It seems many items for sale that are foodstuffs as well as liquid beverages have added vitamins, minerals or dietary supplements in them these days, have you heard the saying that “Too much of any one thing is not a good thing”…? – with vitamins and minerals including food supplements, this is most definitely true.
We do need a daily amount of these organic compounds in small quantities to sustain life as our bodies do not produce them, or not enough as is naturally required for a healthy balance and ideally they need to come from the food that we eat. Bear in mind that each and every one of us have differing vitamin (and mineral) requirements.
Ideally, we should be getting all the vitamins and minerals from a daily balanced diet – some foods are packed with them, others (including processed foods) not so much:
With vitamins and minerals there are two types of each:
Vitamins are divided into two categories; ‘water-soluble’ which means the ones that our body expels outward which it does not require, then there are the ‘fat-soluble’, leftover amounts are stored in fat cells and the liver for later use, a bit like an organic food supply that is used when needed (and can also be deficient too).
|Water-soluble vitamins:||Fat-soluble vitamins|
|B5 (Pantothenic acid)|
|B9 (Folate acid)|
|Water soluble||Fat soluble|
|B1 – acorn squash, ham, soymilk, watermelon.||A – beef, carrots, eggs, fish, liver, mango, milk (fortified), pumpkin, shrimp, spinach, sweet potato.|
|B2 – cereals, cheese, enriched grains, milk, yoghurt.||D – cereals, fatty fish, milk (fortified).|
|B3 – fish, fortified & whole grains, meat, mushrooms, poultry, potatoes.||E – leafy green vegetables, nuts, whole grains, vegetable oil.|
|B5 – avocado, broccoli, chicken, mushrooms, whole grains.||K – broccoli, cabbage, eggs, kale, milk, spinach.|
|B6 – bananas, fish, legumes, meat, poultry, soy/tofu, legumes.*|
|B7 – eggs, fish, soybeans, whole grains.|
|B9 – asparagus, broccoli, fortified cereals & grains, legumes.*, orange juice, spinach.|
|B12 – cereals, cheese, fish, milk, soymilk (fortified).|
|C – bell peppers, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, citrus fruits, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes.|
*Legumes include beans, blackeyed peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts etc.
Minerals are needed to keep our teeth and bones strong, some minerals help keep a healthy maintained regular heartbeat as well as other bodily functions – essential minerals we need include calcium, iron and potassium. Minerals are split into two categories, ‘Majors’ are the ones we need in larger amounts, the other set that are required in lower amounts are called ‘Trace’.
Ensuring how to get the exact right amounts of vitamins and mineral is no easy task but a great start is to have a broad and varied diet, make sure to have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and include nuts, whole grains, legumes and yoghurt too – you won’t have to worry about making sure to meet your daily intake needs this way.
|Minerals (Major)||Minerals (Trace)|
|Calcium – cheese, leafy green vegetables, milk, salmon, yoghurt.||Chromium – cheese, fish, meat, nuts, poultry.|
|Chloride – salt*||Copper – beans, nuts, prunes, seeds, shellfish, whole grain (products)|
|Magnesium – broccoli, legumes**, seeds, whole grain/whole wheat bread.||Flouride – fish, teas.|
|Potassium – fruits, grains, legumes**, meat, milk.||Iodine – Iodized salt, seafood.|
|Sodium – salt*, soy sauce, vegetables.||Iron – bread (fortified) eggs, fruit, green vegetables, poultry, red meat.|
|Manganese – legumes, nuts, tea, whole grain (products)|
|Selenium – chicken, beef, brazil nuts (one of the best sources), ham, pork, seafood, turkey, walnuts.|
|Zinc – legumes, meat, shellfish, whole grains.|
* salt: The healthiest is Himalayan rock salt or natural sea-salt (with no additives).
** Legumes include beans, blackeyed peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts etc.
For some with a particular deficiency boost or health condition that requires more of a particular vitamin as is required there are some exceptions – this would be on a doctors orders as you should not self diagnose. Women during pregnancy may need to take extra folic acid, vitamin D and calcium for the baby’s proper development.
It is possible to overdose on Vitamins and minerals too, an overdoes of vitamin D3 can cause facial flushing and liver problems, too much vitamin D obtained from food can cause eating problems with disorientation and coma then death.
There are other such problems like with anaemia, haemmoraging and other mild to severe ailments like fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, scaly skin, bone and joint pains with headaches, hair loss, gastrointestinal upset and even permanent nerve damage too.
We all have Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) with vitamins and minerals, you should check your diet includes foods from the above list/s, if it does not be sure to add to it – and don’t worry about overdosing on vitamins and mineralswith food, unless you eat an excessive amount of one thing there should be problems.