The essential vitamins and minerals your body needs for optimum nutrition
Vitamin C
Vitamin C is well known for keeping colds and flu in check, but it’s also a powerful antioxidant. It assists in the absorption of iron and supports good nutrition, skin and wound healing. Symptoms of deficiency of vitamin C can range from mild dysfunction and low immune system, to scurvy, a disease causing fatigue, gum infection and bleeding. Food sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits (oranges, lemons), berries, broccoli, and even hot chili peppers.
B Complex: Vitamins B1, B2, B3
Also known as thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin respectively, these three work together promote metabolism and release energy from our food. All three are equally important and vital for optimum nutrition. The B-Complex can be rapidly depleted in a high stress, causing fatigue, weakness, and lack of energy. A part of good nutrition, they’re naturally found in whole unprocessed foods such as legumes (lentils or beans), whole grains, potatoes, bananas, and yeast.
Iron is an essential mineral that is used by the body as a part of the protein hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to all parts of the body in the blood, providing nutrition and energy to cells. Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world, causing tiredness, dizziness, irritability and weakness. Nutritional sources of iron include red meat, poultry, fish, tofu, lentils, beans, chickpeas and leafy green vegetables, as well as enriched breads and cereals.
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients that assists in the normal function of the brain and nervous system, and in the production of blood cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency can initially cause fatigue, depression and poor memory, but escalate to anemia and permanent nerve damage if left untreated. Plant sources of Vitamin B12 are rare, but most animal products contain B12, including meat (especially liver), fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and dairy products.
Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)
Also known as folate, this is another powerhouse B vitamin that we can only get it through proper nutrition. It aids cell growth, DNA synthesis and healthy blood cells, and therefore it’s very important in pregnancy and childhood. A deficiency of folic acid can cause weakness, and in a pregnant woman it can cause defects to the baby. Important nutritional sources include avocado, green leafy vegetables like spinach, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and nuts.
Calcium is another essential mineral required for good nutrition. Calcium is well known for supporting healthy bone growth and strength - 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth! The other 1% helps with muscle and nerve function. Excellent nutrition sources of calcium are milk and dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese, but for those unable to eat dairy, green leafy vegetables, nuts and beans are also good sources.
Vitamin D
Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin – it’s made in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D works with calcium to increase bone strength and prevent weak and deformed bones. If you don’t get enough sunlight because you cover up when outside or you live in an area of weak sunlight, you might need supplements for proper nutrition. There are only a few food sources of Vitamin D, including some mushrooms, fish, eggs and beef liver.

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