Vitamins and Minerals

To be sustainable, a well- balanced and nutritious diet plays the crucial role and benefits the body in one or the other way. A diet lacking in nutrients may be become the reason of few severe unwanted symptoms, therefore a healthy diet is achievable.

Consuming sufficient amount of food, vegetables, fruits, beans, cereals, wholegrains, meats and then using low fat dairy products will ultimately provide your body with plenty amount of minerals and vitamins. Such nutrients are required at the right level and with a balanced one too.

Significance of Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals falls under the micronutrients and are the important part of our diet, in order to keep ourselves healthy. However these are needed in small amounts, but are helpful in providing energy, healing process, metabolic process, making immune system more strong.

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We received vitamins and minerals from the food we eat and are been consumed in small amounts, and may produce toxicity if consumed in large amount. Therefore, a balanced diet is important to maintain in every measure.

Types of Vitamins and their Functions

There are total 13 essential vitamins, out of which 8 belongs to the B-group of vitamins. It implies that the listed vitamins are required by the body to function properly. These are:

Vitamin A

Importance of vitamin A is keeping the immune system strong, so that it can fight against infections, pathogens and disease. It is also helpful in keeping our skin healthy, vision strong and supports growth and reproduction.

The deficiency in vitamin A can increase the risks of infections, irreversible blindness, night blindness, extreme keratin build-up of the skin.

There are numerous plants as well animals sources which are rich in vitamin A. In plants mangoes, carrots, red capsicum, apricots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and cantaloupes, broccoli, spinach and peas. Whereas, in animals eggs, milk, dairy products can be counted.

Vitamin B

There are multiple significance of this vitamin B, as this group covers maximum numbers of vitamins such as Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin),Vitamin B3 (niacin), Pantothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Biotin (B7), folate or folic acid as Vitamin B9 (when included in supplements), Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin),

Vitamin B1 is helpful in producing energy in the body, Vitamin B2 supports the other cells and works in production of red blood cells and body growth too. On addition, vitamin B3 supports in maintaining the skin and nerves fit and healthy, higher dos of it are effective in lowering the cholesterol level, even vitamin B5 is essential in metabolism process and regulates hormone and cholesterol.

Vitamin B7 plays its crucial role in metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates and thus regulates the cholesterol and hormones level too.

Folate i.e. vitamin B9 and vitamin B12 with their joint efforts supports the production of red blood cells, which is also used in making DNA and thereby controlling the cell and tissue growth and their function too. Sufficient amount of folate is significant for women who are pregnant.

Vitamin B12 and B9 (folate) are stored by the liver, while other members of Vitamin B type, cannot be stored by the body and therefore are needed to be consumed properly in the diet and these includes food such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, legumes, fish, lean meats, etc.

Deficiency in vitamin B of any type may be effective to the body in many ways as it is regulating various functions of the body and person with deficiency vitamin B may leads to Beri Beri (vitamin B1), Ariboflvinosis (B2), Pellagra (B3), Paresthesia (B5), Anemia (B6), Dermatitis and enteritis (B7), Megaloblastic anemia (B9 and B12).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid, is essential in living being especially humans as it palys a major role in body’s metabolic process. Intake of vitamin C from foods and other sources should be must as it not produced by the body and is not stored for longer period by the body.

The role of vitamin C is in iron absorption, collagen formation, antioxidant, fighting against pathogens (lymphocytes need vitamin C), and also produce brain chemicals (neurotransmitters).

Only 45mg of vitamin C is required by the body on daily basis, while remaining is excreted. Raw foods is preferred the best source of vitamin C, as it is been observed that the nutritional values get reduced if the food is overcooked.

The main source of vitamin C are lemons, oranges, limes, mangoes, rock melon, kiwi fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, grapefruits and blackcurrants. In vegetables, it can be spinach, capsicum, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, spinach, brussels sprouts and potatoes.

The major deficiency disease related to vitamin C is ‘scurvy’. However, it is treated as the past disease but cannot be ignored if the person is regularly consuming unhealthy food, are on crash diet, are malnourished, having eating disorder, or on allergy diets, or are smokers. One can visit the doctor, if they ay have the symptom’s such as fever, loss of appetite, nausea and diarrheas’, painful joints and muscles.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D keeps our bones and muscles strong and also maintains over health. Sun rays consisting of ultraviolet (UV) radiations is the essential and one of the best source of gaining vitamin D. Person doing consistent physical activities nd exercises can be helpful to the body in producing vitamin D.

It is advisable, that spending too much time in the sun may also be harmful and the risk of getting skin cancer may increase, so sun protection should be used on daily basis, if the UV index is highest ( 3 or above).

