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June 29, 2016

Vitamins and minerals: The importance of a healthy diet

Throughout our lives, vitamins and minerals are essential for the proper functioning of our bodies. When it comes to getting all the nutrients you need, a healthy diet is the way to go. 

Vitamins and minerals: What they all do 

Vitamins and minerals play many roles. Here are a few examples: 

•    Calcium strengthens teeth and bones. It is also essential for cardiovascular functions, blood clotting and muscle and nerve cell functions.
•    Folic acid helps promote the production of red blood cells and the normal development of the neural tube in the fetus.
•    B vitamins are needed for the proper functioning of the body as a whole. 
•    Vitamin B12, more specifically, supports the production of red blood cells and helps protect nerve cells. 
•    Vitamins C and E are antioxidants. Vitamin C promotes healing and helps synthesize collagen and red blood cells. It also helps ensure the proper functioning of the immune system. Vitamin E supports healthy cell membranes and heart health.   
•    Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
•    Vitamin K supports blood clotting.  

Vitamin D for healthy bones

Vitamin D is recognized for its role in keeping bones and teeth healthy by promoting the development and maintenance of good bone density. Without it, bones would be thin, soft, brittle and misshapen. It therefore contributes to the prevention of osteoporosis. It may also reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. 

Vitamin D can be found in foods, such as: 

•    Fish (tuna and salmon)
•    Fortified milk
•    Fortified margarine
•    Some enriched soy drinks 

Our bodies can also manufacture vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun. 

Nutrition basics 

The required amounts of vitamins and minerals are difficult to establish since they vary according to a person’s age, size, gender and muscle activity. They also increase during periods of growth, illness, pregnancy and breastfeeding. That being said, it is possible to obtain most of the nutrients your body needs by following these few basic principles: 

•    Eat balanced meals. 
•    Eat a varied diet. 
•    Eat fresh, high-quality foods. 
•    Make sound food choices by opting for healthy, unprocessed foods. 

Does everyone need vitamin and mineral supplements? 

Generally speaking, if you are eating properly, the chances are you are currently meeting your nutritional needs. You may need a supplement, however, if you fall within one of these groups:  

•    Men and women over 65 
•    Menopausal women 
•    People with poor eating habits 
•    People on a strict or restricted diet (allergies, food intolerances or vegetarianism) 
•    Smokers
•    Pregnant women or those wanting to get pregnant
•    People suffering from a disease that hinders their ability to absorb certain vitamins and minerals 

Keep in mind that certain supplements may not be right for you. They could also interact with medications you are currently using. So before taking a vitamin or mineral supplement, ask your pharmacist for advice. 

Pharmacy services

Book an appointment with your family pharmacist to benefit from personalized advice about vitamins and minerals.

Ask a member of the pharmacy team for more details. Some Uniprix-affiliated pharmacies also offer an online appointment booking service. To locate your nearest store providing this service, click here

Services in pharmacy are the sole responsibility of pharmacist-owners. Only pharmacists are responsible for pharmacy practice. They only provide related services acting under a pharmacist-owner's name.

The Website deals with health-related topics. The information presented has been validated by experts and is accurate at the time of posting. In no way does it replace the opinion of a health care professional. Uniprix Inc. and its affiliated pharmacists accept no liability whatsoever in connection with the information provided on this Website.