Most people should get all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. I’m one of those people who turns to Vitamin C when there is a cold going round the office, so if you are in need of a natural boost and want to kick start your health as well – check out my list of vitamins and minerals by ailment below.
It was Polish bio-chemist, Kazimierz Funk (1884-1967) who created the first formulation of the concept of vitamins; back in 1912 they were known as ‘Vital Amines’ or ‘Vitamines’. Funk’s research and learnings has developed over time and now we have a fantastically clear understanding of what vitamin and mineral supplements we can take to make us feel great.
How to Avoid the Common Cold and Flu
Let’s face it, in England it’s always the season for cold and fluey symptoms. Here is what you need to help fight off the plague and always have a spring in your step.
- Functions: It strengthens immunity, helps vision and keeps skin healthy
- Sources of vitamin A: cheese, eggs, oily fish, milk, yogurt and low-fat spreads
- How much do I need? Women need 0.6mg per day and men need 0.7mg per day as recommended by the NHS.
Vegans don’t panic as beta-carotene which is found in yellow, red and green fruit and veg can be converted into vitamin A by your very own power house. It’s time to load up on sweet potato, carrots, juicy mangos, spinach and other colourful delights!
- Functions: protect cells and keeps them healthy, maintains tissue and supports organs, helps wounds to heal
- Sources of vitamin C: oranges, red and green peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes
- How much do I need? 40mg a day.
The Best Supplements for Happiness
It’s been long thought that low levels of serotonin can lead to the blues. This could impact on your day to day mood, sleeping pattern, appetite and general well-being. If you want to get happy, then check out these serotonin boosting wonders to help you on your way.
The B Vitamins
There are many B vitamins which are closely connected to the production of serotonin. These include B1, B2, B3, Pantothenic Acid, B6, B9 (Folic Acid) and B12.
- Sources of B vitamins: eggs, milk, meat, fish, potatoes, vegetables, wholegrains, rice and more
- How much do I need? This will vary between each B vitamin so do check the NHS website for more details.
Low levels of the sunny vitamin D can lead to SAD (seasonal affective disorder) – so it is a vital component for your brain health and to keep you in a good mood.
- Functions: keeps bones and teeth healthy
- Sources of vitamin D: most vitamin D is from sunlight on our skin but it can be found in some foods: oily fish, eggs, powdered milk, fortified fat spreads & breakfast cereals
- How much do I need? Most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need by eating a healthy diet.
Healthy Tips for Glowing Skin
The following will help you get that naturally healthy glow, with plumped skin that is smooth and nourished.
- Functions: helps maintain cell structure by protecting cell membranes, helps with scarring
- Sources of vitamin E: nuts and seeds, wheat germ (found in cereals and cereal products)
- How much do I need? Women require 3mg a day, men require 4mg a day
- Functions: it’s needed for blood clotting so it helps wounds heal properly, and also helps build strong bones
- Sources of vitamin K: green leafy vegetables like broccoli & spinach, vegetable oils, cereals
- How much do I need? Adults need approximately 0.001mg a day for each kg of their body weight
Omegas 3 & 6
- Functions: helps to retain moisture and nutrients to plump the skin, also great for brain and memory function
- Sources of omegas: avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, oily fish such as salmon and mackerel
- How much do I need? There is no specific recommendation but 2-3 servings per week is optimal.
The Natural Supplements for Energy
When your cuppa joe just isn’t cutting the mustard. Perhaps you’ve got a lot going on at work, going through exam period or just burning midnight oil – there are a few minerals that can help regulate your energy levels and metabolic rate which in turn will keep you alert and feeling great.
The B vitamins are great for energy release, especially B12 which is found predominantly in meat and dairy products. We need 0.0015mg of B12 a day and vegans can find it in fortified soya drinks, nutritional yeast and Marmite.
Remember that Vitamin C also boosts both physical and mental energy – so bring on the oj.
- Functions: increases energy, aids digestion, also calms nerves and anxiety
- Sources of magnesium: green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, nuts and wholegrains, fish and dairy foods
- How much do I need? Women require 270mg per day whilst men require 300mg
- Functions: it helps make red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body
- Sources of Iron: liver, meat, beans, nuts, dried fruit, wholegrains, soybean flour and most dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach and brocoli
- How much do I need? Women require 14.8mg a day, men require 8.7mg a day
- Function: helps make the thyroid hormones which keep cells and the metabolic rate healthy
- Sources of iodine: it’s found in seawater, rocks and some types of soil so good sources include sea fish and shellfish. It can also be found in plant foods like cereals and grains as well as cow’s milk in the UK
- How much do I need? Adults require 0.14mg of iodine a day.
The Nutrients for Bone Health
There are lots of benefits in looking after your bone health. As well as keeping your teeth and smile intact, the following can help fend off osteoporosis and some cancers. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D too to help absorb the calcium.
- Functions: helps build strong bones and teeth, regulates muscle contractions and ensures blood clots normally
- Sources of Calcium: milk, cheese, and other dairy foods, green leafy vegetables, soya beans, tofu, soya drinks with added calcium, nuts, bread and fish
- How much do I need? Adults need 700mg a day
- Functions: helps build strong bones and teeth, also releases energy from food
- Sources of Phosphorus: red meat, dairy products, brown rice, oats and wholegrains
- How much do I need? Adults need 550 mg a day.
I once vowed to never take an omega-3 capsule again, but now I’m thinking twice because sometimes life throws things your way and we all need a system boost. Start your journey to a new you today, as a healthy and balanced diet should fulfil all of your body’s needs. Please remember to consult your doctor if you are introducing new supplements into your diet. These are guidelines and many vitamins and minerals are often person specific depending on age, lifestyle and gender.
Why not visit the Holland & Barrett or myvitamins.com stores today via vouchercloud to help save you a bundle on boosting your health? Holland & Barrett also have lots of useful and interesting information on their website to answer any queries you may have on health and wellbeing. If you want to find out more information on vitamins and general health then you could even visit the NHS website.