helps to improve your complexion, and assists your body to break down fat, protein, and carbs. It can be found in lean meats, and green vegetables.
Vitamin B5 assist s the body in making blood cells, and helps convert food to energy. There are a variety of great sources of B5, including eggs, fish, broccoli, avocado, mushrooms, shellfish, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B6 can be found in beans, red meat, nuts, eggs, spinach, and fish and helps improve brain function, nerve function, and red cell production.
Vitamin B7 benefits many systems in the body, including the hair, the skin, the digestive tract, the cells, and your metabolism. It can be found in vegetables, nuts, eggs, and soybeans.
Vitamin B9 assists the body in converting food to energy, and also helps the body use stored fats and proteins for energy. B9 can be found in dark, leafy vegetables, asparagus, beans, lentils, oranges, strawberries, eggs, and cheese.
Vitamin B12 also assists with red cell production and improves the nervous system function. It can be found in eggs, poultry, fish, and red meat.
Some good sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits, berries, and tomatoes, as well as spinach, broccoli, and peppers. Vitamin C is important for the growth and maintenance of all body tissue and the healing of wounds. (Note: I have found that a lack of vitamin C leads to more hangnails).
Vitamin D is found in eggs, salmon, and the sun! Vitamin D assists with calcium absorption and keeps our bones and teeth strong.
If you eat a variety of nuts, vegetables, and grains, you should get enough Vitamin E to protect your cells and produce red blood cells.
The final essential vitamin is Vitamin K. Eating collard greens, kale, and spinach will give you sufficient levels of Vitamin K to allow your blood to clot properly. Vitamin K also comes from eggs.
We will only discuss the essential minerals here, since we can get the trace minerals in an amount necessary for their function to assist the body from the other foods we are eating.
Calcium is an essential mineral for life. It keeps the bones and teeth healthy, allows our blood to clot, allows our muscles to contract, and allows our heart to beat. About 99% of the calcium in the body is in our bones and teeth. Good sources of calcium are green, leafy vegetables, soy beans, tofu, and nuts.
Phosphorous is used by the body to help bones and teeth grow and stay strong. It is also used to assist with the conversion of food to energy, and the maintenance and repair of cells and tissue. It can be found in meat, poultry, fish, nuts, and beans.
Potassium is another important mineral in the body. It helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals. It may also help regulate blood pressure and water retention and protect against stroke, osteoporosis, and kidney disease. Potassium is found in bananas, oranges, apricots, honeydew melon, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, peas, and cucumbers. It can also be found in zucchini, eggplant, pumpkins, and leafy greens.
Sodium helps balance the water in and around your cells and is essential for muscle and nerve function. It may also help stabilize your blood pressure. It can be found in any foods with added salt, such as salted nuts. You only need 1,5 grams of sodium per day, so when you add it to your foods, go easy.
Magnesium regulates muscle function throughout the body, including the heart muscle, It is important for cardiovascular health as it helps maintain the rhythm of the heart, regulates blood pressure, and assists in the production of good cholesterol. It can be found in green, leafy vegetables, fruits (figs, avocado, banana, raspberries), nuts and seeds, vegetables, and seafood.
Milk is often listed as a source of vitamins and minerals, but you need to remember that the sole purpose of milk is to fatten up the baby cows. There is no inherent goodness in milk for humans. All the vitamins and minerals are added during processing, so drinking milk is similar to taking a vitamin,
It is obvious to me that all these vitamins and minerals can be accessed by the body if we eat a healthy diet that consists of lots of whole foods and some free-range and grass fed meats and eggs.
Give the body the healthy foods it needs and your body will reward you with health and energy.
Remember, you are what you eat and you are what you eat eats!
If you are eating a healthy diet of whole foods, there is no need to take a vitamin and mineral supplement.
That being said, most people do net eat as well as they should, so perhaps a supplement is a good idea. Your body will use what it can from the pill and get rid of the rest.
Remember, a vitamin tablet is a poor substitute for a healthy diet!
It is probably better to take a vitamin supplement in powder form, mixed with water or juice, as your body will more readily absorb the nutrients needed.
Although there is no harm in taking them, there is actually no benefit, according to some studies.
The choice is yours. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, get some sun, and exercise, and you can save your n=money by not taking vitamins that may just end up getting flushed!
All you ever wanted to know about vitamins and minerals. Probably more than you wanted to know,
Remember, if a health professional is telling you something different than I am, listen to them. I present my opinion here for your entertainment and interest. I am not a professional.
As always, if you have questions or comments about my opinions, please leave them below.
Also, if you are a father (or mother) (or anyone for that matter) who would like an easy to follow program that includes a menu and work out information, check out this article from a few months ago.
Thanks for listening.
See you in the next post.
Have a great day!