The importance of including vitamins in one’s diet
December 2, 2021
The human body stands as a singular structure, made up of several complex systems that carry out involuntary actions every single day. In order to accurately understand this intricacy, using the metaphor of an automobile as the human body simplifies the process. The higher quality of food ingested by the body yields a higher quality of production. Despite this, one important factor that various people frequently overlook consists of the inclusion of a variety of vitamins in one’s diet. From athletes to entrepreneurs to aspiring chefs, vitamins can play a safe and healthy role in anyone’s diet, which will only benefit them in the long run.
“A supplement will generally provide 100 percent of the daily recommended allowance for all vitamins and minerals. Therefore, many nutritionists will agree that a supplement is OK if nutrient needs are not being met by a healthy food-based diet,” Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., and Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at the Pennsylvania State University’s College of Health and Human Development said.
Besides daily multivitamins that serve their proper purposes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that adult Americans do not typically consume enough of the following nutrients: calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, and E. Though doctors recommend that humans receive their nutrients through food, people can choose to ingest it through gummy or pill forms. Proper dieting and following the advice of medical professionals can ensure that an individual receives the correct amount of each nutrient that supplements each person’s unique body type.
The human body requires calcium to build strong bones during one’s childhood and maintain bone mass as an adult. According to the USDA, “the average American adult (eating roughly 2,000 calories per day) should get 1,136 milligrams of calcium each day”. In addition to laying the foundation of one’s bone structure, calcium plays a vital role in forming strong teeth. In order to achieve this, nutritionists recommend individuals consume dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and other calcium-based drinks. Those who receive the lactose intolerant diagnosis or require a large amount of calcium, can turn to calcium gummies and pills. The lone use or combination of these tactics help treat low calcium conditions such as osteoporosis, osteomalacia, hypoparathyroidism, and latent tetany.
Nutritionists consider potassium more of a mineral, but also classify it as an electrolyte. This nutrient helps carry out body regulations, send nerve signals, and regulate muscle contractions. Individuals can consume potassium by incorporating foods such as bananas, leafy greens, and various other vegetables and fruits into their diets. Due to its solubility, those who require more potassium can receive it through a powder form, as well as capsules and gummies. A potassium rich diet will reduce blood pressure which lowers the chance of strokes while preventing osteoporosis and kidney stones from forming.
Magnesium, a nutrient that the majority of people neglect, helps the human body produce energy, and allows muscles, arteries, and the heart to work properly. According to the USDA, the average American adult should consume 380 milligrams of magnesium each day. Common ways to incorporate magnesium into one’s diet consist of eating foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, beans, and tofu. With roles in over 300 different enzyme reactions, magnesium ultimately regulates blood pressure and boosts the immune system.
Vitamins A, B, C, and D:
These groups of vitamins remain essential to everyday life and play vital roles in processes such as digestion, vision, nerve function, and the strength of our immune system. Though humans should only consume minor quantities, each of these vitamins holds its own purpose. Vitamin A revolves around vision, as it remains an essential component of rhodopsin, a protein that absorbs light in the retinal receptors. Vitamin B focuses on the body’s cells in which the vitamin converts food into energy creating blood cells and maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin C protects the body from outside pathogens and fights off diseases. Vitamin D goes hand in hand with calcium, as it helps absorb calcium and strengthens one structure. These vitamins reside in meats (vitamin A), dairy products (vitamin b), fruits (vitamin C), and the sun (vitamin D).
“In school, we were taught that if you’re eating a balanced diet, getting all the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy, you may not need supplements. But after diving into more research and seeing clients, my opinion has changed. Supplements are just as essential to our health as a well balanced diet,” Jessica Bippen from Nourished by Nutrition said.
As more and more high-quality gyms open up around the NC community, fitness gurus should examine their diet to see if all of their vitamin needs find a way into their daily nourishment. Fitness performance can enhance only if a vitamin deficiency exists, but does not boost directly from supplements.
“I try to gravitate towards foods that have omega-3 fatty acids to improve my heart health because my family has a history of heart disease and heart attacks. When it comes to working out, I actually drink protein shakes because they help me build muscle and burn fat. I use almond milk in them which helps me receive all sorts of nutrients like calcium and certain fibers so you can say I really do value the importance of maintaining proper nutrition,” senior student-athlete and gym enthusiast Jordan Karim said.
Including the appropriate vitamins into one’s diet allows the human body to grow, develop, and in certain cases recover. They also play important roles in bodily functions such as metabolism, immunity, and digestion. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, eating a balanced diet containing a variety of foods will supply all the vitamins needed to “keep the car running”. If one cannot meet one’s needs through food alone, then they may require dietary supplements but should seek guidance from their doctor or dietitian before taking supplements. All in all, the human body operates best when it receives adequate intake from its operator.