Vitamins and Supplements
Once you've managed to arrange a healthy diet around what you've learned so far about carbs, protein, and fat, a diet that's high in a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and cereals as the primary carb source, poly and mono-unsaturated fats, and lean protein, your A's and E's will start to take care of themselves. You'll be getting lots of them in the stuff you're eating. Cool how that works, huh? But just to be sure, we've offered this handy chart of what you need, where to get it, and how to watch for deficiencies
|Vitamin/ Nutrient||Foods that it's found in||Suggested amount||Function for your body||Dangers of deficiency|
|Vitamin A||Fish liver oils, liver, egg yolks, butter, cream, green leafy and yellow vegetables||1000ug||Helps you see in the dark and resist infections||Growth retardation in children, impaired vision, night blindness, increased susceptibility to infections|
|Vitamin D||Fortified milk, eggs, fish, also formed in human skin by exposure to sunlight||5 ug||Helps build and maintain healthy bones and teeth||Restlessness, poor sleep, demineralization and softening of bones,|
|Iron||Lean red meat (especially beef) Poultry, dark red meat, Tuna, Salmon, Iron-fortified cereals, Whole grains Eggs (especially egg yolks), Dried fruits||10 mg (m)
15 mg (w)
|Makes hemoglobin--a protein that helps carries oxygen to your body||lack of energy, shortness of breath, headache, irritability, dizziness, weight loss, anemia|
|Calcium||Milk and dairy products such as yogurt, cheeses, and buttermilk, but also broccoli, greens and cabbage||800 mg||Assists in clotting of blood and building of bones and teeth. Promotes functioning of nerves, heart and muscle.||Osteoperosis, hypertension|
|Vitamin/ Nutrient||Foods that it's found in||Recommed amount||Function for your body||Dangers of deficiency|
|Vitamin E||Wheat germ, corn, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach and other leafy greens, asparagus and vegetable oils||10 mg||Helps keep red blood cells intact, antioxidant, maintains muscle metabolism||Anemia, loss of reflexes and other spinal and muscular problems in infants and young children. Vitamin E deficiency in American adults is extremely rare as Vitamin E is stored in fat tissue.|
|Vitamin K||cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, cereals, and soybeans,||65 mg (women) 80 mg (men)||Blood clotting, synthesis of protein||Easy bruising and bleeding.|
|Thiamine (Vitamin B-1)||cereals, pasta, whole grains (especially wheat germ),breads, lean meats, fish, dried beans, peas, and soybeans||1.5 mg (m) 1.1 mg (w)||Helps maintain nerves, helps your body turn food into energy||Weakness, fatigue, muscle atrophy, memory loss, nerve damage|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2)||Milk and other dairy, lean meats, eggs, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, often in fortified breads and other baked goods||1.7 mg (m) 1.3 mg (w)||Helps in turning food to energy, maintains healthy skin||Deficiency extremely rare in the US. Sore throat, swelling of mucous membranes, skin disorders|
|Niacin||dairy products, poultry, fish, lean meats, nuts, and eggs.||19 mg (m)
15 mg (w)
|Maintains health of skin and digestive tract||Lesions and infections, inflamed skin, digestive problems, and mental impairment.|
|Vitamin B-6||beans, nuts, legumes, eggs, meats, fish, whole grains, and fortified breads and cereals.||2 mg (m)
1.6 mg (w)
|Protein metabolism, building blood cells||Convulsions, anemia, irritability, confusion, depression|
|Vitamin C||Fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits and juices||60 mg||Strengthens blood vessels, helps heal wounds, build bones and teeth||Scurvy, arthritis, bleeding gums|
|Zinc||Foods that are also high in protien: beef, lamb, chicken, peanuts, peanut butter, beans||15 mg (m) 12 mg (w)||Assists in metabolism, helps heal wounds, needed for normal growth, especially in children||Poor appetite, slowness to heal wounds, loss of hair, frequent infections, impaired sense of taste and smell|
|Vitamin B-12||eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish, milk, and milk products.||2 ug||Helps build healthy red blood cells, needed for growth in children||Vegetarians who are not taking some form of B-12 supplement are often prone to deficiency. Anemia, numbness, tingling in the extremities, loss of balance, weakness|
|Magnesium||Soy and soy products, beans, seeds, nuts whole grains||350 mg (m) 280 mg (w)||Good for nerves and muscles. Helps the body digest carbohydrates and proteins||Irritability, fatigue, insomnia, muscle twitching, rapid heartbeat,|
|Selenium||Fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken, liver, and garlic||70 mg (m)55 mg (w)||Protects cells from damage and helps metabolize fat||Keshan disease, abnormality of the heart muscle.|
Should I take a Vitamin Supplement?
Warning: herbal supplements
Be wary of vitamins and herbal supplements that make outrageous claims. You know the ones... That rare mold that grows on orchid roots in the rain forest that's supposed to help you stay young and sexy to the age of 100? If the claims sound too good to be true they probably are.
In a word, yes. Even if you're eating a reasonably healthy diet, taking a good daily multi-vitamin supplement—though not urgently necessary—makes sense. Think of it as insurance that you'll be getting enough of everything in the chart above, particularly those that are harder to get (especially for vegetarians) such as B-6 and B-12. A multivitamin can help you get enough of everything.
Remember: no vitamin can ever take the place of healthy eating. Vitamins usually provide a dozen or so nutrients that are known to promote health, a mere shadow of what's in foods that are part of a healthy diet. Vitamin supplements are just that: supplements to good, healthy eating. Look for a standard, store-brand, RDA-level multi-vitamin and that's all you need.
A good healthy diet based on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fats and lean protein plus a daily multi-vitamin promotes and maintains a lifetime of good health