The B complex of vitamins (especially B6 and B12) keep blood, nerves, and the immune system functioning properly. They help stabilize blood sugar, guard against anemia, and make antibodies that fight disease. Deficiency in these may be a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.B6 is found in whole grains, bananas, beans, nuts, wheat germ, chicken, and fish. One cup of canned chickpeas contains 55% of your DV for B6.Animal products are the best way to get your B12. Cooked clams have the highest concentration of all with 1,402% of your DV in just 3 ounces! You can also find B12 in beef, pork, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy. It’s also added to many breakfast cereals.You can also eat one cup of plain yogurt and a banana, one ounce of sunflower seeds, and three ounces of roast beef to fill your B12 and B6 quotas. B12 is found only in animal products, so vegans should take a supplement.Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has been shown to fight DNA-damaging free radicals. It may help to maintain a healthy immune system and boost HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol.Most people think of citrus when they think about vitamin C, but did you know that sweet red peppers contain more vitamin C than any other food? Orange juice is a close second, but you can also get your DV from foods including kiwi, brocolli, brussels, sprouts, and cantaloupe.
If you eat your recommended five servings a day of fruits and vegetables and you shouldn’t be lacking in C.
Calcium is essential for bone health and plays an important role in preventing osteoporosis. Its the most abundant mineral in your body. More than 99% of calcium is stored in your teeth and bones and the rest is used for blood vessels and muscle function, cell communication, and hormone secretion.
Up to age 50, women should get at least 1,000 milligrams daily; those over 50 should get at least 1,200. The body can’t absorb more than 500 milligrams of calcium at a time, so small doses are best.
An eight-ounce glass of skim milk, one cup of yogurt, one cup of cooked spinach, and one fig will get you to your calcium goal. If you don’t eat dairy, look for calcium-fortified soy milk or orange juice. Dark, leafy vegetables are another source of natural calcium.
Our bodies generates vitamin D on its own when our skin is exposed to sunlight. It helps our calcium absorption and bone growth. It also helps with the reduction of inflammation. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis and has been linked to certain cancers, as well as to multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
Swordfish, tuna and salmon, and mackerel are among the naturally occurring dietary sources of vitamin D. But most people get their vitamin D comes from fortified foods, like milk, cereal. and yogurt.
If you’re under 50, one 3 1/2-ounce serving of salmon or two cups of fortified milk will give you your daily allowance. Ten to 15 minutes of sunlight (with no sunscreen) two to three times a week is usually sufficient, too.