The Facts About Nutrition
Here's how to get the vitamins and minerals you need.
By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column
Good nutrition is much more than something to fill your
The most important feature of a good diet is variety. We all know variety is the spice of life, but did you realize that unless you eat a wide variety of foods, you may be missing out on important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients? Eating the right mix of vitamins and minerals will help you feel and look your best at any age.
To make sure your eating plan contains all the nutrients you need, choose a rainbow of colorful foods. The pigments that give foods their color are also the nutritious substances that can reduce your risk of cancer and chronic diseases like heart disease.
Of course, foods with the most "pigment power" are mostly fruits and
Vitamins in the News
The hottest vitamins these days are the antioxidants (E, C, and A, along with the mineral selenium) and the "sunshine" vitamin, also known as vitamin D.
Antioxidants help gobble up those nasty free radicals. A diet rich in antioxidants has been linked to a host of health-promoting, disease-fighting activities in the body.
Antioxidant-rich foods include:
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene: pumpkin, squash, carrots, spinach, sweet
potatoes, cantaloupes, dark leafy greens, and mangoes
- Vitamin C: citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and asparagus
- Vitamin E: vegetable oil, almonds, whole grains, wheat germ, sweet potatoes, and yams
- Selenium: salmon and haddock
Vitamin D has been in the news lately as studies have shown that people living in northern latitudes (such as much of the northern U.S.) may not get enough of this nutrient. Without adequate vitamin D, your body can't properly absorb calcium, leading to a higher risk of broken
The best source of this nutrient is sunshine. Other good sources include:
- Fortified milk and some orange juices. Juice manufacturers are now adding both calcium and vitamin D for better absorption.
- Salmon and mackerel
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