Health is wealth and there is no better way to maintain good health than through a healthy, complete and well-balanced diet.
Health is wealth and there is no better way to maintain good health than through a healthy, complete and well-balanced diet. We should all start eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, among other healthy food items, and less processed, packaged and junk foods. We are also advised by health experts like doctors to take nutritional supplements to boost the supply of nutrients to our bodies.
The question then is: What are the most important essential vitamins and minerals for good health? All vitamins and mineral are actually important to good health. There are certain micronutrients, however, that have been proven of utmost importance in the maintenance of good health.
Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is on top of the list because of its numerous essential functions. Just to name a few of its vital functions in the body:
• Formation of collagen in the blood vessels, bones and muscles
• Absorption of iron into the body (Iron is essential in normal blood cell production)
• Reduction of free radical damage that can lead to various diseases from the common cold to cancer
In fact, researchers have gone so far as to say that the higher levels of Vitamin C in the blood may well be the ideal marker for overall good health. As to the dosage, healthy men should have 90mg while women must consume 75mg of ascorbic acid. You can eat citrus fruits, papaya, and broccoli to get your daily dose of the vitamin.
If you want 20/20 vision, Vitamin A should be your best friend. Vitamin A also performs other functions in good health including the regulation of the immune, reproductive and skeletal systems. Add in the fact that it also protects the surface linings of vital organs including the eyes, lungs and stomach and you have every reason to love Vitamin A.
Be sure to include liver, whole milk, whole eggs, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and cantaloupes to get your daily dose of Vitamin A. If you are somehow unable to eat these foods in sufficient quantities, look to vitamin supplements to bridge the gap.
Health experts say that, of all the 8 B-vitamins, Vitamin B12 is the most important for overall health for two reasons. First, it helps in the maintenance of healthy red blood cells and nerve cells. Second, it is a critical component in the production of DNA – the building block of life itself.
The amount of Vitamin B12 that your body requires depends on your age. Average adults usually need 2.4 mcg while breastfeeding and pregnant women should have 2.8mcg and 2.6mcg, respectively.
Your best food sources for Vitamin B12 are beef liver, clams, fish, poultry, milk and eggs. If you are vegetarian, you can also go for breakfast cereals and other food products that are fortified with the vitamin.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. This mineral regulates the heartbeat; assists in clotting of blood; and maintains healthy muscle and nerve functions, among other functions vital to health.
If you are an adult man, you will require 800 to 1,000mg of calcium every day. Women usually need lower amounts of 600 to 800mg. The best food sources for calcium are milk, yogurt and cheese.
Phosphorus is known as calcium’s companion. This mineral is also abundant in the human body so much so that every single cell and fluid will have phosphorus in it.
Like calcium, phosphorus also performs many vital functions in keeping the mind and body healthy. These functions include the regulation of muscle contractions, protein absorption, nerve impulses and hormone secretion, among others.
Your best food sources for phosphorus are dairy foods, seeds, poultry, whole grains and fish. Again, you can take supplements upon the advice of your doctor.
In conclusion, all of these top five micronutrients for better health are best sourced from natural foods but if your health warrants it and your doctor says okay, you can also take nutritional supplements.