In order to stay healthy, a wide range of nutrients are required by the body in the right balance. Following a healthy diet is the key to it. Many studies have also shown that consuming nutrient-rich foods that have the right balance of ‘macronutrients’ (which includes – carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) and ‘micronutrients’(vitamins and minerals) is the key to better health and lowered risk of diseases.
So, we decided to put together a list of minerals and vitamins that men need to stay healthy. Read on to know the major foods that provide them and the impact it will have on your overall health:
Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Men’s Health
#1 Vitamin A
Vitamin A belongs to the group of fat-soluble vitamins. It is primarily responsible for the growth and development of cells, vision, immunity, and even reproduction. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant and potent hormone which can greatly affect the function of the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Daily requirement: The recommended daily intake of vitamin A for adult men is 900 micrograms (mcg)
Sources: The predominant source of Vitamin A is liver and fish oils. Other sources rich in vitamin A are:
- Milk and eggs.
- Green leafy veggies.
- Orangish yellow-coloured food items like lemons, carrots, etc.
- Some vegetable oils.
- Better eyesight: Vitamin A plays a critical role in relaying visual information from our eyes to our brain. Deficiency of vitamin A may lead to many visual disturbances. This is probably the reason why the first symptom of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness or difficulty to see in the dark.
- Lowers risk of cancer: It is observed that adequate intake of vitamin A from natural sources like fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of lung cancer. Studies in Japan have also reported that vitamin A may even prevent colon cancer.
#2 Vitamin B
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that increases the production of red blood cells in our body. It supports the building of DNA structure and ensures the proper functioning of our nervous system. Also balances the stress hormones and helps to reduce symptoms of depression
Daily requirement: The recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 for adult men is 2.4 micrograms(mcg)
Sources: The main source of vitamin B12 are animal products like meat and fish (e.g. salmon and cod). Secondary sources include:
- Dairy foods like milk, curd, cheese, etc
Since Vitamin B12 is not found naturally in plants and grains, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may want to consider taking a B vitamin supplement.
#3 Vitamin C
Vitamin C, or chemically known as ascorbic acid, is critical for the wear and tear of all body tissues. It is involved in multiple functions like absorption of iron, wound healing, and maintaining cartilage, bones, and teeth.
Daily requirement: The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for adult men is 90 micrograms(mcg). As it is water-soluble in nature, deficiency of vitamin C may occur, causing scurvy or bleeding gums.
Sources: The main source of Vitamin C are green veggies like broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower. Some other sources are:
- Green and red peppers.
- Fruits like kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries.
- Food staples like potatoes and tomatoes.
- Manages high blood pressure: The force exerted by the blood on the walls of vessels is known as blood pressure. Vitamin C removes excess fluid from our body, thereby reducing the volume of blood and overall pressure.
- Prevention of gout: A gout is a form of arthritis where uric acid gets deposited in the joints. A study conducted with 1,387 men found that those who consumed vitamin C had significantly lower blood levels of uric acid thereby lower chances of gout.
- Support system for Immunity: Vitamin C plays a significant role in building up immunity. It helps to stimulate both the production and function of white blood cells, thereby, helping the body fight infections.
#4 Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that regulates the levels of calcium and phosphate in the body. It is also important for strong bone, teeth, and muscle health.
Daily requirement: The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for adults is 10–20 micrograms (mcg). Although the deficiency is rare in India due to ample sunshine, deficiency of vitamin D can cause soft or fragile bones.
Sources: Vitamin D is produced by our skin from sunlight but can also be found in some foods.
Vitamin D can also be commonly found in
- Oily fish (like Salmon, Sardines, Tuna)
- Red meat.
- Egg yolks.
- Soya products.
#5 Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that carries out a complete synthesis of proteins required for blood coagulation.
Daily requirement: The recommended daily intake of vitamin K for adult men is 138 micrograms(mcg) and for adult women is 122 mcg.
Sources: The main source of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, parsley, etc. It is also found in secondary sources like:
- Plant-based oils.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Dairy products.
- Soya beans.
- Wound healing: Vitamin K is involved in the production of prothrombin, a protein that is responsible for the clotting of blood and wound healing.
- Reduces blood pressure: Men are more likely to develop blood pressure and heart-related concerns. Vitamin K regulates the blood pressure and ensures that the heart is pumping blood freely throughout the body.
About 96% of the weight of the human body is composed of these four minerals – oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen. However, there are small traces of other important minerals found in the body.