by Brandy Abalos
oods are made up of vitamins and minerals, which are essential nutrients for the human body. It’s vital to eat a variety of foods to consume enough of each vitamin and mineral. There are recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals that should be consumed daily. However, it’s best to focus on eating a variety of foods over time. Doing so will ensure the body receives the nutrients it needs.
Vitamins and Minerals Play a Role in Body Processes
The body needs vitamins and minerals to function correctly. They play a role in a variety of bodily processes, including:
- Growth and development
- Energy production
- Immune function
- Repairing tissues
- Regulating hormones
- Maintaining healthy bones and teeth
- Protecting against diseases
Vitamins Are Essential for Life
Vitamins are involved in a wide range of bodily functions, including:
- Vitamin A: Helps to maintain vision, skin health and immune function.
- Vitamin C: Helps to heal wounds, fight infection and maintain healthy bones and teeth.
- Vitamin D: Helps the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus to maintain strong bones and teeth. It also plays a role in cell growth and helps build the immune system.
- Vitamin E: An antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage.
- Vitamin K: Ensures proper blood clotting.
Minerals Are Involved in Bodily Functions
Minerals are also essential for life. They are involved in a wide range of bodily functions, including:
- Calcium: Essential for strong bones and teeth.
- Iron: Carries oxygen throughout the body.
- Magnesium: Helps muscles and nerves to function correctly.
- Potassium: Helps balance fluids and normalize blood pressure.
- Sodium: An electrolyte that helps to regulate blood pressure and fluid balance.
- Zinc: Helps heal wounds and strengthen the immune system.
How to Get Enough Vitamins and Minerals
The best way to get enough vitamins and minerals is to eat a variety of foods from each food group. Here are some tips for getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods contain vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. Three to five servings of fruits and vegetables per day is recommended.
- Whole grains are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Choose them over refined grains, which have been stripped of many of their nutrients.
- Aim for leaner protein sources, such as chicken, fish and beans. These items are low in saturated fat and calories. They are a healthy source of vitamins and minerals.
- Low-fat dairy foods are high in calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients.
- Avoid processed foods, which are often high in unhealthy fats, sugar and salt. They are also typically low in nutrients.
Know When to Take Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Most people can get the necessary vitamins and minerals from a healthy diet. However, some people may need to take supplements, including:
- Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding: Pregnant and breastfeeding women need extra nutrients to support their growing babies.
- Older adults: As people age, they may have difficulty absorbing certain nutrients from food.
- People with certain medical conditions: Certain conditions, like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, impact the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
- People who follow a restrictive diet: Restrictive diets, such as a vegan or vegetarian diet, make it more difficult to consume enough nutrients. People on these diets may need supplements to ensure they are getting enough nutrients.
Those who are considering taking supplements should speak to their doctor first. A doctor can determine which supplements are necessary and, if so, how much each individual should take.
Vitamins and Minerals Play an Important Role in Health
Overall, health depends on getting enough vitamins and minerals to complete the body’s functions. Those who do not obtain enough may experience problems with their internal organs. Eating foods from every food group is crucial to consuming enough vitamins and minerals.