Food is fuel for your body, and just as the quality of the fuel you put in your car determines how well your car runs, so does the food you eat. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fortified foods will provide your body with many of the vitamins and minerals it needs to function.
You’ve probably heard that antioxidants are good for you, but how do you get enough of them? One of the most important antioxidants is beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is found in many fruits and vegetables, including carrots, sweet potatoes, and green peppers.
On the other hand, excessive intake of beta-carotene can increase the risk of certain cancers and lung diseases, especially in chronic smokers; the RDA recommends a maximum intake of 3000 IU for men and 2300 IU for women for vitamin A, but does not include beta-carotene itself. In general, no amount of fruits and vegetables high in beta-carotene will lead to an overdose, but caution should be exercised when consuming them as supplements.
It is well known that calcium is good for teeth and bones, but is anyone getting enough of it in their diet? It is well known that calcium is found in dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, but those who avoid dairy products can get it from other foods such as kale and canned sardines.
You can also take calcium supplements, but then you will need to take vitamin D supplements to help absorb it. However, people with kidney stones and women over age 70 need to be very careful before taking calcium supplements.
When was the last time you spent time in the sun that was at least 50 degrees above the horizon (preferably directly overhead)? This is because the sun is considered the perfect place to stimulate vitamin D production in the body.
Instead of going outside at certain times, most of us no longer go outside at all. Because our lives are spent indoors, people are less likely to be out in the sun. But how do we get the vitamin D we need? You can get it from food, such as fortified milk or oily fish, or you can add it to supplements. Ask your doctor to check your levels before you decide to take these supplements.
Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy are usually prescribed a B vitamin called folic acid to help the growing fetus develop and prevent neural tube defects. Folic acid is also important for non-pregnant people because it can reduce the risk of several life-threatening diseases, including heart disease, breast cancer, anemia, and age-related decline in intelligence.
Folic acid is found in many foods, especially dark leafy greens, legumes and citrus fruits. Taking supplements would not hurt either. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are usually prescribed 600 mg of folic acid a day in tablet form, while non-pregnant women can take 400 mg.
Iron is the ideal mineral for optimal red blood cell function. A deficiency can lead to anemia, which is not very pleasant. You can get your daily requirement of iron by eating plenty of green leafy vegetables, red meat, seafood, and nuts, but the best source of iron is probably organic meat.
Iron supplements are not necessary unless you are pregnant, have anemia, or eat a lot of sweets. Iron supplements are sometimes prescribed for menstruating women for five to seven days during menstruation. However, the amount of iron a person needs varies from star to star.
Potassium, along with sodium, plays a role in controlling the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, today’s diet has too much sodium and not enough potassium. This can be corrected by including plenty of leafy greens, bananas, raisins and oranges in your diet.
The average adult needs about 4,700 mg of potassium a day, but pregnant women need a little more – 5,100 mg. Taking supplements is a good way to get enough of this important nutrient, especially if you have heart disease and take diuretics that reduce potassium levels. Although “too much potassium” is unlikely to be a problem, people with kidney disease and the elderly