What are Vitamins and Minerals For?

Dec 27

Your body needs to produce, maintain, and replace and repair countless cells all the time in order to stay in good. To do that, it needs raw material in the form of vitamins and minerals, which are found primarily in the food that you eat.

While vitamins are organic chemical compounds produced by plants and animals, minerals are inorganic chemical compounds that come from rocks and soil, which we absorb only indirectly from eating plants and animals.

How do They Keep the Body Healthy?

Vitamins and minerals not only keep your body in good health and functioning properly, but they also help to protect against certain diseases, such as scurvy (a notable deficiency of vitamin C) and rickets (a deficiency in vitamin D).

There are two categories of vitamins: water-soluble (expelled by the body once it can’t absorb any more) and fat-soluble (leftover amounts that can’t be absorbed by the body are stored in fat cells).

Meanwhile, minerals are found in food in varying amounts and travel throughout your system in various ways. For instance, while calcium is similar to a fat-soluble vitamin in that it needs a carrier to be absorbed and transported, potassium is dissolved in the blood and travels through your bloodstream.

Different vitamins and minerals perform different functions to keep the body healthy. For instance, vitamin K aids in the blood clotting process, while vitamins A and B2 aid in maintaining good vision, and trace amounts of metals such as iron and copper in the bloodstream help in forming red blood cells and helping them carry oxygen, respectively.

How Much Do You Need?

Trying to incorporate these nutrients into your daily diet can be a challenge especially if you don’t have the time to cook your own meals, but it should still be important for you to get the nutrition that you need through food instead of only supplements or multivitamins.

As much as possible, try to have a balanced diet that covers the basic food groups, especially when it comes to vegetables and fruits, which can give you the highest amounts of nutrients that you need.

However, while having these nutrients in your diets is a good idea, it’s also just as important that you don’t take too much of what you need. This could result in hypervitaminosis, a condition in which you start to suffer from the effects of having too much of a certain vitamin or mineral in your system, and it can take a while to recover from them.  

If you’re not sure about how much of a certain vitamin or mineral you should take, consult a dietician or nutritionist and try to follow a balanced diet. Scheduling for regular check-ups and consultations will also help you keep track of your dietary habits.

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