Why vitamins and minerals are important?

Micronutrients: vitamins and minerals

    Vitamins and minerals are substances your body needs in small, but steady amounts for normal growth, function, and health. Together, vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients. Your body can’t make most micronutrients, so you must get them from the foods you eat, or in some cases, from supplements. Food preparation, medications, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and stress can affect the amount of micronutrients available to the body. For example, drinking coffee or tea with meals can decrease iron absorption, and taking antibiotics can increase your Vitamin B requirements.

Why vitamins and minerals are important?

Why Do I Need Vitamins? 

    Vitamins are needed for a variety of biological processes to include growth, digestion, mental alertness, and resistance to infection. They also enable your body to use carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and they act as catalysts — initiating or speeding up chemical reactions. Though vitamins are involved in converting food into energy, they supply no calories. 

Vitamins Can Be Either Water-Soluble or Fat-Soluble

    Water-Soluble Vitamins: Vitamin C, biotin and the seven B vitamins — thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), folic acid (B-9) and cobalamin (B-12) - dissolve in water (water-soluble) and are not stored in your body in any significant amounts. Surplus water-soluble vitamins are simply excreted into your urine.

    Fat-Soluble Vitamins: Any extra Vitamin A, D, E or K that is not used by your body right after ingestion is stored in your body fat and/or liver. Excess fat-soluble vitamins can accumulate in your body and become toxic. You’re especially sensitive to excess amounts of Vitamins A  and D. Because Vitamins E and K affect blood clotting, talk with your doctor before taking a supplement that contains either of these vitamins if you’re taking a blood thinner, such as warfarin. 

Why Do I Need Minerals?

    Minerals are the main components in your teeth and bones, and they serve as building blocks for other cells and enzymes. Minerals also help regulate the balance of fluids in your body and control the movement of nerve impulses. Some minerals also help deliver oxygen to cells and help carry away carbon dioxide. Minerals have two categories:

    Major minerals: Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur and chloride are considered major minerals because adults need them in larger amounts — more than 250 milligrams (mg) a day.

    Trace minerals: Chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc are considered trace minerals because your body needs them in smaller amounts.

Conclusion

    Remember, a healthy diet containing plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low fat dairy and whole grains will provide the best source of important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. No one food or food group has all the vitamins and minerals, so you need to eat a variety of healthy foods. Good nutrition should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle, that also includes adequate sleep, regular physical activity, not smoking, and stress management.