The importance of Vitamins and Minerals in your diet
Do you have your five a day? Why do you need to eat fruit and vegetables? Fruits and vegetables are often referred to as micro nutrients and are essential foods in your balanced diet. Our bodies need these micro nutrients to support daily functions that occur within the body. Our body can't produce these itself, so we need these nutrients from foods or supplements. There is a wide range of nutrients that support different functions when consumed.
There are two types of vitamins. These are fat soluble and water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are found in fatty foods such as animal fats, lard, butter, vegetable oils and dairy foods. Good news is, you don't need to consume these types of foods on a daily basis. Your body will store these vitamins and use them when needed. Fat soluble vitamins are: Vitamin A, D, E K. On the other hand, water soluble vitamins cannot be stored within the body, so you need to have these daily. However, if you have too many of these vitamins than your body actually requires, they will be excreted out of your body. Water soluble vitamins can be found in fruit, vegetables and grains. Some of these foods when cooked through boiling lose their goodness. Goodness is also lost when air gets to the food. Be sure to maintain all the nutrients the foods offer by keeping them in their natural state or steam them. Vitamin B and C are water soluble vitamins.
There are also types of minerals that are important to include in your daily diet. For instance, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron and Zinc are required. They each have a different role to play within the body. Calcium is great for building strong bones and teeth. Calcium has been known to lower blood pressure and will also help regulate muscle contractions, including heartbeats. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 chemical functions within the body. It is associated with a healthy immune system and you should make sure you are including magnesium in your diet. Foods like almonds, cashews, spinach and oatmeal contain a good amount of magnesium. Potassium is another mineral that is required in the body to regulate fluids within the body. It is referred to as one of the key electrolytes in your body. Iron is important as it makes red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. Meats, spinach, fruits and nuts are good examples of iron packed foods. Finally there is zinc. Zinc helps the body process the macro nutrients - carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Zinc is found in meats, dairy and bread.
Fruits you need to include in your diet are,
Red Grapes, Blueberries, Strawberries, Grapefruits, Lemons, Oranges and Apples
Vegetables you need to include in your diet are,
Broccoli, Runner beans, Spinach, Garlic, Cauliflower and Mushrooms.
There are many more different vitamins and minerals that you can obtain through eating the correct foods. Sometimes however it isn't possible to get them all through our diet, this could be for a number of reasons and the most likely being 'time'. With the busy lifestyles you lead there isn't always a good time to get the right amount of vitamins and minerals within your diet. Good news is that we have a wide range of different multi vitamins and mineral tablets to choose from if you find it hard to have them with your diet.
Reference - Manual of Nutrition - Eleventh Edition - Food Standards Agency