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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vitamins and Minerals: What do you need?

Vitamins and minerals are essential to good health.  Although supplements are available, it is always best to get the proper amounts in the foods you eat.

There are several nutrients that adults typically do not get enough of, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  These nutrients are:  Calcium, Potassium, Fiber, Magnesium, Vitamins A, C and E.

It’s hard to keep track of the nutrients that each food provides so below are some nutrients and some examples of where you can find them.  (Daily values listed are for the average American on a 2,000 calories/day diet.)

(Calcium is vital in building strong bones and teeth- you should get 1,136 milligrams of calcium each day)

Yogurt, Cheese – be sure to eat the nonfat or low-fat varieties so you don’t get too much fat
Low-fat or skim milk
Fish – such as salmon or perch
Soybeans or white beans

(Potassium is important in regulating blood pressure – you should get 4,044 milligrams of potassium each day)

Fish – such as salmon, haddock or cod
Bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, peaches
Tomatoes – sauce, paste, juice, puree
Lima beans, kidney beans
Potatoes – sweet or white

(Magnesium helps your body produce energy, and helps your muscles, arteries and heart work properly. You should get 380 milligrams of magnesium each day.)

Brown rice
Navy beans, soy beans, white beans, black beans
Bran cereal
Pumpkin, spinach, artichokes

(Vitamin A is important in the development of good vision.)

Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach

(Vitamin C helps the body form collagen in blood vessels, bones, cartilage and muscle.)

Fruit – oranges, kiwi, strawberries
Vegetables – red/green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which is a nutrient that helps fight damage to the cells in the body.

Peanut butter
Turnip greens

Dietary fiber is the non-digestible form of carbohydrates and lignin. Dietary fiber helps provide a feeling of fullness, and is important in promoting healthy laxation.

Beans and peas – navy beans, split peas, lentils, pinto beans, and black beans.
Whole grains
Bran cereal

For more information on vitamins and minerals, check out the following links:

Vitamins and Minerals: How to Get What You Need (American Academy of Family Physicians)

Dietary Guidelines (U.S. Department of Agriculture)  

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