A healthy diet consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. When you are looking to improve the intake of vitamins and minerals, it’s important to know what foods are essential to our well-being.
Vitamin A is essential for the better functioning of the immune system and better eye sight. Natural sources of vitamin A are Cod liver oil, dairy products, sweet potatoes and dark green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin is available on whole grain breads, cereals and pastas and is essential for the body to process carbohydrates.
Riboflavin, or B2 abundant in fortified cereals, almonds, asparagus, eggs, and meat is required to convert food into body energy and produce red blood cells in the body.
Niacin, also known as B3 helps in converting food in to energy and aids digestion in many ways. They are available in lean chicken, tuna, salmon, turkey, enriched flour, peanuts, and fortified cereals.
Vitamin B6 breaks down stored sugars and proteins for the body and they can be found in fortified cereals, fortified soy-based meat substitutes, baked potatoes with skin, bananas, light-meat chicken and turkey, eggs, and spinach.
Vitamin B12 which can be found in beef, clams, mussels, crabs, salmon, poultry, and soybeans creates red blood cells within the body.
Vitamin C promotes the health of the immune system of the human body and also it manes chemical messengers in the brain. Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, red berries, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, cabbage, and spinach.
What processes calcium and look after the health of bones and teeth is Vitamin D which can be found in fortified milk, cheese, and cereals; egg yolks; salmon. Also Vitamin D can be made by the body from sunlight exposure.
Skin’s well-being is the task of Vitamin E and you can get that from leafy green vegetables, almonds, hazelnuts, and vegetable oils like sunflower, canola, and soybean.
Essential for the pregnant women, Folic acid is vital for cell development, prevent heart diseases, form red blood cells and prevent any birth defects. They can be found in fortified cereals and grain products; Lima, lentil, and garbanzo beans; and dark leafy vegetables and pregnant women should take special measures to get enough of these for their health.
For strong teeth and bones, Calcium which can be found in Dairy products, broccoli, dark leafy greens like spinach and rhubarb, and fortified products, such as orange juice, soy milk, and tofu is important.
Copper helps in the metabolism of iron, red blood cell formation and production of energy cells which can be found in organ meats, oysters, clams, crabs, cashews, sunflower seeds, wheat bran cereals, whole-grain products, and cocoa products.
Iron which is important to transport oxygen all throughout the body via the red blood cells can be found in leafy green vegetables, beans, shellfish, red meat, poultry, soy foods, and some fortified foods.
Potassium helps in the nervous system, to maintain a healthy water balance in the body tissues and blood as well as the muscle function and can be found in Broccoli, potatoes (with the skins on), prune juice, orange juice, leafy green vegetables, bananas, raisins, and tomatoes.
Zinc also supports the immune system, the nervous system and the reproduction capabilities and can be found in Red meat, fortified cereals, oysters, almonds, peanuts, chickpeas, soy foods, and dairy products.
For your muscles, organs and glands, protein is the key needed nutrient. The cells of muscles, tendons and ligaments are maintained with protein and every living cell; body fluids contain protein except bile and urine. While grown up bodies require protein to maintain cell integrity, growing bodies need protein for the growth and development. It can be found in foods like beans, milk and meat.
Carbohydrates are the key nutrients the body is looking for and it provides energy to the body, the brain and the nervous system. For a stable blood sugar level, complex carbohydrates are the best choice. Found in whole grain breads and cereals, legumes, and starchy vegetables are all good complex carbohydrate sources.
For the metabolic process, fatty acids are important and if you have low levels of fatty acids or the wrong balance of types of essential fatty acids, you are prone to many illnesses. Good sources are fish and shellfish, flaxseed, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, and walnuts.
These are the basic nutrients which should be essentially included in your diets.