4 essential nutrients your body can’t go without


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Your body needs various nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, to help you to stay healthy. These micro and macronutrients play an important role in overall health and vitality. If you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you should be able to get most of the vitamins and minerals you need from your food.

However, you may also take supplements to ensure you have the right amount of these nutrients. The following are four of the most essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs. 

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that contributes to the regulation of various body processes. This mineral is vital to the function of more than 300 enzymes in the body. Magnesium is particularly important for the regulation of heart rhythms and in controlling glucose levels in the body. 

The body of an adult human contains about 25 grams of magnesium, up to 50–60% of this quantity is stored in the skeletal system, while the rest is stored in soft tissues, body fluids and muscles. 

Magnesium is an essential macromineral. This means you need to consume it in relatively large amounts to fully benefit from it. On average, the daily recommended value of magnesium is 100mg. 

Statistics show that a lot of people don’t get enough of this macromineral in their diet. However, the symptoms typically don’t always show up in healthy people.

Getting enough minerals can protect your body from chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and so on. Magnesium is also good for the brain and can aid in the prevention and treatment of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

To fuel your body’s magnesium requirements you can supplement with one of the many types of magnesium supplements available or consume a diet rich in high magnesium foods such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, spinach, brown rice, oats, chicken and beef.

Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid or vitamin C is a vital nutrient that is known to do many things in the body. First, it plays an important role in your body’s absorption of other nutrients like iron from food and other supplements.

Vitamin C is also an immune booster and can act as an antioxidant as well. This helps to protect your body cells against the damaging effects of free radicals. 

Vitamin C is needed by your body to produce collagen, an important protein found in connective tissues needed for wound healing. The average recommended daily intake for ascorbic acid is 75mg for women. Men need to take up to 90mg of this nutrient daily.

People who smoke tobacco need to consume a higher amount of Vitamin C per day to counter the effects of the free radicals in the tobacco they smoke. 

Vitamin C can be derived from food sources, especially fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits and juices are the most notable source of this nutrient. You can also get it from vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, bell peppers, and so on. Other rich sources of vitamin C include tomatoes and tomato juice, baked potatoes, strawberries, green and red peppers.

Vitamin B

There are eight different types of essential B vitamins that perform different roles in the body include: 

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin) 
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 
  • Vitamin B7 (biotin)
  • Vitamin B9 (folate) and 
  • Vitamin B12 ( cobalamin)

All of these vitamins aid in the conversion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy. They also play vital roles in cell development and growth. 

B vitamins (especially folate) are particularly recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women as it helps boost their energy levels and relieves nausea and other symptoms of early pregnancy. This nutrient is also good for the baby as it aids in the development of the brain in the fetus and reduces the risks of birth defects. 

In men, B vitamins are believed to boost testosterone levels which decrease naturally as a man ages. Generally, the elderly need more B vitamins. Also, people suffering from gastrointestinal disorders may find this vitamin very beneficial. 

Vitamin B can be derived from various food sources including meat, fish, poultry and eggs. You can also get this nutrient from legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. Pasta and bread are also great sources of vitamins.

Given the abundance of sources, most people can get all the B vitamins they need from their foods. However, statistics show that up to 15% of people don’t get enough vitamin B12. Vegans and vegetarians are more likely to have this deficiency. 

The best way to get B vitamins is through your diet. However, doctors may recommend supplements if you’re discovered to be deficient in any of the B vitamins. You may be told to add a vitamin B complex supplement to your diet if you don’t seem to be getting enough from your diet. 

Calcium

Calcium is a macromineral whose function is often associated with the body’s skeletal system. In fact, up to 99% of the calcium in your body is stored in the bones and teeth. The remaining one percent can be found in the body fluids and muscles where it contributes to various metabolic and neurological functions. Calcium plays a vital role in blood clotting, muscle contraction, heart rhythm, and other important body functions. 

A lack of sufficient calcium in your diet can lead to skeletal and muscular issues. There is an elevated risk of osteoporosis in people who do not get enough calcium in their diet. Typically, your body is meant to get enough calcium from food sources and supplements. However, if you do not get sufficient amounts of calcium from these sources, your body may borrow some calcium from your bones, leading to various bone issues if the calcium is not replenished. 

Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are the main sources of calcium. You can also get calcium from fortified non-dairy milk such as rice milk and almond milk. Other food sources of this nutrient include kale, broccoli, collard green, sardines with bones, and so on. 

Final thoughts

These are some of the most vital vitamins and minerals that your body craves. You can get a good supply of these nutrients from a healthy diet. However, if you don’t seem to be getting enough of them, supplements can be a good way to boost your supply of these minerals and vitamins to keep your body strong and healthy.