Most of the vitamins and minerals you need to function normally can be found in the food you eat every day. Unfortunately, we are not perfect and neither are our diets! Things happen, you get busy, the kids have to go to soccer games, and you have to help your mother out with another project. Pizza gets ordered, breakfast goes uneaten, and you end up not getting all those nutrients your body needs.
First, let’s talk about the difference between vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins help give you energy from the food you eat as well as develop red blood cells and keep your hair, skin and eyes healthy. Your body needs vitamins to function normally. Minerals are nutrients that help form things like your bones and teeth, blood clots, and muscle contractions. Only some of those are needed for the human body.
Minerals are extremely important for overall health and growth in your body. At least one mineral can be found in each food group, meaning with a balanced diet you can consume all the minerals you need.
There are two types of minerals that you need: macronutrients and trace minerals. Macronutrients (calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, potassium) are minerals that you need in much larger quantities, and trace minerals (iron, copper, iodine, zinc, fluoride, selenium) are needed in much smaller quantities.
Moms know better than anyone that it’s difficult to pack in all your nutrients just from your food. Luckily, we’re familiar with over the counter multivitamins — especially helpful are the adult gummy vitamins for those of us whose stomachs can’t tolerate pills. But what’s the point of taking those multivitamins in the first place? Let’s take a closer look.
Vitamin B6 covers six different vitamins and is important to build red blood cells (hemoglobin), and it also helps to metabolize food and stabilize your blood sugar levels. Plus, it helps to make antibodies that can fight disease in your body. Vitamin B6 can be found in various meats or proteins, but is also plentiful in chickpeas — great news if you’re a vegetarian!
Vitamin B12 helps preserve DNA integrity and is also vital for the nervous system. You can find vitamin B12 in meat, fish, shellfish, breakfast cereals and dairy products. The body tends to absorb animal sources of the vitamin better than plant sources.
Vitamin C is great for the formation of collagen as well as aiding in the absorption of iron. Vitamin C can be found in most citrus fruits as well as broccoli, tomatoes, and spinach. Click here for 10 foods that have more vitamin C than oranges!
Vitamin D is a pretty unique vitamin; you can get the majority of this vitamin from sun rays. It’s known for strengthening the bones because it allows them to absorb calcium. Other sources of calcium include salmon, milk and egg yolks.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals and protects your cells from further damage. It can be found in avocado and most nuts and oils.
How do you get your vitamins and minerals? Share in the comments below.
>> For more info on vitamins, minerals and supplements, check out our Glossary of Supplements!