You know you need a wide range of vitamins and minerals in your diet. But you might NOT know why they are important, or how they benefit your health. Here we identify 6 essential vitamins and minerals that are key for optimal health. We answer WHY they are important, WHERE to find them in foods, and HOW they benefit your health.
We identify 6 essential vitamins and minerals that are key for optimal health. WHY they are important, WHERE to find them, and HOW they benefit your health.
If you want to keep your eyes and skin healthy, you want to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A in your diet.
There are two types of vitamin A: retinoids and carotenoids. Both are important for keeping skin, eyes, cells, and tissues healthy and for increasing immunity. Retinoids are more readily found in animal products while carotenoids are usually plant-based.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll find vitamin A in orange foods, including carrots, sweet potato, and cantaloupe. Some of the less obvious sources include kale, spinach, liver, eggs, milk, red peppers, and mangoes.
Most of us get enough vitamin A in our diet when we eat the right foods. Be wary of supplementing as too much vitamin A can be dangerous, especially if you’re pregnant. Your body stores it rather than flushing out any excess. If vitamin A levels get too high, it can be toxic. Stick to getting your vitamin A from table foods and you are all good!
This sweet potato salad is the perfect mix of sweet and spicy – https://www.popsugar.co.uk/fitness/Spicy-Sweet-Potato-Salad-Can-Help-You-Lose-Weight
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect your body against the damaging effects of free radicals. Low levels of antioxidants in the body welcome oxidative stress, which has been linked to various health issues.
Here’s a tasty recipe for an almond and raspberry shortbread – https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/10222/raspberry-and-almond-shortbread-thumbprints/
If you’ve been lacking in energy and feeling out of breath lately, it could be a sign that you’re not getting enough iron. Iron helps hemoglobin, the pigment in red blood cells, to transport oxygen around the body.
Liver is a really good source of iron but if you don’t eat meat, you’ve still got plenty of other options. Spinach, beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds can also give you an iron boost. Bonus points if you pair these foods with a vitamin C rich food allowing iron to be absorbed more easily into your system.
A good example of this combination is this sweet potato curry recipe. It is full of iron-boosting chickpeas and spinach, plus vitamin C to help with absorption.
If chronic fatigue and muscle cramps are common problems for you, it may be a sign you need to increase your magnesium intake. Many people are magnesium deficient. This is bad news because magnesium plays many key roles in the body, from heart health to protecting against osteoporosis. Consequently, you don’t want to be found short on magnesium!
Worried you’re not getting enough magnesium? You can get more of it through bananas, dark chocolate, leafy greens and pumpkin seeds. What? You’re telling me to eat chocolate? Yes! You are welcome.
These raw chocolate bars are a yummy, natural way to boost your magnesium levels – https://www.unconventionalbaker.com/recipes/magnesium-rich-dark-chocolate-bars/
Potassium is another mineral that can cause a lot of problems if you’re not getting enough of it in your diet. It helps to keep muscles and nerves healthy and is also important for your kidneys and digestive system.
Good sources of potassium include avocado, bananas, potato, sweet potato, prune, and raisins. Coconut water is another option, which often also contains other minerals such as magnesium and zinc.
These Banana and Sweet Potato Muffins are a great way to combine two potassium rich ingredients and even more beneficial, they are totally delicious – http://sweetlikecocoa.com/vegan-banana-sweet-potato-muffins/
You might be unfamiliar with chromium. Certainly, this is not unusual. Chromium plays a key role in making sure every cell in your body gets vital energy. If you don’t get enough chromium, you may get sugar cravings.
Thankfully, you won’t need to focus on any special foods to get the chromium you need. It can be found in whole grains, meat, most vegetables and some herbs.
This chicken curry recipe offers a healthy dose of meat and veggies. It is super easy to make too! https://80twentynutrition.com/recipe/curry-chicken-healthy-simple/
Eating a balanced diet full of whole foods is definitely the way to go for getting essential vitamins and minerals into your diet. Furthermore, “eating the rainbow” and loading up your plate with lots of different colors every day will go a long way toward making sure you aren’t deficient in key nutrients.