What Are Vitamins and Minerals?

Vitamins and minerals make people’s bodies work properly. Although you get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat every day, some foods have more vitamins and minerals than others.

Foods provide more than vitamins and minerals. Many foods also have fiber and other substances that can provide health benefits. However, some people who don’t get enough vitamins and minerals from food alone, or who have certain medical conditions, might benefit from taking one or more of these nutrients found in single-nutrient supplements or in MVMs. However, evidence to support their use for overall health or disease prevention in the general population remains limited.

vitamins and minerals
vitamins and minerals

What Do Vitamins and Minerals Do?

Minerals and Vitamins boost the immune system, support normal growth and development, and help cells and organs do their jobs. For example, you’ve probably heard that carrots are good for your eyes. It’s true! Carrots are full of substances called carotenoids that your body converts into vitamin A, which helps prevent eye problems.

Essential nutrients for your body

Every day, your body produces skin, muscle, and bone. It churns out rich red blood that carries nutrients and oxygen to remote outposts, and it sends nerve signals skipping along thousands of miles of brain and body pathways. It also formulates chemical messengers that shuttle from one organ to another, issuing the instructions that help sustain your life.

Micronutrients with a big role in the body

Vitamins and minerals are often called micronutrients because your body needs only tiny amounts of them. Yet failing to get even those small quantities virtually guarantees disease. Here are a few examples of diseases that can result from vitamin deficiencies:

Scurvy. Old-time sailors learned that living for months without fresh fruits or vegetables—the main sources of vitamin C—causes the bleeding gums and listlessness of scurvy.
Blindness. In some developing countries, people still become blind from vitamin A deficiency.
Rickets. A deficiency in vitamin D can cause rickets, a condition marked by soft, weak bones that can lead to skeletal deformities such as bowed legs. Partly to combat rickets, the U.S. has fortified milk with vitamin D since the 1930s.

Healthy growth and development are to provide a wide variety of fresh foods from the five food groups including whole-grain bread and cereals, vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and legumes, and dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Vitamin Content

VITAMIN What it does for our bodies Where do we get it from
B1 (thiamin) • Release energy from carbohydrates
• Is needed for proper working of the heart, digestive and nervous systems
• Essential for growth
• Yeast extracts (e.g. Vegemite)
• Wheatgerm and wheat bran
• Nuts and seeds
• Fortified bread and breakfast cereals
• Lean pork
• Wholemeal flour and cereals
B2 (riboflavin) • Essential for growth and repair of tissues, especially the skin and eyes
• Help release energy from food
• Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
• Yeast extracts (e.g. Vegemite)
• Egg whites
• Almonds
• Mushrooms
• Wholemeal flour and cereals
• Green vegetables

More Content

B3 (niacin) • Release energy from food
• considerable for growth
• Helps control cholesterol levels
• Important for the nervous system and digestive health
• Lean meat
• Yeast
• Bran
• Peanuts
• Tuna and salmon
• Legumes
• Fortified breakfast cereals
• Eggs
• Vegetables
• Milk

More VitaminsContent

B6 (pyridoxine) • Boost process protein and carbohydrate
• Assists in making red blood cells
• Considerable for brain function and immune system health
• Lean meat and poultry
• Fish
• Yeast extracts (e.g. Vegemite)
• Soybeans
• Nuts
• Wholegrains
• Green leafy vegetables
Pantothenic acid • Helping to process carbohydrate, fat, and protein for energy
• Involved in the formation of fatty acids and cholesterol
• Yeast extracts (e.g. Vegemite)
• Fish
• Lean meat
• Legumes
• Nuts
• Eggs
• Green leafy vegetables
• Bread and cereals

Even more Vitamins Content

B12 (cyano-cobalamin) • Works with folate to produce new blood and nerve cells and DNA
• Helps process carbohydrate and fat
• Found only in animal products (lean meat, chicken, fish, seafood, eggs and milk)
• Fortified soy products
Biotin • Help process fat and protein
• Important for growth and nerve cell function
• Egg yolk
• Oats
• Wholegrains
• Legumes
• Mushrooms
• Nuts

More

Folate (folic acid) • Produces red blood cells and DNA
• Keeps the nervous system healthy
• Critical in early pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects
• Yeast extracts (e.g. Vegemite)
• Green leafy vegetables
• Wholegrains
• Peas
• Nuts
• Avocado
C (ascorbic acid) • Needed for healthy skin, gums, teeth, bones, and cartilage
• Assists with absorption of some types of iron
• Assists with wound healing and resistance to infection
• Fruit and vegetables (citrus fruit and juices, berries, pineapple, mango, pawpaw, capsicum, parsley, broccoli, spinach, cabbage)

Mineral Content

MINERAL What it does for our bodies Where we get it from
Calcium • Essential for building strong healthy bones and teeth
• Helps muscle contraction and nerve function
• Assist blood clotting
• Dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt)
• Canned sardines and salmon with bones
• Wholegrains
• Tofu and soy fortified drinks
• Broccoli
• Almonds

More Mineral Content

Chromium • Boost with normal growth
• Plays a role in controlling blood sugar levels
• Yeast extract (vegemite, Marmite)
• Egg yolk
• Liver and kidney
• Lean meat
• Wholegrains
• Cheese
Copper • Joins with iron in the formation of red blood cells
• cooperate with the functioning of the nervous system
• Oysters, crab, lobster, mussels
• Nuts
• Yeast extract (e.g. Vegemite)
• Wholegrains
Fluorine / Fluoride • Serve with the structure of healthy bones and teeth
• Decreases the chance of dental caries
• prevention of osteoporosis
• Fluoridated drinking water
• Fish
• Tea

Your best diet for getting the vitamins and minerals you need is to eat a wide variety of healthy foods and skip the vitamin pills, drinks, and other supplements. You’ll feel better overall and won’t run the risk of overdoing your vitamin and mineral intake.

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