Healthy Living: Five key vitamins

Strawberries are rich in vitamin C
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C

Make sure you get your five a day.

If like many you lead a busy life and often have to eat on the go or grab whatever’s convenient come lunchtime, it can be hard to make sure you’re getting all of the vitamins and minerals your body requires.

It’s not always possible to plan out meals and prepare for busy days, so it’s a good idea to introduce supplements in to your diet to make sure you get the recommended intake required for a healthy body.

Vitamin C

Most commonly known for its ability to build up the immune system and help prevent colds, vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges and strawberries.

The recommended daily intake for adults is 40mg, but this may vary depending on the individual.

Studies have proven that due to its high antioxidant qualities, including vitamin C in your daily diet can help prevent diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Selenium

Selenium is a vital mineral found in nuts, meat, fish, and eggs.

Its benefits include repairing muscle tissue, providing healthy skin and helping the growth of hair and nails.

Signs that you’re not getting enough can include brittle nails, muscular pain and even hair loss.

The recommended daily intake for adults is about 55mg, which is the equivalent to a portion of tuna, three mushrooms or a Brazil nut.

Zinc

You may not have discussed zinc since chemistry class at school, but it is a crucial element in our diet.

Most commonly found in seeds, meat, fish and eggs, zinc helps stabilise our blood sugar level, metabolic rates and supports a healthy immune system.

Research shows that zinc also helps improve eyesight and has anti-aging qualities.

It is recommended that adults get 8 to 12 mg per day, so if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet this may be hard to achieve and a supplement would be beneficial for you.

Iron

Iron is essential for transporting oxygen around the body, carrying it to cells, organs and most importantly – the brain.

It plays a vital role in repairing muscular tissues and supporting the immune system.

Deficiency is most common in women and people who eat a meat-free diet, as meat is a strong source of iron.

Other food sources include fish, fruit, legumes and leafy, green vegetables such as spinach and kale.

The average recommended daily intake is 8 to 15mg, but this can differ depending on gender and age.

Magnesium

Research shows that people who consume less than the recommended intake of magnesium are more likely to suffer health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Magnesium is crucial for maintaining strong bones, good blood pressure and a healthy heart and it is recommended that adults get about 400mg per day.

Food sources containing the mineral include whole-grain cereals, nuts, beans and green vegetables.

If you struggle to include these foods regularly in your diet then introducing a daily supplement will make sure you get the recommended dosage and achieve good, overall health.