The Supplement-Free Diet: Getting Vitamins From Food

You’ve probably seen the rows upon rows of nutritional supplements in your local department or drug store that are touted to improve immune system function. Instead of swallowing endless handfuls of pills or chugging that horribly flavored beverage, try getting your vitamins from food. Your local grocery store has all of the vitamins your body will ever need.

1. Calcium

Calcium is responsible for many things like strong bones and teeth, good nervous system function and proper blood clotting. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend your days drinking whole milk and packing on the pounds while you’re trying to get your recommended daily allowance of calcium. Spinach is a wonderful source of this important mineral, and if you don’t enjoy cooked spinach, try a raw spinach salad—you may find that it tastes better, and it’s better for you, too.

2. Fiber

Fiber is important for good digestion, and good digestion can improve immune system function. This means that the more ‘regular’ you are, the healthier you will become. It also helps to regulate blood sugar and reduces your risk of developing heart disease. Most people think of tasteless grains and the like when they think of fiber, but in all actuality, there are plenty of tasty ways to get your recommended daily intake. Peas, lentils, black bean as well as many varieties of fruits and vegetables all contain this necessary dietary element that provides unbeatable immune support.

3. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is necessary in the diet to maintain vision, improve immune system function and even aid in the reproductive process. That’s right, folks—if you’re trying to conceive, make sure you’re getting your recommended Vitamin A intake. Though supplements are available in pill form, you’ll likely find unpeeled sweet potatoes, carrots and spinach as well as fortified whole-grain cereals to be much more filling, tastier options.

4. Vitamins B6 and B12

Vitamins B6 and B12 are both very important to the metabolism, and a healthy metabolism can help you feel more energetic; it may even help you lose weight. You can find ample amounts of B6 in foods like soybeans and fortified soy products as well as in organ meats. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the production of red blood cells and can be found in fish, poultry, meat and fortified whole grain cereals. If you choose to consume meats in order to get your allowances of B6 and B12, be sure to choose organic options for the greatest health benefits.

5. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most well-known vitamins on the planet that will improve immune system function, but it is also a powerful antioxidant. You may already be one of the millions of people in the country who increases his or her intake of Vitamin C at the first sign of a cold or the flu because it is a known immune booster, and this is a great all-natural and yummy-tasting way to combat these illnesses. Oranges, red and green peppers, kiwis, strawberries, broccoli and mangoes are all wonderful sources of this vitamin.

There are plenty of vitamins out there that can improve immune system function, and getting them naturally is much better for you than ingesting them as pills, drinks or other concoctions. The second and final part of this series will provide more information about additional vitamins that you can get solely from your diet.


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