Good health is the foundation for a great life. Most people focus on eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise to stay in shape—and, of course, plenty of rest and relaxation. What they don’t often realize, however, is that vitamins are the key to supporting vital bodily processes that prevent disease, boost mood, keep weight down and other positive benefits.
Read on to get to know which vitamins are essential to your everyday health, as well as what to do if you’re not getting the right nutrients from dietary sources alone.
Diet + Exercise is the Key to Wellness
It’s established fact that following a proper diet and getting adequate exercise are the cornerstones of good health. While dietary needs differ for everyone, eating plenty of whole foods like fruits and vegetables, proteins, whole grains and nuts supports bodily processes, aids in the prevention of diseases, keeps weight in check and even improves mood, among other benefits.
Exercise provides similar benefits to those described above. Most healthy adults need at least two-and-a-half hours of medium-intensity exercise each week. It’s a good idea for men and women alike to mix vigorous aerobic exercise with a weight training regimen to keep fat levels low and improve muscle strength.
A Proper Diet is a Vitamin-Rich One
A vitamin-rich diet is essential for promoting your overall health, no matter your age. Vitamins keep the body in good working order, aiding in essential processes like metabolism, immune function and much more. In the most general terms, vitamins protect cells throughout the body.
Cells don’t stay healthy all on their own—they need nutrients to support them. Vitamins, particularly antioxidant vitamins, serve to protect cells from environmental, dietary and physical stressors, preventing cell damage and cell death, while promoting healthy aging.
Essential Vitamins and Their Purposes
Tracking the vitamins and minerals you get from your diet is a great way to make sure your body has the right nutrients to support essential processes. From improving skin health, bone strength, immune function and more, get to know the primary roles each essential vitamin plays in your overall health:
- Vitamin A. Also known as retinol, vitamin A contributes to healthy skin, membranes, soft tissues, bones and teeth.
- Vitamin B complex. The B vitamins play a variety of roles in essential bodily functions. They assist in the conversion of nutrients into energy, contribute to healthy cell function and boost metabolism.
- Vitamin C. One of the most effective nutrients, vitamin C is an essential nutrient and potent antioxidant that supports a healthy immune system.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a variety of roles in the body, promoting healthy bones and teeth and supporting immune, brain and nervous system function.
- Vitamin E. Vitamin E is another important antioxidant that fights free radicals. Its primary function is to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation that may lead to cancer, diabetes, skin conditions and many other health concerns.
- Vitamin K. This nutrient benefits the body in a variety of ways, supporting heart, bone and cognitive health.
Too Many Diets Neglect Vitamins
While a few days or even a few weeks of poor food choices won’t do significant damage to the body, following a poor diet for an extensive amount of time leaves your body lacking in essential nutrients. Following fad diets can be even more damaging—an obsession with calorie counting or eating a low-fat diet can quickly lead to nutrient deficiency.
Luckily, you can reverse a vitamin deficiency by eating foods rich in the missing nutrients. Adjust your diet to one rich in whole foods including fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. You’ll keep fat levels low while increasing your daily intake of essential nutrients. When in doubt, shop the outside of the grocery store, where fresh food resides. Most diets encourage whole foods, and they’re a surefire way to give your body the nutrition it needs to thrive.
Supplementation is a Convenient Solution
Having trouble getting all the essential nutrients your body needs from diet alone? While you may be doing your best to eat healthy, it can be challenging to take in all the nutrients you need from food alone. Supplementing may be the answer.
Since supplementing isn’t the same for everyone, always talk to your doctor before beginning a new regimen. Only a physician can determine your individual needs and develop a suitable vitamin dosage plan that works best for your body. Following approval, make sure you’re choosing an all-natural supplement to boost bioavailability (absorption) of the nutrient and look forward to better health.