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Vitamins:  Nutritional Supplements for Better Health

To be healthy, strong, and energetic throughout our lives, our bodies require a broad range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other micronutrients. Because of poor eating habits, many people do not obtain minimal recommended daily levels of many nutrients.

Certain minimum levels of vitamins, dietary minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids are necessary, while many other nutrients promote health but are not essential for life.

  • Vitamin A (retinal, carotene), C (ascorbic acid), E (tocopherol), Folic Acid, D, and K.
  • B vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), pantothenic acid, niacin, biotin, folic acid (folate), and vitamin B12 (cobalamin).
  • Antioxidants include vitamins C and E, beta carotene, grape seed extract, selenium, and coenzyme Q10, thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation.
  • Essential minerals include boron, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and zinc
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Start with balanced diet of healthy foods

Your body needs more than 40 different nutrients in order to be healthy and not one single food item can supply all the nutrients. Thus, your diet should include food from each of the food groups. Make sure that your daily meals include the following; fruits; vegetables; bread and whole-grain products such as cereals; dairy products and protein-rich food sources such as meat, fish and poultry.

Number of servings for each food group
Make sure to eat 6 servings of bread, rice, cereals or pasta. The ideal amount of fruits would be 2-4 servings daily while vegetable intake should be equivalent to 3-5 servings every day. The recommended serving for cooked meat, on the other hand, is 3 ounces daily.

The key to a healthy diet is not about eliminating certain food items from your daily menu but to eat food in moderation. Eating should be a pleasure too. You need not stay away from steaks, chocolates, whole milk or even junk food. The key is to eat those foods in moderate portions.

Limit your fat intake
Fat is an important source of energy. But too much fat can lead to heart disease, obesity and other problems. To avoid eating too much, make sure to consume 30 per cent or less of your total recommended daily amount of calories from fat, with 10 per cent or less of those calories from saturated fat.

Never skip meals! If you think that skipping meals is the easiest and most effective way of losing weight, you are wrong. In fact, skipping those lunches can lead to out-of-control hunger, which often results to overeating. Try to eat a moderate amount of snacks in between meals to curb hunger.

Always check labels when buying your groceries. Read the nutrient contents of each. Opt for products that are lower in fat, sugar and sodium. And most of all be disciplined if you really want to change your eating habits. Take your time and make changes gradually.

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