Vitamins and Minerals:
Keeping ourselves healthy and strong !
Some vitamins and minerals work best together in order to keep our bodies functioning adequately. Although we do not usually need vitamins or minerals in great quantities, these nutrients are very important to keep us healthy and strong.
Vitamins belong to 2 Groups :
1. Fat Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E and K).
These vitamins remain in the body for a longer period of time, as long as there is an adequate amount of body fat where they can be stored.
Precisely because they may remain in the body longer, we must be careful with some of these, especially vitamins A and D, since taking large amounts of these vitamins during long periods of time may have serious consequences for our health.
* Health Tip:
Vitamin A can be produced in our bodies from a plant pigment (natural coloring) called “beta carotene”, which is contained in a variety of fruits and vegetables.
2. Water soluble vitamins (the B complex vitamins and vitamin C).
These vitamins do not remain on our bodies for a long time, since they are eliminated in our urine. For this reason, it is necessary to eat various fruits and vegetables every day in order to have an adequate supply of these vitamins.
The B complex vitamins include B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyrodoxin), B12 (cobalamin), folate, biotin, and pantothenic acid.
It is very important for pregnant women to eat plenty of fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables, especially during the first weeks of pregnancy, since a lack of nutrients, especially folate, may cause problems in the developing baby’s nervous system (a condition known as “spina bifida”).
The Importance of Minerals in Nutrition.
Many minerals play an important role in maintain our body healthy and some work together with certain vitamins.
Some minerals are necessary for our well being in larger quantities than others, such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, chloride, and sulfate. For this reason they are known as “macrominerals”.
There are other minerals which are necessary for our health, but usually in small quantities, such as chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc. These minerals are known as “microminerals”.
Do not self-medicate with any vitamin or mineral, since some of them could be toxic in large doses, especially vitamins A and D, as well as the minerals iron and selenium.
Keep all vitamins and mineral supplements away from small children.
Although water is not a nutrient in itself, since it does not yield energy, it is vitally important for our health, because nutrients and fiber work best in the presence of water.
Be sure that you and your family drink enough water every day !
Eight glasses a day for a grown adult, unless you have a specific medical condition which prevents you from drinking large amounts of water) in order to keep your body healthy.