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5 Nutrients You Should Know About

Eating enough vitamins and minerals is crucial for your body to function and thrive. Among many things, vitamins and minerals support your metabolism, boost your immunity and act as antioxidants. In this article, we’ll cover five vitamins and minerals that are essential for optimal health.

1. Iron

Why You Need It: 

One of iron’s most important functions is to carry oxygen to your tissues. Your body requires a precise balance of iron — not too much and not too little. However, iron deficiency is common in the US and can be a cause of fatigue for many folks. But before you stock up on iron supplements, know that over-consumption of iron is just as dangerous as iron deficiency. Iron is stored in the body, which is why your levels can get too high if you take more supplements than you need. If you think you may have an iron imbalance, talk to your physician.

Where to Find It: 

Keep in mind there are two types of dietary iron: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is better absorbed than non-heme. The best sources of heme iron are meats and seafood. Some great sources of non-heme iron include lentils, spinach, beet greens, sesame seeds and figs. Combine non-heme iron sources with vitamin C-rich foods, like lemon or lime juice, to boost the iron’s absorption.

2. Magnesium

Why You Need It: 

Magnesium is involved in nearly every process of your body and in over 400 enzyme systems. It works mostly inside your cell to help produce ATP, an immediate source of energy for your body’s cells. Magnesium helps nutrients enter your cells and wastes exit your cells. It’s also considered the “relaxation mineral” because it helps your muscles relax.

Where to Find It:

Go for leafy greens, sea vegetables, nuts, pumpkin seeds, pulses, avocado and sesame seeds.

3. Potassium

Why You Need It: 

This electrolyte works with sodium to balance your body’s pH and water content. It’s also important for your nervous system and heart rhythm regulation. Adequate intake of potassium supports well-functioning bones, kidneys, and cardiovascular system [1].

Where to Find It:

Bananas, avocados, tomatoes, cantaloupe, nuts, peaches, cod fish and apricots are great ways to get this mineral.

4. Vitamin E

Why You Need It: 

Vitamin E is almost synonymous with healthy hair and skin. But this powerful antioxidant protects more than just the skin. It also helps protect the arteries, lungs and heart. Vitamin E is also beneficial to circulation and may help women who suffer from menstrual cramps. It supports the immune system and helps protect other fat-soluble vitamins.

Where to Find It:

You can get vitamin E from dietary sources such as seeds, nuts, unrefined cold-pressed oils, leafy greens, broccoli, and avocado.

5. Vitamin B12

Why You Need It: 

While vitamin B12 is only required by a few enzymes in the body, these enzymes are of utmost importance. Vitamin B12 is needed by enzymes that support DNA synthesis and energy metabolism, which makes B12 essential for optimal health. Vitamin B12 is stored in the body so deficiencies can take years to show signs. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be common among vegans as B12 is mostly found in animal products.

Where to Find It:

The best sources of B12 are red meat, eggs, seafood, and dairy products. You can find small amounts of vitamin B12 in nutritional yeast and chlorella.

References:

[1]: Prescription for Nutritional Healing

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