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As I mentioned previously, March = National Nutrition Month.

http://www.eatright.org/uploadedImages/National_Nutrition_Month/Promotional_Resources/Toolkit/Images/WebBanners_NNM2013(728x90).jpg

In honor of such, I thought today I’d share with you a basic “Vitamins & Minerals 101.” You see them listed on food labels, you know they’re good for you….but what exactly do they do?

Food Labels: Vitamins and Minerals

Seeing as how there are over 44 different vitamins, minerals and nutrients, going through them all would make for quite a long boring post. So I took a look in my pantry for inspiration and chose four of the most common in each category.

Here’s what you need to know about those vitamins and minerals commonly seen on food labels:

Vitamins

VITAMIN A

Source: yellow, dark green veggies, fruits, dairy, eggs.
Function: Is important for the immune system, vision, and cell growth.

VITAMIN B6

Source: grains, legumes, vegetables (carrots, spinach, peas, and potatoes), dairy, eggs, fish and meat.
Function: metabolizes proteins, makes neurotransmitters.

VITAMIN C

Source: citrus fruits.
Function: helps the body absorb iron, is needed to make bones, cartilage and muscles.

VITAMIN E

Source: eggs, fruit, spinach, meat, buts, poultry, olive oil and whole grains.
Function: antioxidant.

Fruits and veggies

Minerals

CALCIUM

Source: dairy products, dark leafy greens, nuts
Function: makes up bones, contributes to hear health, nerve function, muscle activity.

MAGNESIUM

Source: grains, dark green veggies, nuts and seeds.
Function: is needed for calcium to function, maintains heartbeat, nerve transmission and muscle function.

IRON

Source: beans, spinach, red meat, fortified cereals
Function: carries oxygen from lungs throughout body, makes up enzymes which help digest food.

ZINC

Source: lean red meats, seafood, peas, beans, whole grains.
Function: helps 100+ enzymes function properly, along with Vitamin A it supports the immune system.

Salmon and kale

Now that you know what each of them do, you can see why it’s important to eat a varied, nutrient rich diet to help your body function properly!

Here are some additional resources if you’re interested:

Food Labels Decoded (Me!)

25 Vitamin-Rich Foods You Should Be Eating (Reader’s Digest)

Types of Vitamins (Live Strong)

What You Need to Know About Multi-Vitamins (Real Simple)

Now go forth and love your vitamins!

Kawaii Love Vitamin Capsule Case with Hand Towel

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*Note: I am not a professional when it comes to all this stuff. I’m just a girl who is trying to educate herself and share what I’ve learned with all of you. Information in this post was obtained from The Center for Disease Control, Mayo Clinic and IBS for Dummies.

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