Why do we need vitamins and minerals?

A young girl and her friend doing a science experiment with a volcano in the kitchen.

Vitamins and minerals play an important role in ensuring that our bodies are able to function at their highest potential. This is especially true for kids, whose bodies and minds are busy developing and growing.

In fact, our bodies use more than 45 different vitamins and minerals each day. They help build DNA and make proteins, which are essential for growth. They support our immune systems and they carry out a slew of other important functions.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, our bodies also benefit from plant nutrients, or phytonutrients. Those are the things in fruits and vegetables that give them their vibrant colors and act as defense mechanisms for plants.

[Related: Why color matters in your fruits and vegetables]

For people, the plant nutrients found in the different color groups support various systems in our bodies, such as memory, heart health, cellular health or our immune systems. Ensuring we get our daily dose of vitamins, minerals and plant nutrients helps our doctors sleep at night knowing that we are getting everything our bodies need.

A healthy diet means plenty of nutrients

The good news is that most of what we need can be found in a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables—experts recommend 5-9 servings each day from a wide range of color groups to ensure we’re getting a variety of plant nutrients.

The bad news is that most people aren’t always eating that kind of diet and therefore fall short of getting the daily nutrients they need, kids included. Families are too busy to cook healthy meals, or picky eaters don’t get all the color groups, or there is an over-reliance on convenient, processed foods over healthier options.

This is where supplements can help. Let’s take a look at some of the key vitamins.

A bowl of yogurt with probiotics topped with berries and granola.

Zinc benefits

This nutrient helps build DNA, molecules that help carry the instructions for how our bodies develop and function. It supports the immune system, helps your sense of taste and smell, and is key to eye health.

Zinc also helps build proteins. These proteins are the building blocks needed for muscle, bones, blood, and body organs; all of which are important for growing kids and their bodies development.

Our bodies don’t store zinc, so you need to consume some every day through foods like meats, yogurt and oatmeal. The recommended daily amounts for zinc are:

  • Infants to age 3: 3mg
  • Children 4-8: 5mg
  • Children 9-13: 8mg
  • Teens: 9-11mg
  • Adults: 8-11mg

[RELATED: Multivitamins for children: How to choose the right ones]

An overhead view of various bowls filled with different kinds of dried fruit and nuts.

Vitamin E benefits

This vitamin has multiple functions. It is an antioxidant that helps support the immune system, and it assists in the health of your brain, blood and skin. It also provides protection from free radicals and supports cellular health.

Vitamin E is commonly found in nuts, seeds and other leafy-green vegetables. The recommended daily amounts of vitamin E in milligrams are:

  • Infants to age 1: 5mg
  • Children 1-3: 6mg
  • Children 4-8: 7mg
  • Children 9-13: 11mg
  • Teens: 15mg
  • Adults: 15mg

A hand holds a bottle of Nutrilite Vitamin D up against a background of a sunny sky.

Vitamin D benefits

Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because your body produces it naturally when it is exposed to sunlight. So, if you are living in an area with little-to-no sunlight, you might want to pay special attention to getting this vitamin through your diet, either through the food you eat or a supplement.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium to maintain strong bones and it supports healthy muscle function and the immune system. The recommended daily amounts of vitamin D in micrograms are:

  • Infants to age 1: 10mcg
  • Children, teens and adults: 15mcg
  • Over age 70: 20mcg

[RELATED: Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you think]

A glass filled with orange smoothie sits on a table next to a bowl of sliced oranges.

Vitamin C benefits

Arguably one of the most important nutrients in your diet, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect your cells from free radicals. It also helps your body absorb iron and works to help keep your immune system functioning properly. And it plays a key role in supporting healthy bones, teeth and blood vessels.

Vitamin C is found in many common fruits and vegetables, such as peppers and citrus fruits. But you can also find it in fruits like guava, kiwi and papayas. A fun and adventurous fruit salad may be in your future! The recommended daily amounts of vitamin C in milligrams are:

  • Infants to age 1: 50mg
  • Children 1-3: 15mg
  • Children 4-8: 25mg
  • Children 9-13: 45mg
  • Teens: 65-75mg
  • Adults: 75mg

[RELATED: What foods have vitamin C? A lot more than oranges]

Sesame coated tuna steaks plated with grilled vegetables on countertop with Amway iCook nonstick fry pan in background. Meat and fish are good sources of vitamin B12.

Vitamin B-12 benefits

This vitamin helps convert a lot of our food into energy. It also helps support a healthy nervous system and circulatory system.

This vitamin can be found in many of our meats such as poultry, meats, fish and dairy products. If you are vegan, vegetarian, or have some sort of dietary restriction there are still plenty of options for you to fill your B-12 needs, including fortified foods like cereals, nondairy milks and nutritional yeast. The recommended daily amounts of vitamin B12 in micrograms are:

  • Infants to age 1: 0.4-0.5 mcg
  • Children 1-3: 0.9 mcg
  • Children 4-8: 1.2 mcg
  • Children 9-13: 1.8 mcg
  • Teens and adults: 2.4 mcg

[RELATED: Be your best self with vitamin B]

Bottles of Nutrilite Men's and Women's Daily multivitamins rest against a pile of fresh produce.

Vitamin A benefits

Who didn’t grow up with a caregiver lecturing us to eat our carrots to help our vision? They weren’t wrong. Carrots and other orange and yellow produce are great sources of vitamin A, as well as dairy products, organ meats and some types of fish.

Vitamin A helps promote healthy vision and supports your immune system as well as your skin health.  The recommended daily amounts of vitamin A in micrograms of retinol activity equivalents are:

  • Infants to age 1: 500 mcg RAE
  • Children 1-3: 300 mcg RAE
  • Children 4-8: 400 mcg RAE
  • Children 9-13: 600 mcg RAE
  • Teens and adults; 700-900 mcg RAE

Nutrilite Kids Gummies scattered on a counter next to a container with Nutrilite Kids smoothie in frame.

Supplements can help

Plenty of foods on your regular shopping list have the vitamins and minerals you need each day. But as we noted above, many of us fall short in choosing enough on the right foods on a regular basis. If you’re concerned that your family isn’t getting their daily dose through their regular diet, this is when supplements can help fill the gaps.

[RELATED: 4 Ways to help your family eat more colorful meals]

The Nutrilite™ brand offers multivitamins for kids and adults as well as targeted vitamins that you can turn to when you know your diet isn’t cutting it.

And because Nutrilite puts an emphasis on traceability, the botanical ingredients in the supplements can be traced all the way back to the Nutrilite farms or approved partner farms where they were grown. And they were checked for safety and quality all along the way from harvest to production to packaging.

To learn more about what Nutrilite products might be right for you, click on the links below. And tips on healthy eating and nutrition, check out additional blogs at Amway Connections.

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