Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that the body needs in small amounts to function properly and stay healthy. From A to Z, vitamins and minerals are essential for strong bones, growth, and overall health. But what exactly are vitamins and minerals, and how do they benefit us? In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the basics of vitamins and minerals, their sources, and how to ensure you're getting enough of them.
What are vitamins and minerals?Vitamins and minerals are organic compounds that come from food or supplements. Vitamins are divided into two categories: fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, and K) which dissolve in fat and accumulate in the body, and water-soluble vitamins (vitamin B and C) which dissolve in water and are not stored in the body.
Minerals are inorganic elements that come from soil and water, and are absorbed by plants or consumed by animals. Some minerals such as calcium, sodium, and potassium are called macro-minerals because they are needed in larger amounts. Other minerals such as chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium and zinc are called trace elements because only very small amounts of them are needed.
What are the benefits of vitamins and minerals?Vitamins and minerals play an important role in keeping our bodies healthy. They help to build strong bones, regulate hormones, support the immune system, produce energy, maintain healthy skin, hair, nails, eyesight, digestion, metabolism, and more.
Eating a balanced diet is the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. However, some people who don't get enough vitamins and minerals from food alone may benefit from taking single-nutrient supplements or multivitamin/mineral (MVM) supplements.
What foods contain vitamins and minerals?Eating a variety of foods is the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Whole grain products, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts, seeds, eggs, meats - these all contain essential vitamins and minerals. If you don't eat meat or dairy products you can still get vitamin B12 from eggs or fortified breakfast cereals.
Are there any risks associated with taking too many vitamins or minerals?It's important to be aware of unproven claims about the benefits of taking higher than recommended amounts of any vitamin or mineral.
Too much of certain vitamins or minerals can be harmful to your health. It's best to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.