VITAMINS AND MINERALS

Excerpts taken from WebMD

So when your doctor, or someone else’s says “Well, that’s Parkinson’s” do you just accept that as being so, or do you start thinking, I wonder what my vitamin and mineral levels look like. What if I’m deficient? Check this:

VITAMIN A – One type comes from animal sources of food. It helps you see at night, make red blood cells, and fight off infections. The other type is in plant foods. It helps prevent damage to cells and an eye problem called age-related macular degeneration. (But too much vitamin A can hurt your liver.) Eat orange veggies and fruits like sweet potato and cantaloupe, spinach and other greens, dairy foods, and seafood such as shrimp and salmon.

VITAMIN B1 (THIAMIN) – It helps your body turn food into energy. It’s also key for the structure of brain cells. Legumes, like black beans and lentils, and seeds are go-to sources. Pork and whole grains are also good. Most people get enough thiamin from the foods they eat, but pregnant and breastfeeding women need a little more. People with diabetes tend to have low levels of it.

VITAMIN B2 (RIBOFLAVIN) – You could get enough for the day from a good breakfast! It’s added to many fortified breads and grain products and also found naturally in eggs, asparagus and other green veggies, and milk. Your cells need it to work right, and it might help prevent migraines. (It gets its name from the Latin word “flavus” for yellow. A lot of B2 will turn your pee a bright color.)

VITAMIN B3 (NIACIN) – This is a family of compounds that your body needs to turn food into energy and store it. It helps protect your skin and tissues, too, and may improve your cholesterol levels. Three ounces of canned tuna has nearly all you’ll need in a day. Or serve up some chicken, turkey, salmon, or other lean meats. You’re vegan? Eat crimini mushrooms, peanuts, and peanut butter.

VITAMIN B6 – This vitamin plays a role in more than 100 different reactions in your body. Some research has shown that B6 may help protect against memory loss, colorectal cancer, and PMS. It’s found in many kinds of foods including leafy and root vegetables; non-citrus fruits like bananas, avocados, and watermelon; legumes; and fish, poultry, and lean meat.

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. Some athletes and trainers take supplements before workouts, but these don’t really boost your success if you’re getting enough in your meals.

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

CALCIUM – This mineral helps concrete harden. Its strength makes it the building block for your bones and teeth. It’s also key to make muscles move, including your heart. Get calcium from milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy foods, and from green vegetables like kale and broccoli. How much you need depends on your age and sex. Check with your doctor about whether you should take a supplement.

CHROMIUM – You only need a trace amount of this mineral, which is believed to help keep your blood sugar levels steady. Most adults easily get enough by eating foods like broccoli, English muffins, and garlic. You may see chromium supplements that promise to help you lose weight, but there’s no scientific evidence to back up those claims.

VITAMIN D – Like calcium, it keeps your bones strong and helps your nerves carry messages. It also plays a role in fighting germs. Careful time in the sun—10 to 15 minutes on a clear day, without sunscreen—is the best source. Or you could eat fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. There’s a little in egg yolks, too. You can also get milk and sometimes orange juice with added vitamin D.

VITAMIN E – It’s something called an antioxidant, which protects your cells from damage caused by cigarette smoke, pollution, sunlight, and more. Vitamin E also helps your cells talk to each other and keeps blood moving. 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 have vitamin E, too.

VITAMIN K You need it for blood clotting and healthy bones. People who take warfarin, a blood-thinner, have to be careful about what they eat, because vitamin K stops the drug from working. A serving of leafy greens — like spinach, kale, or broccoli — will give you more than enough K for the day. A Japanese dish called natto, made from fermented soybeans, has even more.

IRON When your levels are low, your body doesn’t make enough healthy red blood cells. And without them, you can’t get oxygen to your  tissues. Keep up your levels with beans and lentils, liver, oysters, and spinach. Many breakfast cereals have a day’s worth added. Even dark chocolate with at least 45% cacao has some!

MAGNESIUM is a mineral your body needs to work right. It helps with hundreds of important body processes, including those that control how your muscles and nerves work. It helps to keep your bones strong, heart healthy, and blood sugar normal. It also plays a role in your energy level. You can get magnesium in many foods and drinks. But if your doctor thinks you need more, she may suggested that you add supplements.

POTASSIUM is a mineral that helps your cells work the right way. It helps make the electricity that lets your cells do their jobs. Your nerves and muscles — including your heart — might not work the way they should if you don’t get enough.

ZINC Without it, you couldn’t taste and SMELL. Your immune system needs it, and it helps cuts, scrapes, and sores heal. It may help you keep your sight as you get older. While you can get zinc from plant sources like sesame and pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils, and cashews, it’s easier for your body to absorb it from animal foods, such as oysters, beef, crab, lobster, and pork.