We all struggle with being healthy from time to time. With all the health advice we get online, in the media, from friends and family, is it any wonder finding the path to wellness is so difficult? Like G.I. Joe taught us in our youth: knowing is half the battle. Once you’ve uncovered all the information and found the bits that appear to be based on real evidence and worth implementing, now the hard work begins. Just knowing the facts is one thing, but learning how to apply it to your life can be an overwhelming task. Hopefully we can help to decipher healthy facts and turn them into healthy habits.
We all try to find ways to put fresh fruits and veggies into our diet because they have benefits. For an optimally running machine, you need to consume foods in your daily diet that boast vitamins and minerals essential to your health. In this post, I’m going to provide helpful information about various nutrients and the foods that you can eat to get more of them.
The nutrients: from A to zinc
Vitamins: Vitamin A, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K
Minerals: Calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
What are these nutrients good for?
Vitamin A: Essential for eye health (specifically night vision), healthy teeth, and glowing skin.
Vitamin B12: Essential for red blood cell production, energy (B12), immune function, and iron absorption. This whole group is uses in the ATP cycle, aka the bodies energy producing system.
Folate: Essential for DNA synthesis, blood cell production.
Vitamin C: Essential for immunity, collagen, and protecting against oxidative stress.
Vitamin D: Essential for bone health, immune function, cellular growth.
Vitamin E: Essential for nerve function, cellular antioxidant, and immune cells.
Vitamin K: Essential for blood clotting and bone health.
Calcium: Essential for bones and teeth, nerve transmission, muscle contractions, blood vessel health, and regulation of blood pressure.
Chromium: Essential for proper insulin action, glucose and other macronutrient metabolism.
Iron: Essential for hundreds of enzymes in the body, hemoglobin production, antioxidant, DNA synthesis, hormones, neurotransmitters, and immune function.
Magnesium: Essential for healthy bones, enzyme reactions, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, DNA synthesis, and blood pressure regulation.
Zinc: Essential for enzymes, hemoglobin production, antioxidant, and key in immune function.
Where can I find these nutrients?
Blueberries are rich in vitamins C, B6, folate, and K. Mineral rich with calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and potassium. Low cal, high fiber, high water content, and low sodium. Great for bones, skin collagen production, lowering cholesterol, heart health, improve brain function, anti-inflammatory effects. Rich with anthocyanin that can prevent oxidative DNA damage (great for aging skin and athletes alike). (3)
Wild salmon is not only rich in omega-3 fatty acids it has a wide range of other nutrients. B vitamins galore including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate, and B12. Also, a great source of potassium which helps with blood pressure. Selenium for thyroid health, brain, and heart. Astaxanthin from the algae it eats give great red color to the fish and packs it with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects which are great for heart health. If you eat canned salmon and consume whole fish with bones, you can also get some calcium.
Mushrooms are up and coming as a supplement but are just as awesome in whole food form. Mostly known for their vegan source of vitamin D, but also contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They’re rich in B vitamins that help with red blood cell production, brain health, and cellular growth. Also contains minerals like potassium, selenium, iron, phosphorus, and copper. Has a special type of fiber called beta-glucan which can help with insulin resistance, improve cholesterol levels, and even boost immunity. And lastly choline, a vitamin like essential nutrient that is a key player in neurotransmission, methylation, and lipid metabolism.
Broccoli is a wonderful source of protein as well as fiber. One of the highest in all vegedom. It had vitamins A, folate, C and K. Minerals include phosphorus, selenium, potassium. This little tree is full of vitamins and minerals that help with blood clotting, tissue support and growth, collagen production, wound healing, digestive health from fiber, heart health from potassium. Not to mention bioactive compound glucoraphanin that reduce inflammation, lutein, and zeaxanthin for the eyes, and many more amazing compounds for the whole body.
Eggs, once dismissed for their cholesterol content, are a great nutrient addition to any meal. Eggs not only have protein and fat but also contain vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, folate, D, E, and K. Mineral rich with phosphorus, selenium, calcium, and zinc. If you get local pastured eggs you get a dose of omega-3 and higher levels of antioxidant vitamins A and E. Contains the often overlooked choline, which is used for nervous system, many cellular functions, and essential for a healthy liver. They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin for eye and a healthy dose of amino acids that are the building blocks in the body.
All in all, these foods are a great addition to your daily and weekly diet. You could even combine a few and have a superfood feast: broccoli, mushrooms, and eggs for breakfast, or salmon with a blueberry glaze. The combinations are endless. Go out and enjoy the rainbow of possibilities, whole foods when you can. For those of you who don’t love fresh fruits and veggies or know you just don’t get enough we have a custom blended multivitamin that can meet your nutrient gap needs.