Health Insurance

Are you getting enough?

Vitamins and minerals are a vital part of a healthy balanced diet. We reveal the ones you’re most likely to be short of – and the best food sources to choose.

This lifestyle article is provided by Health-on-Line who are working with The Independent to provide affordable health insurance to Independent customers.

With cover from Health-on-Line you can avoid NHS waiting lists and get fast access to treatment from their wide network of specialists and hospitals. You can also get expert information from their 24 hour telephone service, Health at Hand, on a range of health related issues from nutrition to exercise, to leading a healthy lifestyle.

For more information or to get a quote click here

Vital vitamins

Vitamin A

What for? Healthy skin, hair, eyes, digestion and immunity. Beta-carotene (the form in fruit and veg), may protect against cancer and heart disease.
Who’s going short? One in eight teens and one in ten men.
Clues to look out for: Dry skin, hair, eyes and brittle nails, night blindness, lower resistance to infection.
Good sources: Meat, liver, dark green leafy veg and orange and yellow fruit and veg.
One large carrot = your daily allowance of beta-carotene

B vitamins

What for? To make energy from food. Folic acid/folate (vitamin B9) helps make red blood cells and prevents birth defects. B12 (cobalamin) is needed for a healthy nervous system and to manufacture red blood cells.
Who’s going short? A fifth of teenage girls and one in eight women (vitamin B2, riboflavin), over-65s (folate and B12).
Clues to look out for: Fatigue, digestive problems, cracks and sores in the corners of the mouth (B2). Tiredness and lethargy (folate and B12).
Good sources: Bread, fish, chicken, meat, eggs and dairy plus some nice leafy greens.
A 200ml glass of milk a day boosts B2 to the recommended level

Vitamin C

What for? Healthy cells and connective tissue. Helps healing and aids iron absorption. As a powerful antioxidant, it also helps protect against cancer and heart disease.
Who’s going short? Pregnant or breastfeeding women, smokers, people recovering from surgery or bad burns.
Clues to look out for: Tiredness, inflamed gums, joint pain, poor wound healing and corkscrew hairs.
Good sources: Citrus, strawberries, broccoli, blackcurrants, peppers and potatoes.
5 strawberries = a day’s supply of vitamin C

Vitamin D

What for? May lower risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, diseases in which body turns against itself and nervous system problems. Along with calcium, it’s essential for healthy teeth and bones.
Who’s going short? Half of us (16 per cent are severely deficient come spring). Toddlers, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with dark skin and older people are most at risk.
Clues to look out for: Weak bones (rickets in children), bone pain and muscle weakness (adults).
Good sources: Salmon, sardines, eggs, fortified cereals, spreads and sun-dried shiitake mushrooms. Most vitamin D comes from the action of sun on skin.
2 portions of oily fish + a daily 15 minutes’ sun on bare skin = your week’s needs of vitamin D

Vitamin E

What for? A healthy immune system, to help protect cells against free radical damage and maintain cell structure.
Who’s going short? People with Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis and certain rare genetic diseases.
Clues to look out for: Loss of feeling in the arms and legs, muscle weakness, vision problems, poor immunity.
Good sources: Soya, corn and olive oil, seeds, cereals, margarine, leafy greens.

 

Magic minerals

Calcium

What for? Strong bones and teeth, strong heartbeat, healthy muscles, normal blood clotting.
Who’s going short? Six per cent of teenage boys, 12 per cent of teenage girls, four per cent of men and eight per cent of women, especially vegans.
Clues to look out for: A long-term shortage can lead to osteoporosis, high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat.
Good sources: Milk, yoghurt, canned sardines, leafy green veg, almonds and tahini.
200ml semi-skimmed milk + 1 pot of low-fat fruit yogurt + a small chunk of low-fat Cheddar = a day’s worth of calcium

Iodine

What for? A healthy thyroid, brain and skin, a developing unborn baby’s brain.
Who’s going short? Half of women of childbearing age.
Clues to look out for: Swollen thyroid (in neck), dry skin, hair loss and many other symptoms.
Good sources: Non-organic milk, fish and seafood, meat, vegetables and iodised salt.
2 boiled eggs + a small low-fat natural yoghurt = your day’s supply of iodine

Iron

What for? Healthy red blood cells, a healthy immune system, energy, helping your body process drugs and foreign substances.
Who’s going short? More than one in five women and two in five teenage girls.
Clues to look out for: Fatigue, irritability and poor concentration.
Good sources: Liver, red meat, beans, nuts, dried apricots and dark green leafy veg.
2 scrambled eggs + a slice of wholemeal toast + a slice of liver = your day’s supply of iron

Magnesium

What for? To turn food into energy, for bone health, for healthy muscles (including the heart), nerves and immune system.
Who’s going short? Two in five teenage girls and just under one in ten women.
Clues to look out for: Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue (mild), weakness, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions, cramps and abnormal heart rhythms (more severe deficiency).
Good sources: Brown rice, wholemeal bread, fish and seafood, nuts, seeds and green leafy veg.
6 prawns + half a pack spinach + 300g brown rice + 1 tbsp sesame seeds = your day’s supply of magnesium

Potassium

What for? To help nerves and muscles communicate, move nutrients into and waste products out of cells, to maintain body’s water balance and help keep blood pressure steady.
Who’s going short? Women and teenage girls and over-65s.
Clues to look out for: Muscle weakness or stiffness, spasms, cramps, palpitations.
Good sources: Spinach, spring greens, grapes, blackberries, root veg and bananas.
One jacket potato + a portion of baked cod + two grilled tomatoes = your day’s supply of potassium

Selenium

What for? A healthy immune system, normal thyroid function, healthy reproduction, and as a key antioxidant to prevent free radical damage to cells and tissues.
Who’s going short? One in three teenagers, one in five adults (under 65) and one in five aged 65+. The British diet only provides around half the selenium we need.
Clues to look out for: Male infertility; severe deficiency can lead to an enlarged heart.
Good sources: Nuts, especially Brazils, cereals and fish.
One jacket potato + a slice of tuna = your day’s supply of selenium

Zinc

What for? Wound healing, growth, fertility, to help make new cells and enzymes, process carbohydrates, fat and protein in food and for the proper functioning of over 2,500 proteins.
Who’s going short? People who eat a poor diet or are ill and don’t absorb nutrients well.
Clues to look out for: Slow healing, tiredness, tendency to infections.
Good sources: Milk, cheese, wholemeal bread, lamb, beef, scallops, and prawns.
Beef stew + slice of wholemeal bread = your day’s supply of zinc

For more information on health insurance click here or call 01202 544 095.

The Independent is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Health-on-Line Company UK Limited who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The Independent are introducing customers to Health-on-Line to provide affordable health insurance to The Independent customers, click here for more information.

Health Insurance
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?