So long as you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet, you’re getting all the vitamins and nutrients that you need – right? Well, that may no longer be the case for a number of reasons.
First, it’s important to be honest with yourself – is your diet really as balanced as you think it is? Even if you’re paying attention to the big nutrients – things like carbohydrates and healthy fats – and making sure that you get what you need, how much attention do you pay to whether or not your diet contains enough vitamin A or calcium?
For the most part, even the healthiest eaters tend to assume that their foods, by nature of being healthy and good for you, contain the vitamins that we need for a strong and healthy body. But that may not be the case for a number of reasons. Typically, a person’s diet can vary wildly depending on various factors, from the types of food that are in season to the types of foods that an individual can afford.
Nutrient Depleted Foods
Not only that, but foods today don’t always contain as many vitamins and nutrients as they used to. Poor soil quality due to years of over farming means that even the healthiest crops may be underperforming when it comes to the vitamins that they contain. Some vitamins fare worse than others, so its critical to know which ones to be on the lookout for and which ones you may need to add to your diet through additional vitamin-containing superfoods and supplements.
This critical vitamin helps with everything from your bone and skin health to better immune function, and it’s well known as being one of the most important vitamins for your vision. The best sources of Vitamin A are animal in origin, and can be gained through liver, dairy products, and eggs. However, vegetarians and vegans can get Vitamin A through dark, leafy greens and yellow fruits and vegetables.
The B Vitamins
They are necessary for tasks ranging from immune function to brain and nervous system. They usually come bundled up in various food sources. It’s important to eat a range of foods to gain access to all the B vitamins. One B vitamin, thiamine, is not only difficult to get, but becomes naturally depleted for many reasons, including stress and drinking. You can recharge your body’s thiamine stores with different kinds of beans and brewer’s yeast.
Vitamin B12 is yet another one that can become depleted, especially through the use of medications such as those used to combat high cholesterol. While it’s readily available in meats, it can be a challenge for vegetarians and vegans to get enough B12. One of the best sources for those who may lack this vitamin is fortified food products.
Vitamin C isn’t produced naturally in the body, and must come from a dietary source. Fortunately, it’s easy to find in citrus fruits and many dark, leafy greens. In contrast, Vitamin D is found rarely in foods – but getting enough exposure to natural sunlight stimulates the natural processes in the body to create this incredibly important vitamin. Other vitamins that can be challenging to access include: Vitamin E, which you may not be getting enough of if you are on a low-fat diet; folic acid, which is especially important in pregnant and nursing women; and Omega-3s, which can be found in the largest amounts in fish.