Vitamins are fat-soluble organic compounds essential for normal biochemical and physiological functions. Vitamins are multifunctional, they serve as structural components in the body and acts as co-enzymes in metabolic pathways and as antioxidants.
Minerals are inorganic elements that are essential to the body functions such as maintenance of acid-base balance, normal hemoglobin levels and osmotic pressure. Minerals are components of vitamins, hormones, enzymes and many stable complexes in bone tissue.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for many biochemical and physiological functions in our bodies. Vitamins and minerals do not provide calorie, rather they work together with essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein and fats to start many chemical processes for growth, maintenance of well-being and possibly prevention of diseases.
Health benefits of vitamins and minerals
- Helps to prevent or repairs damage to cells and tissues.
- Helps I maintaining normal metabolic function such as energy production and hormone synthesis.
- May decrease the risk of nutrient related chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, rickets, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis.
- Help you use the energy that comes from the food we eat
- They are needed for strong bones and help your body fight off infections.
Important vitamins for healthy living
- Vitamin A: Plays an important function in our vision and reproduction, they are needed for the formation and maintenance of mucous membrane, skin and bone. They also support the immune system by producing white blood cells. They are found in milk product, eggs, carrot, sweet potatoes, red pepper, papaya, apricot and collard green.
- Vitamin C: They are needed for the formation and maintenance of collagen, neurotransmitters and hormone synthesis. Vitamin C also acts as antioxidants that protect cells from damage and thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. They are found in citrus fruits like (oranges, grapefruit), strawberries, green pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and tomatoes.
- Vitamin D: They are essential for calcium and phosphorous absorption in the intestine and bones. They help to support bone growth and plays an important role in fighting infection and controlling blood pressure and insulin production. They are found in milk, soy, orange, eggs, fortified cereals, fortified yoghurt, fatty fish like salmon and sardine.
- Vitamin E: Acts as an antioxidant that protects the cells from damage and thereby may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and some cancer. It also helps with immune functions and DNA repairs and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. They vegetable oil, olive oil, margarine, mayonnaise, nuts, sunflower seeds wheat and eggs.
- Vitamin K: Play an important role in the formation and reduction of blood clotting in the teeth and bone formation and they are found in dark leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, brussels sprouts and broccoli.
- Vitamin B: Helps in supporting growth and tissue repairs they also help with the proper function and maintenance of nervous system and muscle tissue. They are found in meat (all kind), seafood, whole grains, milk, nuts, eggs and legumes.
Important minerals for healthy living
- Calcium: Calcium is important for strong bones, muscle and nerve functions. It is also important for blood clotting. Calcium helps with the maintenance and functioning of muscle contraction and they are found in milk, soybeans, fortified tofu, canned salmon with bones, white beans and navy beans.
- Iron: Iron is a component of hemoglobin needed to deliver oxygen to the tissue in the body. It is needed for cell growth and differentiation. They are found in red meat, oysters and clams, legumes, spinach, tofu, dried fruits like figs, prunes and raisins.
- Zinc: Zinc helps with wound healing and boosting of the immune system. Zinc also helps with growth and development and for protein and DNA synthesis. They are found in meat, fish, poultry, grains, milk products, nuts and seeds.
- Magnesium: is a structural product for teeth and bones, they are needed the functioning and maintenance of muscle, immune system, nerve and enzyme activity. Magnesium plays an important role in energy and metabolism and protein synthesis. They also help to regulate blood sugar levels. They are found spinach, broccoli, potatoes, legumes, while grains, milk, yoghurt, seeds, nuts and tofu.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for proper healthy living and well-being. It is important to make sure we eat food that contains essential vitamin and minerals on a daily basis to improve our immunity. Not only food contains theses essential minerals and vitamins some supplement recommended by your health provider can also be used.