Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements: Who Needs Them? With this pandemic going on, there is more and more research (which turns to media attention) on nutrients that may keep us healthy. Please note that all of the CDC guidelines are priority when it comes to controlling viruses and thanks to my intern, Hailey, who helped with this information.
According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, "Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods.” This can be achieved by eating a variety of foods from all five food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy.) However, for varying reasons, some people cannot meet their recommended intake without supplementation. For example, older adults, pregnant/breastfeeding women, those with food allergies or certain medical conditions that limit food choices or those following a low-calorie diet.
Why do we need vitamin D?
Commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D plays a significant role in bone health. It helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which are also important for maintaining strong bones and healthy teeth. In the presence of sunlight, your body naturally creates vitamin D, however many individuals find it hard to meet their needs this way during the colder, winter months as we typically spend less time outside. Foods that have nutrients added to them that do not naturally occur in the food are called fortified foods and are one of the primary food sources of vitamin D.
Why do we need vitamin C?
Vitamin C plays a significant role in the growth and repair of tissues within our body. It helps to heal wounds and maintain the overall health of our bones, teeth, skin and cartilage. Most people think of oranges or orange juice as a main source of vitamin C, however there are many foods that contain much more vitamin C per cup such as red bell peppers, strawberries and kiwis.
Why do we need zinc?
Zinc is a trace mineral found in our body’s cells. It is needed in order for our immune system to function properly and also plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing and the breakdown of carbohydrates. Additionally, zinc is needed for the senses of smell and taste, so being deficient can lead to altered or diminished function of these senses.
*It is not recommended to take more than 100% of the Daily Value (DV) as too much of any vitamin/mineral can be potentially harmful.