For those of you who may not be familiar with my Nutrition HELP Guide, it's based on a wholesome and balanced diet using the five main food groups. I personally prefer and recommend getting your daily intake of vitamins and minerals through the nutritious food you eat every day, rather than taking supplements. Multivitamins can be used to prevent deficiencies if recommended by your doctor, but shouldn't be used as a complete replacement.
It's really important to understand what essential vitamins and minerals do for your body and which natural foods are FULL of them. I'm here to help with some basics to get you started!
Magnesium is needed to keep muscle and nerve functioning at its best! It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and it supports energy metabolism. Natural sources of magnesium include leafy vegetables, such as spinach as well as wholegrains.
Vitamin A is classed as an antioxidant which can help to boost your immune system, improve vision and reduce the risk of heart disease. Sweet potato, kale and pumpkin are a great source of vitamin A. Alternatively, you can get vitamin A from beta-carotene which is found in foods such as carrot or rockmelon.
This antioxidant is a huge boost for your immune system and can help to fight off a nasty cold or flu! It even helps wounds heal faster and prevent wrinkles. You can find HEAPS of vitamin C in citrus fruits, like oranges, and vibrant veggies, such as broccoli and capsicum.
Vitamin D aids calcium absorption, which is vital for healthy bones! It also plays a vital role in prime muscle function. It is often referred to as the "happy vitamin" as it can improve mood and reduce feelings of sadness - pretty awesome, right? Whilst there are a few natural foods which have a small amounts of this vitamin, the sun is the best way to receive vitamin D. No, girls! This doesn't mean it's okay to lay outside all day in the sun without sunscreen! 15 minutes per day is recommended but make sure not to go out in peak sunlight hours without protecting your skin!
If your daily intake of this mineral is too low, it could potentially lead to anaemia (lack of red blood cells), leaving you feeling fatigued with very little energy! Iron is particularly important for women with heavy periods. Iron can be found in red meats and spinach however, if you think you are lacking in iron, it's really important to talk to your doctor about taking a supplement to give yourself a boost!