Vitamins and minerals are essential for the body to function properly. They are organic substances that are divided into two main categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, dissolve in fat and can be stored in the body. Water-soluble vitamins, like vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, must dissolve in water before they can be absorbed and cannot be stored.
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues, while water-soluble vitamins are not. The body can only store a limited amount of water-soluble vitamins, so it is important to consume them daily. Vitamins and minerals help boost the immune system, promote normal growth and development, and help cells and organs do their jobs. The four fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Vitamin A helps with vision, cell growth, and immune system health. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from food sources instead of collecting it from the bones. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage by free radicals. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting.
The nine water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and all the B vitamins. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage by free radicals. B vitamins help with energy production, red blood cell formation, and nervous system health. Major minerals travel through the body in different ways.
Potassium is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and excreted by the kidneys like a water-soluble vitamin. Calcium requires a carrier for absorption and transport like a fat-soluble vitamin. When cooking foods that contain water-soluble vitamins, it is best to steam or grill them instead of boiling them to preserve as much of the vitamins as possible. Eating a healthy diet is still the best way to get enough of the vitamins and minerals you need.