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Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are nutrients your body needs in small amounts to remain healthy. Oily fish has been linked to many health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, improved mental ability, and protection from cancer, alcohol-related dementia, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Vitamins and Minerals Salmon is a type of fatty fish that packs several nutrients that are good for you. The American Heart Association (AHA) advises eating fish, such as salmon, twice weekly because of its protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. low calories Salmon

Examples of oily fish include small forage fish such as sardines, herring and anchovies, and other larger pelagic fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, swordfish and mackerel.

Water-soluble vitamins

It helps… Some food sources Reference intake (RI)
Vitamin B1 (thiamin) …to release energy from food. It also helps our nervous system and heart function normally. Bread, fortified breakfast cereals, nuts and seeds, meat (especially pork), beans and peas. 1.1mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) …to release energy from food, reduce tiredness, and helps to maintain normal skin and a normal nervous system. Milk and milk products, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, offal, some oily fish (such as mackerel and sardines), mushrooms and almonds. 1.4mg
Vitamin B3 (niacin) …to release energy from food, reduce tiredness, and helps to maintain normal skin and a normal nervous system. Meat, poultry, fish and shellfish, wholegrains (such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta and quinoa), bread and some nuts and seeds (such as peanuts and sesame seeds). 16mg
Vitamin B6 …to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. It helps our immune system work properly, regulates hormones and helps to reduce tiredness. Meat, poultry, fish, fortified breakfast cereals, egg yolk, yeast extract, soya beans, sesame seeds, some fruit and vegetables (such as banana, avocado and green pepper). 1.4mg
Vitamin B12 …to make red blood cells, helps the nervous system function normally, and helps to reduce tiredness. Meat, fish, shellfish, milk, cheese, fromage frais, eggs, fortified yeast extract and fortified breakfast cereals. 2.5µg
Folate/Folic acid …to make red blood cells, reduce tiredness and helps the immune system work as it should. It is also needed for the normal development of the nervous system in unborn babies. Green leafy vegetables, some breads (such as malted wheat and brown bread), offal, peas and beans, oranges, berries and fortified breakfast cereals. 200µg
Vitamin C …to protect cells from damage. It helps form collagen, which is important for normal bones, gums, teeth and skin. It also helps the immune system and the nervous system to function normally. Fruit (especially citrus fruits, blackcurrants, strawberries, papaya and kiwi), green vegetables, peppers and tomatoes. 80mg

Fat-soluble vitamins

It helps… Some food sources Reference intake (RI)
Vitamin A the immune system to function normally, helps with vision and helps the maintenance of normal skin. Liver, cheese, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables and orange-coloured fruits and vegetables (such as carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash, cantaloupe melon and papaya) 800µg
Vitamin D …the body to absorb calcium and to build and maintain healthy bones and muscles. It also helps the immune system to work as it should. Oily fish, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals and fat spreads. In spring/summer, the majority of people will get most of their vitamin D through the action of sunlight on the skin. 5µg
Vitamin E …to protect the cells in our bodies against damage. Vegetable and seed oils (such as olive, rapeseed, sunflower, peanut oils) nuts and seeds (such as sunflower seeds and almonds), avocados and olives 12mg
Vitamin K …with normal clotting of blood and is required for normal bone structure. Green vegetables (including leafy greens, broccoli, green beans and peas) and some oils (such as rapeseed, olive and soya oil) 75µg



It helps… Some food sources Reference intake (RI)
Calcium …to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. It helps nerves and muscles to function normally and helps blood to clot normally. Milk, cheese, yogurt, fromage frais, some green leafy vegetables (such as kale), calcium-fortified dairy-alternatives, canned fish (where soft bones are eaten) and breads (white, brown and wholegrain) 800mg
Fluoride …to form strong teeth and helps to reduce the risk of tooth decay. Tap water, tea (and toothpaste) 3.5mg
Iodine …to make thyroid, and it helps the brain to function normally. Milk, yogurt, cheese, some fish (such as cod, mackerel, haddock), some shellfish (such as crab and mussels) and eggs (and some fortified dairy alternatives) 150µg
Iron …to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. It also helps the immune system to work and helps the brain to function normally. Offal, red meat, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds, fish (such as canned sardines and mussels), quinoa, wholemeal bread and dried fruit 14mg
Magnesium …to release energy from food, maintain strong bones and it helps normal muscle and nerve function. Nuts and seeds (such as Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds), wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholegrain and seeded breads, brown rice and quinoa 375mg
Phosphorus …to build strong bones and teeth and helps to release energy from food. Red meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, bread and wholegrains (such as brown rice and wholewheat pasta). 700mg
Potassium …regulate the water content in the body and maintain a normal blood pressure. It also helps the nerves and muscles to function normally. Some fruit and vegetables (such as banana, blackcurrants, avocado, spinach, parsnip and beetroot), dried fruit (such as apricots, sultanas and figs), poultry, red meat, fish, milk and wholegrain breakfast cereals 2000mg
Selenium …to protect the cells in our bodies against damage, helps the immune system to work as it should, and helps maintain normal skin and nails, and normal fertility in males. Some nuts and seeds (such as Brazil nuts, cashews and sunflower seeds), eggs, offal, poultry, fish and shellfish 55µg
Sodium …regulate the water content in the body. Very small amounts found naturally in foods. Often added as salt (sodium chloride) during processing, preparation, preservation and serving. Currently intakes of sodium are too high, and most people need to reduce their intake substantially. 6g of salt (equivalent to about 2.4g of sodium)
Zinc …contribute to normal mental skills and abilities and helps to maintain normal hair, skin and nails. It also helps with the normal healing of wounds and contributes to normal fertility and reproduction. Meat, poultry, cheese, some shellfish (such as crab, cockles and mussels), nuts and seeds (such as pumpkin seeds and pine nuts), wholegrain breakfast cereals and wholegrain and seeded breads. 10mg


How much of the different vitamins and minerals do I need?

We may need different amounts of vitamins and minerals depending on our age, sex, and also for women during pregnancy or breastfeeding. For food labelling in Europe, we have values for each vitamin and mineral called reference intakes (RIs – shown in the Table 1 above), which give an average figure for adults. These are what you can see on the nutritional information on packaged foods and drinks.

The UK government has also published a set of dietary reference values (DRVs) for different vitamins and minerals. These provide an estimate of the amounts required each day by different groups of healthy people in the general population to support growth and development, and to maintain good health.

The most common type of DRV for vitamins and minerals is the reference nutrient intake (RNI). This is the amount that is considered to be enough to meet the needs of nearly everyone in the population (97.5% of people). Below is an example of the RNIs for calcium (in mg per day) recommended throughout life for males and females. Calcium needs are highest during adolescence because young peoples’ bones are growing rapidly at this time.


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