A-Z of Vitamins and Minerals
• Vitamin A helps to prevent age-related eye problems, and some skin disorders. It also helps to enhance immunity.
• Vitamin A is found in liver, egg yolk, oily fish and milk.
• As well as vitamin supplements, it is also supplied in Cod Liver Oil. B-Vitamins
• The B-Vitamins help to maintain healthy nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver and mouth as well as proper brain function. Hence, they may be useful in alleviating depression and anxiety.
• B-Complex vitamins are also important for helping to release energy from food.
• B-Vitamins are typically found in green leafy vegetables.
• Vitamin C is essential for the body’s production and maintenance of healthy collagen, which holds together cells in the skin, gums and tendons. It also helps white blood cells to fight infection and is vital for the efficient healing of wounds. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which can help neutralize potential damaging free radicals that trigger ageing and cancerous changes. It is water soluble hence cannot be stored and is needed in the diet each day.
• Vitamin C is found in blackcurrants, broccoli and other brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables.
• Calcium is crucial for building and maintaining strong and healthy bones hence it helps to increase the density of bones in growing teenagers. It is also involved in muscle contraction and blood clotting. Vitamin D is vital for effective absorption of calcium.
• Calcium is found in cheese, milk and yoghurt and sesame seeds.
• Chromium helps regulate blood sugar levels. A deficiency of Chromium has been linked to adult-onset diabetes. It also helps with the breakdown of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
• Chromium is found in wholegrain cereals, potatoes, prunes, nuts and seafood.
• Vitamin D is crucial for encouraging absorption of calcium from food. It directly increases the rate of mineral deposits on bones, hence without it our bodies cannot build or maintain strong bones.
• New research has shown it is also beneficial against the onset of degenerative diseases.
• Vitamin D is found in oily fish. As well as vitamin supplements, it is also supplied in Cod Liver Oil.
• Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin, which helps to neutralize potentially damaging free radicals and is important for the maintenance of healthy skin, nerves, muscles, red blood cells and heart. Unlike other fat soluble vitamins (A and D), it is only stored in the body for a short time, indicating a need for regular intakes.
• Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, sunflower seeds, nuts, avocado and spinach.
• Folic Acid (also known as Folate or Folacin) is a B-Vitamin (see above).
• Folic Acid is a popular vitamin to aid heart health and for pregnant women to help reduce the chances of birth defects.
• Iron forms part of the pigment haemoglobin in blood which helps to transport oxygen around the body to all of the cells. Vitamin C helps Iron to be absorbed into the body. Tannin in tea can inhibit its absorption.
• Iron is found in fortified cereals, red meat and dried apricots.
• Magnesium is stored in all body tissues and is needed for growth and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. This mineral also plays an important role in the formation and action of over 300 different enzymes affecting many of the body’s systems and helping to release energy from food.
• Magnesium is found in nuts, seeds and fortified cereals.
Omega 3 Oils
• Omega 3 Oils contain eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which may help to lower blood fats, thin the blood and reduce inflammation associated with stiff and aching joints. The body cannot make EPA and DHA on its own, so they must be obtained from food.
• Omega 3 Oils are found in oily fish, nuts and seeds.
• Selenium is an antioxidant nutrient which helps to protect the body from free radicals which may otherwise trigger some degenerative diseases. The presence of vitamins A, C, and E appear to help in the body’s absorption of selenium.
• Selenium is found in brazil nuts, mixed nuts and raisins.
• Zinc is crucial for the action of over 70 enzymes. It is particularly important for a healthy immune system and healing of wounds.
• Zinc is found in oysters, wheat germ and liver.