A to Z healthy Eating

Are you getting all the vitamins and minerals you needs to keep your body healthy? To keep the body moving healthy and thriving, it needs to proper balance of nutrients . Although you can get most of these nutrients from supplements, it is better to get them from foods. Check out which foods you should eat to get the nutrients your body needs.

Vitamin A: plays a huge role in immunity, reproductive health, and vision. The highest amount of vitamin A comes from yams. Other foods that have vitamin A, include, spinach, fish, milk, eggs and carrots.

B6: Helps to metabolize foods, stabilize blood sugars, help form hemoglobin, and makes antibodies to fight disease. One of the richest foods with B6 is garbanzo beans. Other foods include, sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, fish, chicken, dried fruit and bananas.

B12: This vitamin is very important for the nervous system, formation of DNA and red blood cells. Animal products are usually the best source of B12, such as, clams, salmon and tuna. However, there are other sources of B12, such as, nutritional yeast, fortified breakfast cereals and fermented foods, such as, algae, spirulina, seaweed and nori.

Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant. It is also important for protein metabolism and synthesis of neurotransmitters. Sweet bell peppers are the greatest source of vitamin C. Citrus is also high in vitamin C, kiwi, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cantaloupe.

Calcium: The most abundant mineral in the body. It helps to fortify teeth and bones, blood vessel and muscle function, and cell communication. Dairy foods contain the most calcium. Choose low fat dairy that are fortified with calcium, or dark leafy, such as, kale and chinese cabbage, and fortified cereals.

Vitamin D: The sunshine vitamin, helps to absorb calcium. It is also very important for immunity and mental wellness. Best derived from fatty fish, such as, swordfish, salmon, and mackerel. You can also get vitamin D from fortified dairy (yogurt and milk), and fortified breakfast cereals.

*make sure the breakfast cereal you choose is whole grain and has less than 8 grams sugar per serving.

Vitamin E: Powerful antioxidant. Protects the cells from free radicals, Improves immune function and healthy blood vessel function. Wheat germ is an excellent source of vitamin E. Sunflower seeds and almonds are also high in vitamin E.

*Only a few Tbsp. of nuts and seeds are necessary. Eating too much nuts and seeds can cause weight gain due to excess calories and fat.

Folate: Most important for pregnant women or women of childbearing age. It also helps form new tissues and protein formation. Folate is found in most green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and dairy foods.

Iron: Proteins in the body use iron for transport of oxygen and cell growth. Most of the body’s iron is found in hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to ALL the cells in the body. Heme iron is found in animal products, non-heme iron is found in lentils and beans.

Vitamin K: Very important for coagulation or blood clotting. Without it your body would not be able to stop bleeding. Green leafy vegetables are the best source.

Lycopene: Important antioxidant. May guard against cancer if eaten on a regular basis. Tomatoes are the best source, however, they must be cooked tomatoes. Watermelon is also a great source.

Lysine: Amino acid that helps the body absorb calcium and form collagen for bones and connective tissue. Protein rich foods, such as animal products, as well as, nuts, legumes and soybeans.

Magnesium: Important for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Some of these include, muscle and nerve function, keeping heart rate strong and keeping bones strong. Wheat bran has the highest amount of magnesium. When you process grains you lose the magnesium benefit. Choosing whole grains is your best option. Cashews and green vegetables are also high in magnesium.

Niacin: A B vitamin. Helps convert food into energy, aids in the digestive system, and allows the nerves to function properly. Dried yeast is the best way to get niacin, however, PB, or peanuts, and chicken are great sources.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Very important for brain health and reducing inflammation. There are two categories of Omega 3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA). ALA is found in vegetable oils, green vegetables, nuts and seeds. EPA and DHA is commonly found in fatty fish.

Potassium: Essential electrolyte, needed to control activity of the heart. Also used to build protein and muscle and helps break down carbohydrates into energy. Potassium is found is many plant foods, including, melon, avocado, strawberries, bananas, potatoes and many more.

Riboflavin: Also part of the B family. An antioxidant that helps the body fight disease, create energy and produce red blood cells. Breakfast cereal is very high in this vitamin, make sure you choose a lower sugar variety.

Selenium: A mineral with antioxidant properties. Helps regulate thyroid and improve the immune system. Brazil nuts are a great source, and you only need about 8 nuts. 3oz tuna is also a great source. Take caution not to over eat selenium, or over supplement, too much can cause selenosis, which can cause, fingernail loss, skin rash, hair loss, fatigue and irritability.

Thiamin: Actually called B1, thiamin is important for turning carbohydrate into energy. Dried yeast is an excellent source of thiamin, also high is pine nuts.

Zinc: Helps with immune function, also important for helping improve taste and smell function. Most zinc is found in animal products, such as, beef and chicken, oysters have the most zinc then any other food.

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