Vitamins and minerals play an important role in maintaining a healthy body and skin. Our body requires these nutrients to function properly. A balanced daily diet generally provides the essential nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy. Therefore, it is important to eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
Basically, you should get all the vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat everyday. But in case if you’re not getting enough nutrients from your daily diet or if you need additional doses, then you can take vitamin and mineral supplements to meet your needs.
Vitamins are generally categorized as either fat soluble or water soluble depending on whether they dissolve best in either fats or water. The fat-soluble vitamins are dissolve in fats (lipids) and can be stored in your body. These vitamins include vitamin A, D, E, and K. The water-soluble vitamins are dissolve in water and can not be stored in your body. Because of this, you need a fresh supply of these vitamins every day. These vitamins include vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and folic acid.
While vitamins are organic substances made by plants or animals, minerals are inorganic elements that come from the soil and water and are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals. Your body needs minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, to grow and stay healthy.
What does each vitamin and mineral do?
Vitamin A: It is essential for maintaining healthy vision and neurological function. It is also vital for regulating genes, supporting the immune system and producing red blood cells.
Vitamin B1: It is a member of vitamin B complex. Vitamin B1 or Thiamin helps the body’s cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also important for heart function, muscle, and nervous system. Vitamin B1 can be found in fortified breads, cereals, dry beans, fish, meats (especially pork), pasta, soy and whole grains.
Vitamin B2: Also known as Riboflavin, vitamin B2 is an easily absorbed micro-nutrient which play an important role in maintaining health. This is important for body growth and red blood cell production. Like other B vitamins, it also plays an important role in energy metabolism, and it is required for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
Good sources of vitamin B2 include eggs, green leafy vegetables, lean meats, legumes, nuts, and milk.
Vitamin B6: Also known as pyridoxine, it is a part of vitamin B complex. Vitamin B6 helps calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and are necessary for key metabolic processes. Our body used it to break down proteins. The more proteins you eat, the more vitamin B6 you need. Women need 1.6 milligrams of B6 daily, and men need 2 milligrams. Women who are pregnant need higher amounts. Vitamin B6 can be found in beans, cereals, eggs, fish, meat, nuts, grains, and fortified breads.
Vitamin B9: Also known as folic acid or folate, vitamin B9 is essential for human growth and development. Vitamin B9 is required for synthesis of DNA and the formation of red blood cells. Folic acid also helps with tissue growth and cell function.
Vitamin B9 is found mostly in green leafy vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, spinach, lettuce), beans, peas, fortified cereal products, sunflower seeds and some fruits such as kiwi, oranges, and lemons.
Vitamin C: It is an essential nutrient for many functions in the body like immune function, collagen production, glutathione production and maintain bone and skin health. It is one of many antioxidants that may protect the body against damage caused by free radicals, as well as toxic chemicals and pollutants.
Vitamin C is found in most fruit and vegetables. Good sources include citrus fruits, peppers, berries, papaya, pineapple, watermelons, mango, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, sweet potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes.
Vitamin D: It is a fat soluble vitamin that helps the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus. This vitamin is essential for healthy bones and teeth as well as immune function. Vitamin D is produced by the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. You can also get vitamin D through certain foods like butter, cheese, cream, margarine, milk, fish, shellfish, etc.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant and protects tissues from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals. Free radicals can harm cells, organs and tissues. Vitamin E is also important in the formation of red blood cells and helps the body to use vitamin K.
Vitamin E is commonly found in foods such as corn, nuts, wheat germ, olives, spinach and vegetables oil such as cottonseed oil.
Vitamin K: It is a fat-soluble vitamin that is responsible for blood clotting. Vitamin K activates the protein that clots the blood. A vitamin K deficiency can lead to weakened bones, tooth decay, heart disease, and cancer risk.
Good sources of vitamin K include cabbage, cauliflower, cereals, and green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.
Calcium: It is the most essential nutrient for bone and teeth health. In addition to building bones and keeping them healthy, calcium helps maintain heart rhythm, muscle function, and nerve transmission. It also plays a role in maintaining normal blood pressure, regulating blood clotting, and preventing cancers of the digestive tract.
Good sources of calcium include dairy products (such as milk, yogurt and cheese), cereals, broccoli, kale, sardines, tofu, and soy milk.
Magnesium: It is an essential mineral to the human body. The body needs it to maintain bone strength, regulate blood pressure and support both nerve and muscle function. It is also essential in regulating calcium levels and it is required for insulin secretion. This mineral can be found in beans, nuts, grains, dark green vegetables, fish, and meat.
Iron: Iron is a mineral that’s responsible for carrying oxygen throughout your body and producing hemoglobin. It also helps keep your immune system healthy, allowing you to fight off infections.
Good sources of iron include meat, liver, shellfish, beans, nuts, fortified breakfast cereals, dried fruits, dark-green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and kale.
Zinc: This trace mineral helps maintain collagen and elastin fibers that make the skin its firmness, helping to prevent sagging and wrinkles. It also essential in wound healing. Zinc is found in red meats, poultry, seafood (oysters, crabs, and lobsters), beans, nuts, whole grains, cereals, and dairy products.