Vitamins and minerals are nutrients that your body needs to be healthy, strong, and function properly. Some vitamins support your immune system while others can help you to see more clearly! You don’t necessarily need to take a pill to reap their health benefits, though. Many foods are packed with the nutrients!
Here are some of the essential vitamins and minerals you need, why you need them, and how you can get them naturally:
As you most likely know, calcium maintains strong, healthy bones and teeth. As we age, calcium is important to prevent osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to break easily. The mineral also assists nerve signaling, blood pressure, and muscle function. Get your calcium fix with milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products. Don’t fret if you’re lactose intolerant; you can get the mineral from broccoli and dark green vegetables! Many other foods are now fortified with calcium as well.
Iron is important for the body to maintain proper functioning of red blood cells to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. This mineral also helps your muscles store and use the oxygen! Keeping normal levels of iron prevents anemia, which causes weakness, fatigue, an increased heartbeat, and so on. Foods rich in iron include seafood, nuts, lean meats, beans, raisins, and leafy vegetables.
Vitamin A isn’t just good for your vision; it keeps your immune system strong and skin healthy! The vitamin is essential for the growth and development of cells. Like your mother said, carrots are packed with vitamin A. Other sources include milk, eggs, sweet potatoes, green vegetables, and orange fruits.
For low blood pressure and steady heart rhythms, potassium is key. Potassium maintains the balance of water in the blood and body tissues, too! Not having enough potassium in your body can cause muscle weakness, bloating, abdominal pain, and of course, cramps. To get more potassium in your diet, reach for bananas, broccoli, raisins, oranges, milk, and legumes like peas.
This powerful vitamin can prevent and reduce colds. It helps form collagen, which holds your cells together and helps with wound healing. Vitamin C also builds strong bones, teeth, and blood vessels. While you might not be concerned about scurvy, a severe vitamin C deficiency, get your dose of the vitamin in citrus fruits, berries, green peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, and spinach.
Help your muscles and nerves to work properly by getting enough magnesium. This mineral also makes proteins and helps your body create energy! Too little of it can cause sleepiness, nausea, and even seizures. Halibut, whole grains, seeds, potatoes, avocadoes, and chocolate are all rich in magnesium.
A bone-building vitamin, vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. In fact, it controls both the absorption and excretion of calcium. What’s unique about this vitamin is that your body makes it when your skin gets sunlight. So spend some time outside this summer—safely—to soak up some vitamin D! You can also find vitamin D in egg yolks, salmon, mushrooms, and fortified foods like milk and orange juice.
At Labtest Diagnostics, we have a variety of tests and panels that can identify if you’re lacking these essential vitamins and minerals—like anemia panels, calcium tests, and complete nutritional panels. To schedule an appointment, call us at 314.LAB.TEST or visit our website at www.dlabtest.com.