Exercise and diet are important components of your all-around health. But they may not give your body everything it needs to maintain balance and strength. One way to stay at your peak is to ensure you’re getting the correct daily doses of vitamins by choosing the right blend of foods and beverages. If you’re not getting all that you need through your meals alone, you can choose to take supplements – such as chewing or swallowing pills.

But where do you get started? Here’s an overview of the 13 primary vitamins you should be taking and the great things they do for you.

The following vitamins are fat-soluble, which means your body absorbs them and they can be used for an extended period of time (as opposed to water-soluble vitamins, which we’ll discuss in Part 2). But all vitamins have a time frame of efficiency, and a maximum limit that can be useful at one time. Therefore, taking more than 100% of your prescribed vitamins doesn’t actually help you more; whatever can’t be used by the body in the window of time the vitamins are present in your system are just flushed away.

Knowing how your body interacts with vitamins is important; with this knowledge, you can time when you take them and with what meals.

  • Vitamin A – helps your bones, hair, teeth, skin and soft tissue. It’s found in milk, cheese, liver, kidney and fish oils.
  • Vitamin D – is produced by your body after it’s been in the sun and helps your bones by supporting your body’s intake of calcium. Rather than eating the right foods, be sure you’re out in the sunshine on a regular basis.
  • Vitamin E – is an antioxidant that helps you form red blood cells and process vitamin K. It’s found in wheat germ, corn, olives nuts and various green plants.
  • Vitamin K – helps your blood coagulate and is theorized to help bone growth. It’s found in a lot of foods starting with C or S: cereal, cauliflower, cabbage or soy and spinach.

Check back next week for the rest of your need-to-know vitamins and how they help your body stay strong and healthy. Have immediate questions? Feel free to ask one of the nutritionists on staff at our Greenville gym.