Vitamins and minerals not only keep your body in good health and functioning properly, but they also help to protect against certain diseases that can be contracted because of the body’s deficiencies in these certain vitamins and minerals, such as scurvy or rickets.
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), while minerals are found in food in varying amounts and travel throughout your system in various ways.
Different vitamins and minerals perform different functions to keep the body healthy.
Vitamins are organic substances found in all kinds of fresh foods, ranging from meats, vegetables, dairy products, and nuts and legumes. They can either be dissolved in water or in fat.
The following vitamins are water-soluble:
B-Vitamins – Parts of enzymes needed to metabolize energy and maintain various organ systems, such as the nervous and digestive system, throughout the body.
C – Ascorbic Acid, an antioxidant that keeps the immune system healthy and aids in iron absorption.
H – Biotin, enzyme that helps metabolize fatty acids and leucine.
These are the following fat-soluble vitamins:
A – Beta carotene, needed for healthy eyes, teeth, and skin.
D – 1, 25-dihydroxy vitamin D, which is involved in proper calcium absorption
E – Tocopherol, antioxidant used in protecting cell walls
K – Necessary enzyme used in the process of proper blood clotting
Minerals are inorganic substances (most of them can be found on the periodic table) that aid in many bodily processes. However, because they are inorganic, they can only be acquired through eating food. Two types of minerals are macrominerals and microminerals, or trace minerals.
Macrominerals are minerals that the body needs in larger doses in order to perform and carry out crucial functions. Here are a few examples of macrominerals:
Calcium – Aside from bone formation, calcium also aids in other functions throughout the body, such as nerve signaling, secreting of hormones, and proper blood pressure.
Phosphorus – A crucial DNA and RNA component, partly responsible for the process of converting food into energy and nutrients, as well as carrying them into the various organs that need them.
Potassium – This macromineral and electrolyte is crucial for keeping the body’s heart rate stable, as well as in maintaining nervous system signals and muscle function.
Microminerals, or trace minerals, are the minerals that your body only requires in small doses, such as the following:
Copper – Essential trace element and anti-oxidant crucial to forming red blood cells, metabolizing energy, and maintaining immune system and nervous system functions.
Iron – Muscle formation, and is responsible for maintaining healthy blood.
Fluoride – Crucial in the healthy formation of tooth enamel.
Selenium – An anti-oxidant that regulates thyroid hormones.