Most people know the importance of eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and the role that it plays in keeping the body satiated and energized. However, sometimes people do not always have the time or means to eat properly every day, and may not get enough vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. On those days, it might be useful to take a supplement to help maintain good health. Here are six vitamins and minerals to support the body.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits as well as vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, potatoes and cabbage. Most people get enough of this nutrient by eating a standard diet, however, some people take extra due to the role it plays in producing collagen and supporting the immune system. The body handles large amounts of vitamin C pretty well, but symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea may result from taking very high doses.
Iron is a nutrient that is essential to maintaining healthy red blood cells. Natural sources of iron include spinach, red meats and organ meats. People who have little or no meat in their diets often take iron as a supplement because the body does not absorb plant-based sources of iron as well as sources that come from meat. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron, so professionals sometimes recommend taking these two micronutrients together. People who take iron in supplement form should keep in mind that taking high doses of the mineral can be harmful and they should consult a medical professional if they have any concerns.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a unique nutrient in that the body can produce it naturally when exposed to the sun. However, people often do not get enough sunlight to produce the amount of vitamin D needed to support good health. This is especially true for people who spend a lot of time indoors or who live in a climate that has little sunlight. As a result, many people turn to supplements to get their daily recommended dose of vitamin D in addition to eating foods such as salmon, tuna and sardines. Many cereals and milk products are also fortified with vitamin D to help ensure that the public receives adequate amounts of this nutrient.
The body only needs tiny amounts of zinc each day, yet this nutrient plays an important role in the functioning of the metabolism and immune system. People can find zinc in foods such as oysters, beef and legumes like chickpeas. Some signs that someone might not be getting enough zinc include hair loss, irritability, loss of appetite and greater susceptibility to infections. Some older people and people who are unable to get enough zinc through their diets may be more prone to zinc deficiency than others.
5. B Vitamins
Nutritionists often group the B vitamins together because of the similar role that they play in the body. Vitamins such as B6 and B12 help convert the food that people consume, namely fats and carbohydrates, into the energy needed to perform daily tasks. There are many good food sources of B vitamins, including leafy green vegetables, beef, fish and eggs. People with certain medical conditions, as well as vegans and vegetarians, may benefit from taking a B12 supplement in particular since this nutrient is primarily found in animal products.
Like the B vitamins, magnesium assists with energy production as well as muscle function in the body. Sources of magnesium include nuts, whole grains and green leafy vegetables, so most people who have a healthy diet get enough of this nutrient to maintain good health.
Many people already get the vitamins and minerals that they need by eating an adequate diet. However, impoverished individuals, those living with certain medical conditions and those who have restrictive diets may need to pay closer attention to the amount of these critical nutrients that they receive on a day-to-day basis.