We live in a nutritionally deficient world. In an era of processed meals, fast food drive-throughs, and packaged gobbledy gook, it is a rare occurrence for us to glean all of our daily vitamins and minerals needed for vibrant health.
Vitamins are essential building blocks for good health; if your diet is well-balanced and varied, you likely cover most of your essential bases with the food and drink that you are consuming. If you are like most Americans, however, your diet is lacking in areas that make it difficult to meet daily vitamin requirements.
Vitamins are needed for several vital functions in the body, including:
- Growth of tissues
- Repair and rejuvenation
- Cell detoxification and function
They help to boost your immunity and fight off disease. As wonderful as it would be if our bodies were to generate essential vitamins on their own, the reality is that we need to get many of them from food.
How to know if you are vitamin deficient
If you lack vitamins and minerals for an extended period of time, you may experience a nutrient deficiency. Deficiencies can affect your health, and you will experience uncomfortable symptoms and side effects. Some of these nutrient-deficient side effects include:
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Muscle cramps
- Weakness and muscle aches
- Memory loss
- Mouth lesions and sores
- Poor night vision
- Dandruff, skin issues
If you experience dizziness, weakness, or fatigue for an extended period of time, make an appointment with your doctor to ensure that you are not experiencing another life-threatening condition.
What vitamins do I need?
The following list is a baseline for what your daily vitamin intake should be. Eating a variety of high-quality foods should be sufficient for getting daily requirements:
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is needed for healthy immune system function, clear and healthy vision, and a reproductive system that is working properly. Vitamin A also helps organs such as the heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys to function optimally.
2. Vitamin B1
Vitamin B1, otherwise known as thiamin, helps to protect the nervous system against free radical damage. It also strengthens the heart, muscles, brain, stomach, and intestines.
3. Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 plays a vital role in helping break down food into usable energy that the body can assimilate. Riboflavin breaks down carbohydrates and convert them into ATP, keeping the eyes, skin, and muscles healthy and in tip top shape.
4. Vitamin B3
Niacin, or B3, is needed by virtually every system of the body in order to function well. Niacin helps to lower cholesterol, boost brain function, and prevent heart disease. In Type 1 diabetics, it is used as a powerful protectant of compromised pancreas cells, helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Niacin must be taken in proper doses to prevent serious side effects and complications, including:
- Skin rashes
- Stomach and intestinal damage
- Liver damage
- Damage to the optic nerves
5. Vitamin B5
Vitamin B5 is needed for regenerating blood cells, converting food into energy, and protecting cells against free radical damage. It stimulates healthy digestion, improves the texture of skin and hair, and regulates the release of various hormones in the body.
6. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is essential for proper regulation of the metabolism, as well as to maintain and protect the health of several vital organs in the body, including the heart, liver, lungs, and brain. In addition, B6 plays an important role in the production of melatonin, which helps to regulate waking and sleep cycles.
7. Vitamin B7
Many systems of the body benefit from the assimilation of B7, including the nerves, skin, digestive tract, hair, skin, and nails. It is also needed for the formation of fatty acids and glucose, which are both used as sources of energy for the body.
8. Vitamin B9
Vitamin B9 is required for proper metabolization of food. In addition, it can help improve nervous system function, protect cells from free radical damage, and help to rebuild tissues. B9 also plays a critical role in maintaining mental and emotional health.
9. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 helps to build healthy nerve tissue and blood cells. It is a fundamental building block of DNA, the genetic map for all of life. B12 also helps to safeguard the health of the digestive tract and keep it from succumbing to different pathogens that invade the body.
10. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant, helping to protect cells from free radical damage. Vitamin C is also needed to produce collagen, a vital protein that is required to allow all wounds to heal. Vitamin C gives the immune system a much-needed boost, helping you to stay healthy all year round.
11. Vitamin D
Your body needs vitamin D for calcium absorption and bone development. Deficiencies in D are linked to several diseases, including breast cancer, colon and prostate cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Getting enough vitamin D is essential fo overall health and wellness.
12. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant superpower; it helps to strengthen the immune system and help protect it against free radical damage. Vitamin E also helps to lubricate joints and tissues in the body, helping everything to function more smoothly.
13. Vitamin K
Vitamin K plays a vital role in healthy blood clotting. Vitamin K also helps to boost bone growth, regulates metabolism, and helps to regulate and improve blood pressures. Newborns receive a vitamin K injection to begin the process of making clotting more efficient.
How do I go about getting these essential vitamins?
Not to worry–you don’t have to spend your entire day eating quality foods and keeping track of vitamin and mineral content to keep yourself healthy. The following food list will give you a good idea of where to start to begin incorporating healthy foods into your diet and getting your vitamin intake from food first:
- Vitamin A–carrots, cantaloupe, apricots
- B1–lean meats, nuts, whole grains
- B2–dairy products, green leafy vegetables
- B3–legumes, fish, poultry
- B5–broccoli, sweet potatoes, mushrooms
- B6–avocado, banana, nuts
- B7–pork, nuts, semi-sweet chocolate
- B9–beets, lentils, peanut butter
- B12–shellfish, eggs, mlk
- C–citrus fruit, strawberries, Brussels sprouts
- D–fatty fish, whole milk
- E–mango, asparagus, vegetable oils
- K–cauliflower, kale, beef
If you don’t feel you can adequately incorporate these foods into your diet, consider the use of a comprehensive multi-vitamin to fill in your nutritional gaps. Taking responsibility for your health is an exciting adventure–see what steps you can take today to improve your health and begin living the life of your dreams! Call us now at 205-352-9141.