We all know this great proverb, “You are what you eat.” No doubt, this saying seems true when it comes to living a healthy life. Other than exercise and rest, food is of utmost importance in our daily lives.
For a healthy body, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamins and minerals are acquired by different supplements. You can get your vitamins and minerals from a well-balanced diet, while supplements step up your body systems. Vitamins and minerals play background roles in the bodies. Especially vitamins, they help to break down macronutrients such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Adding vitamins and minerals in your daily routine diet is compulsory. In case, your diet does not contain certain vitamins and minerals, you may feel these symptoms:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Serious tiredness
- Wounds that heal slowly
- Vision changes
- Bone or joint pain
Your doctor will recommend you to take vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and a few others.
The Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals
Do you think vitamins and minerals are the same? They pair together for specific functions of the bodies but have distinguish characters.
Vitamins are biotic substances that come from different plants and animals. Vitamins are discussed in two groups because they can be fragmented by temperature, air, or acid.
Water-soluble vitamins are present in the water or fluid portions of food. As 60% of our body contains water, these vitamins are absorbed into the blood canals. The level of water soluble vitamins in the body is regulated with the help of kidney. Excess nutrients release through urine, at the end.
Fat-soluble vitamins are such nutrients that are present in the healthy fatty foods like fish. As compared to the water-soluble vitamins that can travel through the blood canals, fat-soluble vitamins need proteins for transport. They take a long time to crack into pieces and are stored in the fatty tissues and liver.
Unlike vitamins, minerals are abiotic compounds. Most probably, they break down by different sources. No matters what these minerals are exposed to, they always sustain their chemical structures. Minerals found in our body are of two types:
Some minerals are found in the body in excess quantity and are known as everyday essentials. Such minerals include sodium and potassium that plays role in regulating the body’s water content. They strengthen bones and stabilize the protein secondary and tertiary structure.
Others are Trace Minerals that are relatively less abundant but are just as required. Our body needs 100mg of major minerals daily for proper functioning, but these trace minerals are required only in a small amount. Major functions of trace minerals include improving the immune system and transporting oxygen throughout the body.
20 Essential Vitamins and Minerals You Should Take Daily
From growing tissues to regulating metabolism, vitamins and minerals control all the major and minor functions of our body. Most of us get majority of the vitamins from a well-balanced diet. While, others need supplements to get that recommended daily amount.
You must be asking yourself now, which vitamins should I take daily to maintain a healthy life. Here we are helping you out with an integrated list of vitamins and minerals your body needs for proper functioning.
1. Vitamin A
This is a fat-soluble vitamin and is also known as retinol. This is often found in dairy products, meat (especially liver), carrots and other pigmented vegetables. The RDA of vitamin A for women is 700 mg and for men is 900 mg.
Vitamin A major functions include:
- Keeps skin fresh and healthy by fighting against toxins.
- Maintains a good vision.
- Resists against infections.
- Gives solidity to nails and hair.
- Provides strength to bones and teeth.
- Plays an important role in lungs, heart, and kidney functions.
2. Vitamin C
Unlike vitamin A, Vitamin C is water-soluble and also called as ascorbic acid. Vitamin C has RDA of 60 mg per day. You can get Vitamin C in orange juices, kale, guava, cherries, grapefruit, red peppers, and broccoli. Other than natural products, Vitamin C is available in Comvita Kids Day-Time Syrup, Soothing Pops, and Comvita Kids Night-Time Syrup.
Functions of vitamin C include:
- Provides protection of cells from the damage of free radicals.
- Supplies strength to teeth and bones.
- Reduces risk of getting the common cold.
- Plays a role in maintenance of skin and tissues health.
You should increase Vitamin C intake, if you are suffering from iron deficiency. According to experts, vitamin C can efficiently cope up with iron deficiency.
3. Vitamin B
Vitamin B is one of the most important essential vitamins for body. This exists in eight different forms, which account for vitamin B complex. Each of its forms has varied RDAs.
