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What's in My Vitamins?  Round II

What's in My Vitamins? Round II

updated

Welcome to the second installment of “What’s in My Vitamins?” In the first article of this series, I described the “letter name” vitamins that appear commonly in our daily supplements, how they can contribute to your health, and where you can find them in foods. This week, you can learn more about the minerals that are also included in your daily dose of goodness. Most of these names should be familiar—you can find almost all of them on the side of any cereal box. Tomorrow morning when you are staring at those puzzles on the back of your cereal box, remind yourself that you are now a nutritional guru. Turn that box around to the grown-up section and read up on the really exciting stuff!

Thiamin

What it Does:

  • Assists with the conversion of carbohydrates into energy
  • Supports nervous system health
  • Helps to minimize numbness, tingling, and other nervous discomfort

Where it’s Found:

  • Fortified breads and grains
  • Lean meats and fish
  • Dried beans, soybeans

Riboflavin

What it Does:

  • Essential to proper metabolism function
  • Supports energy production
  • Helps prevent migraine headaches, cataracts, and rheumatoid arthritis

Where it’s Found:

  • Organ meats
  • Milk and cheese
  • Eggs
  • Dark green leafy vegetables

Niacin

What it Does:

  • Helps the body eliminate toxins
  • Helps stabilize blood sugar
  • May help relieve acne, vertigo, migraine headaches, high blood pressure

Where it’s Found:

  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cheese and milk
  • Dates
  • Eggs
  • Fish, pork, and beef organ meat

Folic Acid

What it Does:

  • Essential to proper brain function
  • Plays a major role in human growth and development

Where it’s Found:

  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Oranges
  • Lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Liver
  • Brewer’s yeast

Biotin

What it Does:

  • Promotes health of sweat glands
  • Important for healthy bone marrow, blood cells, nerve tissue
  • Helps metabolism, energy synthesis

Where it’s Found:

  • Organ meats
  • Oatmeal
  • Egg yolk
  • Soy
  • Mushrooms
  • Bananas
  • Peanuts
  • Brewer’s yeast

Calcium

What it Does:

  • Essential for healthy growth and support of bones and teeth
  • Beneficial in the prevention of osteoporosis
  • Helps blood clot
  • Ensures proper function of muscles and nerves

Where it’s Found:

  • Dairy products
  • Seaweeds
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans
  • Oranges
  • Quinoa
  • Broccoli
  • Soy milk

Iron

What it Does:

  • Enables oxygen delivery to cells
  • Crucial in the production of red blood cells

Where it’s Found:

  • Meat, fish, and poultry
  • Lentils and beans
  • Tofu
  • Chickpeas
  • Leafy vegetables

Phosphorus

What it Does:

  • Speeds up healing of broken bones
  • Balances and helps metabolize other vitamins and minerals
  • Essential to normal heart and kidney function

Where it’s Found:

  • Meat, poultry, fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Nuts and legumes

Iodine

What it Does:

  • Crucial to thyroid health, which affects heart health, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Regulates metabolism

Where it’s Found:

  • Iodized salt
  • Shellfish
  • Deep water fish
  • Brown seaweed kelp

Magnesium

What it Does:

  • Helps maintain muscles, nerves, and bones
  • Used in energy metabolism
  • Assists with protein synthesis

Where it’s Found:

  • Tofu
  • Legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Leafy greens
  • Most nuts

Zinc

What it Does:

  • Zinc is an antioxidant
  • Protects against infections, especially fungal infections
  • Maintains proper vitamin E levels in the blood

Where it’s Found:

  • Beans and lentils
  • Yeast
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains

Selenium

What it Does:

  • Helps build and support white blood cells
  • Essential to healthy immune function
  • Supports thyroid health

Where it’s Found:

  • Fish and shellfish
  • Chicken and red meat
  • Grains
  • Garlic
  • Eggs

Copper

What it Does:

  • Helps the body process iron
  • Important for bone growth and nerve function
  • Protects against cell damage caused by free radicals

Where it’s Found:

  • Organ meats
  • Seafood
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains

Manganese

What it Does:

  • Helps metabolize proteins and fats
  • Supports the immune system
  • Helps maintain blood sugar balance

Where it’s Found:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Pineapples

Chromium

What it Does:

  • Helps with insulin metabolism
  • Improves some symptoms of depression

Where it’s Found:

  • Processed meats
  • Whole grains
  • Mushrooms
  • Brown sugar
  • Coffee and tea
  • Beer!

Molybdenum

What it Does:

  • Assists with liver detoxification
  • Helps with the elimination of waste products from the body

Where it’s Found:

  • Legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Peas

Chloride

What it Does:

  • Maintains proper balance of body fluids
  • Essential to digestive fluids

Where it’s Found:

  • Table salt
  • Rye
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Olives
  • Celery

Potassium

What it Does:

  • Helps maintain balance of water in the body
  • Supports normal muscle and nerve function

Where it’s Found:

  • The best potassium sources are fresh, unprocessed foods
  • All meats
  • Bananas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Citrus fruits
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Squashes

You made it! You can now consider yourself well-versed in all of the tried and true standards of the vitamin world. But just wait until the next installment, when we’ll come to the really interesting stuff. We all have a fair idea of why things like vitamin C are important, but what, for example, is “royal jelly powder,” and why should we be taking it? Tune in next time to find out!

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