Apart from the sun light, eggs, meat, fish, milk, margarine are the rich source of vitamin D and a small amount can be absorbed.

Deficiency of Vitamin D can leads to rickets, osteoporosis, bone fractures and falls.

Vitamin E

Vitamin is an antioxidant, that is helpful in protecting our body against the damage from free radicals, or any harmful radiation or smoke. Vitamin E is significant for our immune system, skin, and vision.

Minimal processed foods and maximum fresh one is the best source to get vitamin E. The best source to get vitamin are spinach, broccoli, meat, egg, soybean oils, sunflower oil, extra virgin oil, wheat germ, and seeds, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, etc.

Deficiency of vitamin E may cause fat mal-adsorption such as cystic fibrosis, secondly erythrocyte hemolysis is the one of the deficiency seen in new born where vitamin E was not transferred to them prior to the birth.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is necessary to keep the bones intact and strong, and helpful in wound healing and blood clotting. It is also significant is new born babies to prevent serious bleeding known as hemorrhages disease of the ew born (HDN).

The best dietary source of vitamin K are the spinach, avocado, kiwi fruit, soybean oil, and kale. However, bacteria present in our body (gastrointestinal tract) are also one of the source of getting vitamin K. In case new born babies a booster dose of vitamin K is given, as they have no bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract at the time of birth

Deficiency of vitamin K can lead to the problems such as unabsorbed fat or medicines and inability to blood clotting.

Given below is the list of disease that will occur due to lack of nutrients:

VitaminsDeficiency Disease
Vitamin ANight Blindness
Vitamin B1Beri Beri
Vitamin B2Ariboflavinosis
Vitamin B3Pellagra
Vitamin B5Paresthesia
Vitamin B6Anemia
Vitamin 7Dermatitis, enteritis
Vitamin 9 and B12Megaloblastic anemia
Vitamin CScurvy, Swelling of Gums
Vitamin DRickets & Osteomalacia
Vitamin ELess Fertility
Vitamin KNon-Clotting of Blood.

Types of minerals and their functions

Numerous minerals are been present in our atmosphere, that can be either classified as major or trace minerals . However the amount in which they are needed by the body may varies, like macrominerals are needed in higher quantity as compared to the microminerals. The list of macrominerals includes calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, chloride, Sulphur.

Microminerals or trace minerals are equivalently important in bodily functions and these includes copper, manganese, iron, zinc, selenium and iodine.

Few of the essential minerals are listed below along with their deficiencies disease and symptoms:

Name of MineralsImportanceDeficiency diseasesFood Source
Calciumblood clotting, strengthen teeth and bones, regulates heart and muscles functions, transmission of nervous system messages, active in enzyme functioning. Osteoporosis, weak bones and tooth decay.milk, cheese, yoghurt, , tofu, soymilk, cereals.
IodineRegulates metabolic rate, major factor in controlling thyroid hormone, helpful in body and brain growth and development.Thyroid disorder, Goiter, swollen glands in the neck, mental disability in children.eggs, kelp (seaweeds), dairy products, seafood, some vegetables, iodized salt.
IronTransportation of oxygen in body, other body functions, sgnifinificant tole in immune system and thereby effective fight against foreign particles. Anemia, weakness.legumes, eggs, poultry, fish, cereals (containing iron).
ZincZinc plays significant role in strengthening the bodys immune system and the overall growth and development. It actively participate in transporting vitamin A around the body.unexplained weight loss, diarrhea, loss of appetite, open sores on the skin, wounds that will not heal.whole grains, shellfish, red meat, poultry, cereals containing zinc, milk and cheese.
Magnesium This component is important in body to maintain and keeps the bone strong and use glucose as the energy source. It also regulate blood pressure, lung function and supports immune functions. abnormal heart rhythm, nausea diarrhea, weakness.seafood, whole grains, legumes, nuts (cashewnuts), dark green vegetables, chocolate and cocoa.
Potassium Helpful in maintaining the blood pressure, and crucial for functioning of the muscles, heart, and nerves. hypokalemia ( weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps and aches).Unprocessed food is highly recommended like - vegetables, fruits, eggs, fish, meats, lena, banana, apricots, mushrooms, spinach, seeds and nuts.
Sodium The correct volume of sodium in body is helpful in blood circulation and tissue fluids of the body. high blood pressure (hypertension) if taken in excess amount.Salt, dairy products, meat, wholegrains.

Bottom line

Vitamins are categorized as Water-Soluble vitamins which includes vitamin c, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folacin, vitamin B12, biotin and pantothenic acid. Whereas the next category of vitamins are Fat-soluble vitamin which includes A, D, E, and K. The fast soluble vitamins can be absorbed and are soluble in organic solvents and are carried in the same manner likewise the fats do.

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