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Trip down the vitamins and minerals lane... (from A to Z)

This is not intended as a comprehensive list of all the vitamin and minerals in existence. Just a few of the very important ones.

Vitamin A

There are two main types of it. One comes from animal food sources. It helps night vision, makes red blood cells, and fights off infections. The other is in plant based foods and can help prevent an eye condition known as age-related macular degeneration and to cells all over our body. Eat orange veggies and fruits (like cooked sweet potato and cantaloupe), spinach and other greens, dairy products, and seafood such as shrimp and salmon. However, too much vitamin A can hurt your liver.

Vitamin B12

Rev up before hitting the gym with a snack like a hard-boiled egg or cereal with

vitamins added. B12 helps your body break down food for energy. So have a hard-boiled egg or cereal fortified by vitamins before hitting the gym. Some athletes and trainers take supplements before workouts, but these don’t really increase your success if you're already getting enough through your diet.

Vitamin C

Despite claims made by some over-the-counter vitamin C producers, it doesn’t prevent or cure colds. But once you have symptoms, drink orange or grapefruit juice to help yourself stay hydrated and feel better quicker. Your body must have vitamin C to help bones, skin, and muscles grow. You'll get enough from bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, cantaloupe, leafy greens, and other fruits and vegetables.


Its strong composition makes it the building block for bones and teeth. It's also key to make muscles function, including the heart. Best sources are dairy foods, and from green vegetables like kale and broccoli. How much you need depends on your age and gender. Check with your doctor about whether you need to take a supplement.

Vitamin D

Keeps bones strong and helps nerves carry messages. It also plays a role in fighting

germs. Best source is the sun. But be careful not to exceed 10 to 15 minutes on a clear day, without sunscreen. Other sources include oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. There's a little in egg yolks, too. You can also get milk and sometimes orange juice fortified with vitamin D.

Vitamin E

Is an antioxidant that protect cells from damage caused by cigarette smoke, pollution, sunlight, and other bad things. It also helps cells communicate with one another and keeps blood flowing. Sunflower seeds and nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts are good sources. If you're allergic to those, vegetable oils (like safflower and sunflower), spinach, and broccoli are also rich in vitamin E.

Folic Acid

Is a must for expecting mothers. It helps make DNA and prevent spina bifida and other