Vitamin B is widely present in foods like beef, chicken, fish, flour, breads, fortified breakfast cereals, and eggs. You can intake vitamin B in leafy green vegetables and meat. In case your diet does not contain vitamin B, you can take it in forms of liquids, pills, and injections.
Vitamin B functions include:
- Needs for metabolism of carbohydrate, fats, and proteins.
- Minimizes risk of stroke
- Helps in maintaining normal brain functions and memory.
- Aids in production of blood cells and nervous system cells.
- Lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol).
- Reduces risk of heart diseases.
4. Vitamin D
Human body has the capability to generate Vitamin D with an direct exposure to sunlight. Broccoli, egg yolks, cereals, fatty fish, cod liver oil, milk, cereals, and fortified juices are loaded with vitamin D. The RDA of vitamin D for adults and children is 15 micrograms and for ages 70 and older, it is 20 micrograms.
Functions of vitamin D include:
- Needs for tissues and bone health.
- Boosts immune cells functions.
- Regulates the blood level of phosphorous and calcium.
- Maintains functions of nervous system.
5. Vitamin K
Green leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamin K. The RDA of vitamin K for men is 120 mcg and for women is 90 mcg. One small cup of raw spinach contains 145 mcg approximately which is almost twice of the RDA.
Some important functions of vitamin K include:
- Helps in blood clotting.
- Plays an important role with calcium for keeping the bones healthy.
- Provides protection against heart diseases.
- Strengthens bones and tissues.
- Prevents slow healing of the wounds.
6. Vitamin E
Just like Vitamin C, Vitamin E also functions as an antioxidant. For proper functioning of organs and organ systems, vitamin E is highly crucial. The RDA of vitamin E is 15 mg on daily basis. You can get vitamin E in eggs, spinach, vegetable oils, avocados and nuts.
Functions of Vitamin E are:
- Keeps immune system strong.
- Dilates the blood vessels.
- Helps in prevention of blood clots.
- Reduces risk of heart diseases.
- Provides protection to cells from damage from the toxins.
- Minimizes the chances of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Functions in the maintenance of muscles.
- Helps fight against cancer.
Calcium is essential for healthy bone growth. The natural sources for calcium mineral are dairy milk, cheese, yogurt, and fortified plant-based milks such as almond and cashew milk. Its RDA for men and women of ages 19 to 51 is 1000 mg. For women of 51 and older and men older than 70, calcium’s RDA is 1200 mg daily.
Other functions of calcium include:
- Plays a role in muscles functioning.
- Helps nerves to carry messages from brain to other parts of the body.
- Functions in hormone secretion.
- Improves achieving healthy blood pressure.
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- Provides strength to teeth and bones.
The red color of the blood is because of iron. Anemia, disease caused by iron deficiency, seems to be associated with the severe autoimmune disorders like lupus. Iron containing foods are red meats, clams, liver, beans, and spinach. The RDA of iron is 8 to 18 mg per day.
Functions of iron include:
- Acts as transport to carry oxygen in the blood.
- Increases immunity.
- Facilitates with more energy.
- Functions in brain cells.
- Increases the power of concentration.
If you take too much stress, you may be short of zinc. This is not needed in large amounts. For men, zinc RDA is 11 mg and for women, it is 8 mg. Rich sources of zinc include oysters, brown rice, organ meats, wheat, nuts, beans, spinach, legumes, and the whole grains.
Some important functions of zinc are:
- Boosts the immune system.
- Prevents infection like pneumonia.
- Decreases risk of cold symptoms.
- Sharpens memory.
- Reduces the risks of cancer.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant. It is found in natural sources like almonds, beans, soya beans, pumpkins, nuts, brown rice, spinach and other leafy greens vegetables. Functions of magnesium include:
- Regulates muscle and nerve functions.
- Reduces stress.
- Soothes the nervous system.
- Provides energy for proper body functioning.
- Makes the major portion of protein, bone, and DNA.
- Provides an accurate balance to the blood sugar levels.
- Relieves sleeplessness
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