Vitamins and Minerals: Part 1

Vitamins are important, but we can’t expect to get everything from a pill.  They should be used as a supplement to our food.  The best way to get all the nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and everything our body needs to survive is through a healthy diet.  Here are some helpful tips about vitamins when trying to increase the bioavailability within your food.  We’ll only touch a few vitamins and minerals this month, but come back to learn more about other vitamin and supplements!

Iron

There are two types of iron found in our food:  heme and non-heme iron.  Heme iron can be found in meat, fish, and poultry, while non-heme iron can be found generally in plants.  Have you tried to give blood, only to be denied since you didn’t have enough iron in your blood?  Women  usually have this problem.  You can double or triple your absorption of iron by introducing foods with Vitamin C in your diet!  Also keep in mind that calcium and iron can have an antagonistic effect to each other.  This mainly applies when you’re taking them as a supplement, so make sure to have them at different times during the day.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin.  It has many benefits to our body, such as protection from free radicals that can damage cell DNA.  It also helps strengthen your immune system, and can increase HDL cholesterol levels.  Vitamin C can be found easily in citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, kale, and collard greens.

Calcium

Calcium is important to bone health, but calcium ions are also used in muscle contractions, nerve signaling and the release of hormones.  If you don’t get enough, your body will take it from your bones, which can lead to osteoporosis.  Some sources of calcium are dairy products, legumes, almonds, salmon, sardines, blackstrap molasses and dark green, leafy vegetables.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential in calcium absorption.  It also has been known to help prevent cancer, type 1 diabetes, and other chronic illness.  On top of all that, it has been known to help boost the immune system in certain articles.  The best way to get Vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight a few times per week, without sunscreen.  It can also be found in tuna and salmon, but you can also get it in fortified foods, like milk and cereal.  Remember that Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin.  When taking fat soluble vitamins, try to eat foods rich in fiber later in the day.


References

http://www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/vitamins/eat-vitamins

http://www.northwestpharmacy.com/healthperch/vitamins-in-your-food/

http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/nutrition/calcium.html

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