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Project Wellness: Vitamins and Minerals

By Kari Crow, Health & Productivity Representative

clock November 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Your A to Z Guide

Foods_(cropped)You’re standing in an aisle at the grocery store surrounded by products, comparing labels. Five minutes later and you still haven’t made a decision. We’ve all been there. We know vitamins and minerals are essential but it’s overwhelming. What does it all mean?

Here’s a quick break down of primary vitamins and minerals, what they do for you and where you can get them. Note: For recommended daily allowances based on age and sex, click here.

  • A – Promotes good vision and a healthy immune system. Found in milk, eggs, dark orange and green vegetables and orange fruits.
  • B2 Riboflavin - Essential for growth, turning carbohydrates into energy, and producing red blood cells. Found in meats, eggs, legumes, nuts and dairy.
  • B3 Niacin - Helps the body turn food into energy and is important to maintain healthy skin and nerve function. Found in red meat, poultry, fish, hot and cold cereal and peanuts.
  • B6 - Important for normal brain and nerve function. It also assists the body in breaking down proteins and making red blood cells. Found in bananas, potatoes, nuts, red meats, eggs, spinach and cereals.
  • B9 Folate - Helps the body make red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA. Found in beans, legumes, green vegetables, bread, rice and cereals.
  • B12 - Helps to make red blood cells, and is important for nerve cell function. Found in fish, poultry, dairy and red meat.
  • C – Needed to form collagen, a tissue that helps to hold cells together. It's essential for healthy bones, teeth, gums, and blood vessels. It also helps the body absorb iron, aids in wound healing, and contributes to brain function. Found in citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes and strawberries.
  • Calcium – Most abundant mineral in the body and is vital for building strong bones and teeth. Found in most dairy products.
  • D – Strengthens bones by absorbing bone-building calcium. Your body manufactures it from sunlight as well as oily fish, egg yolks, and orange juice.
  • E – An antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage. It is also important for the health of red blood cells. Found in nuts, green leafy vegetables, whole grains and avocados.
  • Iron - Helps red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body and supports metabolism. Found in meat, pork, fish, soy and green leafy vegetables.
  • K – Needed for blood clotting and building strong bones. Found in herbs, lettuce, and other vegetables.
  • Magnesium - Helps muscles and nerves function, steadies the heart rhythm, keeps bones strong and helps the body create energy and make proteins. Found in chocolate, banana, avocados and milk.
  • Phosphorus - Helps form healthy bones and teeth and also helps the body make energy.
  • Zinc - Important for normal growth, strong immunity, and wound healing. Found in meat and fish.

Next time you find yourself overwhelmed by nutrition labels, pull out this list for a quick reference and make a healthy purchase you feel good about.

At Marsh & McLennan Agency, we believe that any organization, regardless of size or budget, can create a corporate culture that encourages the development of Total Health for every employee. Learn more about MMA's wellness programs by visiting our website.

wellness

Sources: CDC, Top 10 Foods, Highest in Vitamin K, Nutrition.gov, Kidshealth.org

Topics: Wellness

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