Living a healthy life means making sure that your body is receiving all the proper vitamins and minerals it needs to function correctly. It’s also important to make sure that you’re maintaining a healthy mouth, since research suggests that poor oral health may be a link to certain health issues, including heart disease, obesity, stroke and even cancer.
Here’s a list of some of the top vitamins and minerals your body – and mouth – need to stay strong and healthy.
Calcium helps promote bone health and healthy tooth enamel. It’s the component in our bones that holds them together and is essential for teenagers, pregnant women and senior citizens. They will have to increase their calcium intake to make sure that they’re maintaining the proper levels needed for their bones to stay strong.
Calcium is a vital mineral that helps keep muscles from cramping. When your body is not supplied with the proper amount of calcium, the nerve fibers aren’t able to transmit information properly to the rest of your body, which can result in muscle twitching and failure.
Your best sources of calcium:
Vitamin D works in tandem with calcium by helping your body absorb the essential mineral to promote bone growth. While you’ll need vitamin C to help prevent osteoporosis and poor oral health, it also helps prevent certain cancers, including colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. It also prevents depression, obesity and heart disease.
The best source of vitamin D: the sun! This doesn’t necessarily mean you should lounge out day by day at the beach, but getting a little sunlight each day can actually help you. When your body is exposed to sunlight it produces vitamin D on its own.
Food sources for vitamin D:
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cancers, especially oral cancers, and helps build collagen needed for bones, gums and your skin. Inflammation in your gums can be painful and lead to further irritation and deterioration. Vitamin C also supports the heart and arteries. Those who include more vitamin C into their diets are less likely to experience blood clots and jammed arteries that can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
One thing you may not know about vitamin C is any extra that your body is unable to absorb is expelled through your urine.
So make sure to eat up your fair share of:
Iron helps your body produce hemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout the body so that tissues have enough energy to properly develop and function. Those who lack iron in their diets can develop anemia, which weakens the immune system.
If you’re experiencing a burning sensation in your mouth and on your tongue or the start developing mouth sores, you may have an iron deficiency. Since your blood is lacking the oxygen that it needs to repair itself, these sores can stick around for a while and cause discomfort, especially when eating.
The B vitamins are mostly associated with helping the body release energy that the body digests through proteins, fats and carbohydrates. They help maintain healthy skin, your immune system and your mood levels. Lacking B vitamins can also lead to bad breath and canker sores.
Most B vitamins can be found in beef and other animal products, so it’s important that vegans start thinking about a B complex if they haven’t already!
Other foods containing B vitamins besides animal products:
Author: Rory Mycek
Rory Mycek is a guest contributor for Top Dentists, a dental health site in the Everyday Health portfolio. On her free time she can be found doing yoga, dancing, making up healthy recipes to satisfy her sweet tooth or veganizing popular dinner dishes.