Welcome to Pt II of my guide to Vitamins & Minerals…last week I explained about the differences between Vitamins and Minerals.

This week we look at the main Vitamins and Minerals that our system requires to function.

GOOD FOR: Healthy eyes and general growth and development, including healthy teeth and skin.

NATURAL SOURCE: Carrots and other orange foods including sweet potato and cantaloupe melons – all of which get their hue from the carotene pigment.

GOOD FOR: Energy production, immune function and iron absorption.

NATURAL SOURCE: This crucial group of nutrients can be found in whole unprocessed foods, specifically whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chilli peppers, beans, yeast and molasses.

GOOD FOR: Strengthening blood vessels and giving skin its elasticity, anti-oxidant function and iron absorption.

NATURAL SOURCE: Everyone knows this one…oranges! But they’re not the only source – other fruits and veggies packed with Vitamin C include guava, red and green peppers, kiwi, grapefruits, strawberries, Brussels sprouts and cantaloupe.

GOOD FOR: Strong healthy bones, Immune function, mental & gut health, general well-being!

NATURAL SOURCE: Apart from spending a few minutes out in the sun, which stimulates Vitamin D production, you can get this nutritional must from eggs, fish and mushrooms.

*Research is taking place all the time, as we know – but latest finds are that VITAMIN D may help with symptoms of IBS! I found an article that researchers from the University of Sheffield (UK) that has been written and it does look favourable with their recent findings…I have condensed the whole report however to highlight the role of Vitamin D.

“Even if the vitamin D doesn’t benefit the IBS, there are multiple health reasons to maintain good levels of vitamin D.However, it is important people understand that as everyone’s symptoms of IBS vary, so too will their response to possible treatments.“There is nothing that is 100 percent effective because everyone’s symptoms are somewhat different, so not everyone is going to respond to the same thing, It will help people, but it won’t help everybody. If you are someone with IBS, I think you should talk to your doctor about vitamin D, but don’t be discouraged if it won’t work,”


GOOD FOR: Blood circulation, and protection from free radicals.

NATURAL SOURCE: A Vitamin E-rich food is the mighty almond. You can also fill up on other nuts, sunflower seeds and tomatoes to reap the benefits.

GOOD FOR: Blood coagulation – that is, the process by which your blood clots.

NATURAL SOURCE: Leafy greens are the best natural sources of Vitamin K – so make sure you’re eating lots of kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

A synthetic form of folic acid is used in dietary supplements and fortified foods. Folic acid acts by helping the body produce and maintain new cells. In particular, red blood cell formation is dependent upon adequate levels of this vitamin.

GOOD FOR: Cell renewal and preventing birth defects in pregnancy.

NATURAL SOURCE: There are plenty of scrumptious natural sources of folic acid, including dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, peas, lentils, seeds, nuts, cauliflower, beets and corn.

Calcium is a mineral that is necessary for life. In addition to building bones and keeping them healthy, calcium enables our blood to clot, our muscles to contract, and our heart to beat. About 99% of the calcium in our bodies is in our bones and teeth.
GOOD FOR: Healthy teeth and bones.

NATURAL SOURCE: This mineral is another one that most of us already know – the best sources are dairy products like yogurt, cheese and milk, along with tofu and black molasses.

Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body. … If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anemia.
GOOD FOR: Building muscles naturally and maintaining healthy blood.

NATURAL SOURCE: You might be surprised to know that clams take the top spot for iron content, followed by oysters and organ meats like liver. For the vegetarians among us, soybeans, cereal, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils and spinach are great sources of iron.

GOOD FOR: Immunity, growth and fertility.

NATURAL SOURCE: Seafood’s such as oysters are also zinc rich, along with spinach, cashews, beans and wait for it….dark chocolate – just not as a post-bed snack though!

Chromium is a mineral that’s known as an “essential trace element” because only very small amounts of it are necessary for human health. … Chromium picolinate works with insulin in the body to metabolize carbohydrates. It’s made by combining chromium with picolinic acid, the acid helps the body absorb chromium.
GOOD FOR: Glucose function – making sure every cell in your body gets energy as and when needed.

NATURAL SOURCE: As long as your diet contains servings of whole grains, fresh vegetables and herbs, you should be getting enough chromium.*Please check your medication as some of the above vitamins can have an adverse effect. If you would like further information, please don’t hesitate to ask me!*

Eating a healthy diet is the best way to get your vitamins and minerals, by fuelling your body with healthy food before you turn to supplements. The best bet is to make sure you eat a balanced diet with as many whole foods as possible.

*Note – my research is from my coursework, books and the internet, I have tried to include as much as I can in this first part but have a more in-depth article for anyone interested! I will be creating a bi-monthly news letter very soon and will be including the full articles from these bite sized portions! Yes there’s more – there is always more and you know what they say “Knowledge is Power” and please remember if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!

Link to last week’s “Nutritional Bites”

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