What Are Vitamins and Minerals?

Before you make your way to the health food store and wander up and down the aisles, let’s take a closer look at vitamins and minerals. You probably have a pretty good idea they’re essential for good health, but chances are you’re not quite sure exactly what they do.

Vitamins and minerals don’t supply energy of calories-you get those from carbohydrate, protein and fat. What vitamins and minerals do is help release energy from foods so your body can use it. And they have other vital functions as well. They play a role in the health of every organ in the body-including the heart, brain and skin-as well as your bones, immune system and nervous system.

There are 13 vitamins that are considered essential to good health. Four of those vitamins-vitamins A, D, E and K-are fat-soluble, and any excess you take can be stored in your body. The other vitamins are water-soluble, and you won’t store any excess amount (you lose the excess through your urine). These are vitamin C and the B vitamins, folic acid and biotin.

Essential minerals include calcium, copper, chromium, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

Without adequate amounts of these vitamins and minerals, deficiency diseases can develop. A deficiency of vitamin C caused scurvy, a lack of vitamin D causes rickets, too little niacin causes pellagra, and a lack of thiamine causes beriberi-all serious diseases. People with a diet excessively low n iodine commonly experience swelling in the neck, called a goiter. And the pallid maidens of days past who swooned frequently probably had iron-deficiency anemia.

Importance of Minerals: How Avoid Deficiencies?

Just like vitamins, minerals are absolutely essential to maintain health and even life. Some minerals are present in a very small quantity, but be careful not to confuse quantity with usefulness. For example, the quantity of iodine contained in the system does not cover the head of a pin. Yet, it is responsible for making the difference between someone with a well-developed intelligence growing normally and someone who is rachitic and unintelligent. Consequently, you must make sure that your diet is rich in minerals of all kinds.

essential minerals and their functions

Should we take mineral supplements if we eat quality foods?

Because they are usually found in sufficient quantities in our normal diet, some minerals do not need to be taken in the form of supplements. We are talking about chlorine, copper, fluorine, iodine, sulphur and sodium. However, some particular cases may require a supplement of one of these minerals. Other minerals are often in insufficient quantities in a normal diet and it would be beneficial to take them daily in the form of a supplement. There are: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

Ideally, taking theses minerals in the form of a supplement should complement a good diet. Advertisements on supplements of vitamins and minerals generally tell us the following: “if you don’t have the time to eat properly, compensate by taking a supplement”. It is better for someone who has a poor diet to take a supplement containing certain vitamins and minerals then it is for someone who has a poor diet not to take this supplement. Without a doubt, the best approach is to eat well and to complete your diet with quality supplements made of natural vitamins and minerals.

Prefer the Optimal Approach

When it comes to taking minerals, there are two approaches: the minimal approach and the optimal approach. The minimal approach recommends a daily intake sufficient enough for you not to be affected by definite deficiencies. The optimal approach suggests a high daily intake of each of the minerals to allow the system to get maximum benefit out of it. The optimal approach is without a doubt the best option, since it represents an asset for the improvement and maintenance of health.

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