Vitamins & Minerals 101

posted Mar 5, 2012, 7:20 AM by hoconnor1@luc.edu   [ updated Mar 5, 2012, 7:24 AM ]
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were developed with the ultimate goal to improve the health of our Nation by promoting healthy eating and physical activity. Important information regarding our nation’s current health is pointed out in the guidelines, including the fact that many children are consuming too many calories and not enough nutrients. This issue remains a primary focus due to the overwhelming evidence that proper nutrition, including adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals, is vital at every stage of life.

One of the many approaches taken to promote healthier eating included a section titled “Foods and Nutrients to Increase.” This section emphasized including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, unsalted nuts and seeds, and oils into the diet. Maintaining this balance of food groups will ensure adequate vitamin and mineral intake for proper body functioning. This section also discusses nutrients of public health concern, including potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D.

There has also been emphasis on obtaining all necessary nutrients from whole foods for many reasons:

  • Whole food provides greater nutrition than supplements. Whole foods are complex and contain many micro-nutrients that your body needs.
  • Whole foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes contain essential fiber. High fiber foods are also packed with essential nutrients.
  • Fruits and vegetables contain protective substances called phytochemicals. These substances may help protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 2010. Available at: www.dietaryguidelines.gov. Accessed February 28, 2012.

Supplements: Nutrition in a pill? Mayo Clinic. 2011. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/supplements/NU00198. Accessed February 27, 2012.

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