Crash Course on Vitamins and Minerals

From foods to supplements, vitamins and minerals are vital to your health
By Toni-Marie Ippolito

You know vitamins and minerals are good for you, but which ones does your body really need?

Which are most important?
Vitamins and minerals are needed for general development and growth. Certain types help boost the immune system and help cells and organs function.
    Registered Dietitian Supriya Gupta says some of the most important vitamins and minerals dietitians recommend are vitamins C, D, calcium, iron and folic acid. “Vitamin C is important because it helps the body
absorb iron,” she says.

Supplements: What to look for
Most registered dietitians recommend teens get their vitamins and nutrients from the foods they eat. But for those who are not meeting their nutritional requirements, a daily multivitamin can be a nutritional safety net. “By following Canada’s Food Guide you will get all the required nutrients you need,” says Gupta, “but teens don’t always follow a good diet.” In this case, she says taking a multivitamin is your best bet.
    It’s important to remember that not all vitamins are created equal—­some brands are better than others—so it’s not guaranteed you’ll get everything out of them. So what’s the best kind to take?

Ask a professional
Always consult a healthcare professional before starting a vitamin regimen, and be sure to ask for a trusted brand name. Remember that the best source of nutrition comes from the foods you eat, so be sure to follow Canada’s Food Guide.