For keeping a sound health, we need many different vitamins and minerals to function in harmony in our body. Vitamins and minerals offer us protection against a host of ailments, including heart disease and some types of cancers, such as colon and cervical cancer. We can get most of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need daily by choosing the right foods and eating a wide variety of them.

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, some people have fixed ideas, a mindset that daily exercise and a tablet of multivitamins work better. While they might make you feel like you have adapted a healthier lifestyle, number of research studies suggests that supplements are not always beneficial.

Naturopaths recommend food first because foods provide a variety of vitamins and minerals and also dietary factors that are not found in a vitamin or mineral supplement. Fruits and vegetables contain many biologically active ingredients that may help prevent cancer in ways that vitamins and minerals alone do not. The people should know “Is it really needed to take a multivitamin to boost our health”? If you already eat a healthy diet, there may be less overall benefit from taking the extra vitamins.

Make a better plate: Healthy eating plate is made up of one-half vegetables and fruits, one-quarter whole grains, and one-quarter healthy protein. “whole” and “healthy” are important words here. Refined grains (like white breads, pastas, and rice) have less fiber and fewer nutrients than whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread and brown rice. Healthy proteins include beans, and nuts (vegetarian).

More on vegetables and fruits: Vegetables and fruits are high in fiber and contain many vitamins and minerals as well as hundreds of beneficial plant chemicals (photochemical) that you can’t get in supplements. In long-term observational studies, people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain, and those who eat more fruit also have a lower risk of stroke.

All you have to do to get the proper vitamins and nutrients is to eat a varied and balanced diet. A few essential vitamins and their easy source are being mentioned here.

Calcium: Calcium is a mineral that is important for strong bones and teeth, so there are special recommendations for older people who are at risk for bone loss. You can get calcium from milk and milk products, but always remember to choose fat-free or low-fat whenever possible, some forms of tofu, dark green leafy vegetables, and soybeans.

Vitamin A: The highest concentration of vitamin A is found in sweet potatoes. One medium sized baked sweet potato contains more than 28,000 IU of Vitamin A. Spinach, milk and carrot also are good sources.

Vitamin B6: Good news for vegetarians—is the chickpea or bean. One cup of canned chickpea contains 1.1 mg of Vitamin B6.

Vitamin B12: Milk is a great source for calcium, but it is also a source for vegetarians with B12 deficiency. Fortified foods are a good vegetarian source of vitamin B-12. These include soy products.

Vitamin C: Most people think of citrus when they think of vitamin C, but sweet red peppers actually contain more of the vitamin C than any other food. Other good sources include kiwi fruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts.

Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds and almonds are two most common source of Vitamin E.

Iron: There are two forms of dietary iron: eme iron (found in animal foods such as red meat, fish, and poultry) and non heme iron (found in plant sources like lentils and beans).

Iron: Non heme iron found in plant sources like lentils and beans.

Vitamin K: Green leafy vegetables are the best source of this vitamin, also known as phylloquinone. Cabbage, cauliflower, and spinach (about 1 mg per cup) are rich sources Vitamin K.

Lycopene: Tomatoes are the best-known source of lycopene.

Omega-3 fatty acids: There are two categories of Omega-3 fatty acids: Alphalinolenic acid (ALA) is found in plant sources such as vegetable oil, green vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

While diet is the key to getting the best vitamins and minerals, supplements can help. For instance, if you are doing your best to eat healthy foods but still are deficient in some areas, supplements can help. The key is to ensure they are taken in addition to healthy diet choices and nutrient-dense foods. They are supplements, not replacements.