The Vitamins and Minerals You Need for Optimal Nutrition
by Callum Allan on Nov 03, 2022
In order to have a healthy, balanced diet, it is important to understand which vitamins and minerals are essential for the human body, and in what quantities. This blog post will provide a brief overview of the vitamins and minerals that are most important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as well as where to find them in common foods.
There are 13 vitamins that are essential to human health: vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate). These vitamins perform hundreds of roles in the body and are necessary for everything from immunity to reproduction.
Minerals are also essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly. There are two types of minerals: macrominerals and microminerals. Macrominerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride) are needed in larger quantities than microminerals (iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, selenium), but both are necessary for human health.
Most people can get the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a well-rounded diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein sources, and nuts. However, some people may need to take supplements to make sure they're getting enough of certain nutrients. For example, older adults may need to take a vitamin D supplement because they're not getting enough sunlight exposure to generate vitamin D in their bodies. Pregnant women may need to take a folic acid supplement to prevent birth defects. People who don't eat meat or dairy products may need to take a vitamin B12 supplement because this nutrient is found mostly in animal products. Speak with a registered dietitian or your healthcare provider if you're unsure whether or not you need a supplement.
Vitamins and minerals play a vital role in human health and should be consumed every day as part of a healthy diet. Most people can get the nutrients they need from food sources alone; however, some people may need to take supplements to ensure they're getting enough of certain nutrients. Speak with a registered dietitian or your healthcare provider if you're unsure whether or not you need a supplement.