The ABC’s of Vitamin Supplements

If you are the kind of person that eats a varied and consistent diet of fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins, you probably think you are getting all the required amount of vitamins and minerals you need. But if you are like most people, you may need to supplement your diet with essential vitamins that may not be available in your diet alone. Supplementation is also important if you are a vegetarian or if you have a restricted diet due to a specific health condition. Think of vitamin supplementation as a nutritional health insurance plan.

With that in mind, here are the absolute essential vitamin supplements you should be taking, along with the foods that the vitamins are most available:

A

Vitamin A is essential for your vision, immune system, and healthy skin.

Vitamin A also supports cell growth and plays a critical role in the functioning of your heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs. It’s found in foods from animal sources like dairy products, fish, and meat. The most important Vitamin A carotenoid is beta-carotene.

Best food sources for Vitamin A

  • Bell peppers
  • Canteloupe
  • Carrots
  • Dark leafy greens.
  • Sweet potatoes.

B

B vitamins help the body convert carbohydrates into fuel to produce the energy we require. They, also help the body process fats and protein. B vitamins are needed for a healthy liver and help the nervous system function properly. Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis. Folic acid, (B9) is necessary for the development of blood cells, and is especially important for pregnant women.

Best food sources for Vitamin B12:

  • Beef (especially liver)
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Tuna

Best food sources for folate (These are not a substitute for supplemental folic acid).

  • Beans and peas
  • Citrus fruits
  • Dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach
  • Lentils

C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin required for the biosynthesis of collagen.

Collagen is an essential component of connective tissue, which plays a vital role in healing.

Best food sources for Vitamin C:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Grapefruit
  • Green and Red peppers
  • Kale
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries

D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium which is necessary for bone health.

It’s actually a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. It’s mostly dependent on sun exposure.

Best food sources for Vitamin D:

E

Vitamin E is the name given for a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant activities. It protects body tissue from damage caused by substances called free radicals, which can harm cells, tissues, and organs. You also need it to help keep the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria.

Best foods for Vitamin E:

  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Kale
  • Spinach

When selecting your supplements, make sure there are no fillers in them, are gluten free and have no artificial coloring.

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