Although vitamins are required by the body to function effectively, they are not all created equal. Some people have a difficult time incorporating enough of these important substances into their diets without supplementation or simply eating foods that contain them. This article will discuss some easy ways to increase your intake of essential vitamins.
What is the fastest way to implement vitamins into your diet?
The best way to incorporate vitamins into your diet is to eat a balanced, varied diet. However, if you are not getting enough vitamins and minerals through your daily meals, then take supplements or multivitamins. The folks at Blendaco based in Australia note that a fast and good way to implement vitamins is through smoothies. Grab your fruit and vegetables and make one. You can find a good portable blender that you can take everywhere with you. Nevertheless, It’s important to consult a health professional before increasing vitamin intake in order to ensure that you maintain optimum health.
Why does our body need vitamins?
Vitamins are essential for the body to function properly. They are natural substances that your body needs in smaller quantities than it would protein, carbohydrates, or fats. Many vitamins have specific functions within the body, while others are important for overall bodily processes. Vitamins can be divided into two groups: fat-soluble and water-soluble. The difference between the two is that fat-soluble vitamins — like A, D, E, and K — can dissolve in fatty tissues and in your small intestine’s bile acids and then become absorbed into your bloodstream. Conversely, water-soluble vitamins — like B and C — must dissolve in water before becoming absorbed by our bodies.
Our diets typically supply more than enough daily calories to provide our bodies with all the vitamins that they require. Ironically, however, vitamin deficiencies are relatively common in industrialized countries where food is plentiful and processed foods high in fat, sugar, salt, and calories are often consumed.
How much of each vitamin do we need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) comprise the number of vitamins your body requires on a daily basis. The RDAs are determined by the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies based upon current scientific research. The current recommendations for healthy people over the age of thirteen are as follows:
- Vitamin A — 700 micrograms (mcg) during infancy and 900 mcg for those older than 11 years. Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is found in liver and fish oils; animal sources of beta-carotene — like carrots, green leafy vegetables, and squash — contain pro-vitamin A.
- Vitamin B6 — 1.3 milligrams (mg).
- Vitamin B12 — 2.4 micrograms (mcg). It is only naturally present in animal foods, so vegans or strict vegetarians may need to supplement their diet with it.
- Vitamin C — 75 mg daily for men and 85 for women.
- Vitamin D — 15 micrograms (mcg) during infancy and 20 mcg for those older than 11 years.
- Vitamin E — 10 mg of alpha-tocopherol or 22 international units (IU).
- Vitamin K — 80 micrograms (mcg).
Minerals are an important part of a healthy diet as well. Although your body requires even fewer minerals than vitamins, those that it does require are required in larger amounts. Some minerals work with vitamins to further process and metabolize what we eat and drink; others work as enzyme cofactors and electrolytes:
- Calcium — 1,000 milligrams (mg).
- Chromium — 35 micrograms (mcg).
- Copper — 2 mg.
- Iodine — 150 micrograms (mcg) during pregnancy and lactation, 220 mcg for ages 14-18, and 150 mcg for those older than 19 years of age.
- Iron — 11 mg.
- Magnesium — 400 mg daily for men and 310 mg daily for women >30 years of age. Manganese, 4-5 mg.
- Molybdenum — 75 micrograms (mcg).
- Phosphorus, 700 mg daily during pregnancy and lactation, 1,250 mg for ages 14-18, and 1,250 mg for those older than 19 years of age.
- Potassium — 4,700 mg.
- Selenium — 55 micrograms (mcg).
- Sodium — 1,500 mg daily.
- Zinc — 11 mg for those older than 19 years of age.
What foods provide vitamins and minerals?
The best sources of vitamins and minerals are fresh fruits and vegetables. However, dairy products like milk and cheese, meat, poultry, and fish also contain high levels of essential nutrients. Iron and calcium, for example, are found in high concentrations in red meat and dark-meat poultry — often too much for one single meal. Other good sources of iron include whole grains, especially those that have been fortified with iron, dried fruit such as raisins, prunes, and apricots, nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds.
Many breakfast cereals now come with added vitamins to help you get the nutrients you need at the start of your day. Some brands also contain minerals like zinc and selenium, which contribute to a healthy diet and lifestyle. However, this does not mean that you can simply choose any cereal; granola for example is high in calories because it contains lots of sugar and fat.
However, if you take too many vitamins and minerals your body will not be able to process them correctly, and they may even accumulate in your blood instead of being metabolized — causing damage to the organ responsible for breaking down toxins. There are also some people who should avoid taking certain supplements, such as:
- People with anemia because vitamin B12 contributes to turning mined iron into hemoglobin, which is necessary for red blood cell production. This could cause iron levels in the blood to drop dangerously low.
- People with liver disease or kidney failure because large doses of niacin (a water-soluble B vitamin) can damage the liver and exacerbate kidney disease.
- Pregnant women because large doses of vitamin A can cause birth defects.
There are many ways to incorporate vitamins into your diet. One of the best ways is through a balanced and varied diet. However, if you need more nutrients on a daily basis, you can take supplements or multivitamins. You can also make smoothies, which are easy to carry with you on the go while still being very nutritious.