As we know vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that our body needs – but what does each vitamin do? And which foods are vitamin powerhouses?
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients because they perform many roles in our bodies. They help elevate bones, heal wounds and enhance our immune system.
There is a very fine line between getting enough of these nutrients (which are healthy) and getting too much (which can harm you). Eating a healthy diet is the best way to get adequate amounts of the vitamins and minerals you need.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals requirement in our body
Every day, our body produces bone and muscles. It nourishes rich red blood that carries nutrients and oxygen to distant outposts, and it sends nerve signals with skipping over thousands of miles of brain and body passages. It also prepares chemical messengers that travel from one organ to another, issuing instructions that help maintain our life.
But to do all this, our body needs some raw materials. These include many vitamins, minerals, and dietary components that our body requires but cannot manufacture in sufficient quantities.
Followings are the list of Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Here’s a list of few essential vitamins & minerals including their major function, food sources, and useful information that can help keep you healthy:
1. VITAMIN A
Major function: Healthy eyes, supports a healthy immune system, general growth, and development, including healthy teeth, skin, and hair.
Food Source: Carrots, Broccoli, sweet potato, green leafy vegetables, eggs, etc.
Useful Instruction: Large doses of vitamin A are toxic and when taken during the first months of pregnancy cause liver damage as well as birth defects. Over time, an excess of Vitamin A can also build weak bones. Large doses of beta-carotene can cause skin yellowing and increase the risk of cancer in smokers.
2. VITAMIN B (All types)
Major Function: Helps the body to use protein, fat, and carbohydrates to produce energy. Supports normal vision and healthy skin. It also plays information on the role of red blood cells and helps maintain the nervous system.
Food Source: Whole grains, potatoes, bananas, chili peppers, beans, yeast, and molasses.
Useful information: Large doses can cause toxicity with severe nerve damage, including numbness and difficulty walking.
3. VITAMIN C
Major Function: Helps heal wounds by promoting collagen formation, and strengthens resistance to infection, strengthening blood vessels and giving skin its elasticity, anti-oxidant function, and iron absorption.
Food Source: Citrus fruits, other fruits and vegetables, especially red and green peppers, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kiwifruit, strawberries, papaya, tomatoes, cantaloupe, etc.
Useful instruction: Large doses can cause nausea and diarrhea, excess absorption of iron, and possibly kidney stones.
4. VITAMIN D
Major Function: Required for proper formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. Promotes calcium absorption and helps maintain blood levels of phosphorus.
Food Source: Fortified milk products, eggs, fish, and mushrooms. It is also produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Useful instruction: Large doses can cause calcification of soft tissue.
5. VITAMIN E
Major Function: Acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from the effects of free radicals, which are harmful by-products of the body’s potential metabolism.
Food Source: Nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetable oils, egg yolks, and dark-green leafy vegetables, etc.
Useful Instruction: Extremely high doses of vitamin E may interfere with blood clots.
6. VITAMIN K
Major Functions: Essential for normal blood clots and bone health.
Food Source: Dark-green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, and other cabbage-type vegetables, etc.
Useful Instruction: Produced in the body by intestinal bacteria, so the need for diet is less.
7. FOLIC ACID
Major Function: Cell renewal and preventing birth defects in pregnancy.
Required for normal cell division and red blood cell formation. It also prevents anemia.
Food Source: Dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, peas, seeds, nuts, cauliflower, beets, and corn, etc.
Useful instruction: Higher doses may increase the risk of cancer such as lung or prostate cancer.
Major Function: Required for healthy bones and teeth. Strengthening bones and maintaining proper muscle and nerve functions.
Food Source: Milk. Cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products, etc.
Useful instruction: Food is the best source of calcium, but supplements are also acceptable.
Major Function: Build muscle naturally and maintain healthy blood.
Food Source: Oysters, organ meats like liver, soybeans, cereal, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils, and spinach are great sources of iron.
Useful instruction: High doses cause side effects in the stomach and intestines such as nausea and vomiting. High doses of iron may also cause high levels of hemoglobin in the blood.
Major Function: Helps in maintaining the balance of body fluids.
Food Source: Table salt, natural salt in foods, and salt is added to foods during processing.
Useful instruction: Excess sodium can cause edema (fluid retention), as well as high blood pressure.