Our bodies need some essential minerals and vitamins, usually in small amounts of each, to function properly. They aid everything from normal organ behaviour, bone development, fighting off infections, keeping our skin, hair and nails looking and feeling healthy as well as many other roles. There are many vital nutrients such as iron, calcium, vitamin D and C and fibre we are regularly told to take so we do not become deficient, but what about the vitamins and minerals which play key roles in our bodies that we won't hear about as much? We've taken a look at five essential nutrients and the roles they play in our health that may not be so obvious.
Probably one of the most overlooked minerals today is iodine. Our body needs iodine, but unfortunately, the body does not make it, so we need to find it from diet and supplements. Iodine in the body is necessary as our thyroid glands need it to produce hormones, if it doesn't have enough then it will force the thyroids to work harder which can cause enlarged glands in the neck and further complications. In more severe cases, if the body does not obtain enough iodine it can lead to fertility problems in a woman and high blood pressure in expectant mothers.
Research has shown that the majority of the world's population is deficient in iodine, which could be for some reasons. You can find iodine naturally in foods from the sea and unrefined sea salt, so if you do not eat seafood or, as with many people, avoid added salt in your diet, you could find yourself deficient in this essential mineral.
The recommended daily intake of iodine for adults is 0.14mg a day. If you cannot source this element from seafood or shellfish, then you can add it to your diet with supplements. Wild Nutrition Food Grown Iodine contains 150mcg per capsule and is not just beneficial for healthy thyroid functions, but also aids the nervous system, energy levels and cognition.
If you are living a vegan lifestyle, then chances are you may be deficient in this vitamin. Not found naturally in foods such as fruit and vegetables, the easier way to ensure your diet is rich in vitamin B12 is through eating foods such as meat, importantcheese, milk and eessential
The functions of B12 include making red blood cells, keeping the nervous system healthy and releasing energy from the foods we eat.
However, thankfully living a vegan lifestyle is no longer a hindrance in ensuring your body gets everything it needs! Supplements are readily available to top up your levels and you can find what you need from the Terranova Vitamin B12 500ug Complex.
Not a vitamin which is often advertised as vital, but vitamin K has several very important functions, first, one for the females.
Ladies, this is definitely not a vitamin we should be over looking. Vitamin K helps in the proper functioning of the hormones at the right time for a more regular 'time of the month', this then leads to helping with any menstrual pain which you may suffer from. If you experience prolonged or heavy periods, then vitamin K can help you here too. Vitamin K is probably best known for its blood clotting properties, if you have experienced an injury for example, but it can also reduce the amount of blood lost during each menstrual cycle.
Expecting and feeling nauseous? Vitamin K has got you covered here too. Research shows that pregnant women who are suffering from vomiting are deficient and an intake of vitamin K can provide relief in less then 72 hours and can go on to prevent mild forms of these symptoms in the future.
As well as helping at the right time of the month and providing a vital role in controlling blood clotting when we hurt ourselves, vitamin K is essential for our body and bone health, especially those who suffer with osteoporosis.
It is recommended that you take 0.001mg a day of vitamin K for each kilogram of your body weight, so for example if you weigh 65kg you will need 0.065mg a day. You should be able to get all you need from a healthy balanced diet including foods such as leafy greens, vegetables like broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts and lettuce.
Selenium is naturally found in soil, so it makes its way into our water and in some foods as well as being added to supplements. We do only need a very small amount of selenium in our bodies, but it helps with and plays a key role in our metabolism. It is present in almost every cell of the body, but most notably it can be found in the kidneys, liver, spleen and pancreas.
This trace element is also a brilliant antioxidant - which is what we love to hear! It also contributes to a healthy liver function, protects against toxic minerals in the body, heart disease and helps neutralise the effects of smoke, alcohol and fats.
Selenium can be easily found in many foods such as brazil nuts, poultry, seafood, oats and brown rice. However the levels of selenium may differ, it depends on the level which was present in the soil in which certain foods are grown in. You can get what you need from supplements and the recommended daily allowance is 70mcg for men and 55mcg for women.
You can find a natural source of selenium in Wild Nutrition Food Grown Selenium, as well as it being an added ingredient in several multivitamins and powders such as Viridian High Five Multivitamin & Mineral Formula and GP Nutrition Clean Me 14 day Box.
Vitamin A is essential for our vision, so its best for your peepers to keep it topped up! There are two forms available in the human diet, retinol, which is ready for the body to use and also as carotenoids, which is the raw material the body converts to vitamin A. Not only essential for our vision, but it also aids our immune systems and works with our genes.
Brighten up your diet with vitamin A rich foods such as carrots, sweet potato, tomato, sweet red pepper and broccoli.