Vitamins & MineralsWhen it comes to weight loss and fitness, there's a lot of talk about calories, carbs, protein and fat (also known as proximates, as well as macronutrients). And while you could lose weight on the Twinkie Diet, you'll end up hurting yourself in the long run.
What will help boost your metabolism and keep your body running like a well-oiled machined are the vitamins and minerals found in food.
VitaminsVitamins are organic micronutrients (nutrients that are needed in small amounts). They do not contain calories and are either water soluble or fat soluble. The majority of vitamins need to be consumed through foods, with the exceptions being vitamins k and d (the sunshine vitamin!) as well as biotin.
Water Soluble Vitamins
Water soluble vitamins can not be stored in the body, with the exception of vitamins b6 and b12. They're easily excreted in your urine, which means there's less chance of reaching a toxic level of a water soluble vitamin in your body. On the down side, it means that you must make sure you replenish your stores of these vitamins.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Fat soluble vitamins are usually found in foods that contain fat. These vitamains are stored in your liver and fat tissue, which means there's less chance of having a deficiency in fat soluble vitamins. On the downside, since the body can store these vitamins, there's a risk of overconsumption.
Yes, having too much of a vitamin could hurt your body.
MineralsMinerals are different from vitamins in that they can be found not only in food but right within your body. Think of all that calcium in your bones and teeth!
Minerals can be tricky because one mineral can have an effect on a different mineral and cause a mineral not to be absorbed properly.
There is no one superfood that contains all vitamins and minerals in the right amount. That's why it's so important to eat a variety of food. And that's why it's a bad idea to remove a food group unless it's under your doctor's supervision.
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
How much of these vitamins and minerals do you each day for optimum health? Most countries have what's called the Recommended Daily Allowance -- also known as the RDA. The RDA is the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals you should be consuming on a daily basis, depending on your age and gender.
Use the FitWatch Vitamins and Minerals Calculator to get an idea of your recommended daily allowance.
Food Sources of Vitamins and Minerals
Use the Food Sources tool to search for foods by vitamin and minerals: Food Sources.