Vitamins & Minerals
You know vitamins and minerals are good for you. But which ones does your body really need? And is it possible to get too much of a good thing?
Vitamins fall into two categories: fat soluble and water soluble.
The fat-soluble vitamins — A, D, E, and K — dissolve in fat and can be stored in your body.
The water-soluble vitamins — C and the B-complex vitamins (such as vitamins B6, B12, niacin, riboflavin, and folate) — need to dissolve in water before your body can absorb them. Because of this, your body can't store these vitamins.
Any vitamin C or B that your body doesn't use as it passes through your system is lost (mostly when you urinate). So you need a fresh supply of these vitamins every day.
Vitamins are organic substances (made by plants or animals), while minerals are inorganic elements that come from the soil and water and are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals.
Your body needs larger amounts of some minerals, such as calcium, to grow and stay healthy. Other minerals like chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc are called trace minerals because you only need very small amounts of them each day.
What Do Vitamins and Minerals Do?
Vitamins and minerals 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.
Vitamin K, helps blood to clot (so cuts and scrapes stop bleeding quickly). You'll find vitamin K in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and soybeans. And to have strong bones, you need to eat foods such as milk, yogurt, and green leafy vegetables, which are rich in the mineral calcium.
Calcium prevents recurrence of colon cancer more effectively in people with higher levels of vitamin D than in people with lower levels, reports a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2003;95:1765?71).
As the very concept of dieting involves restricting your food intake in some manner, it is beneficial for anyone on ANY diet to take a good, balanced multi-vitamin.
What are these wonder micronutrients that your body cannot produce all by itself but needs them badly in trace quantities? They are called vitamins. Vitamins are not synthesized or produced by the body so they need to be obtained by humans through the food they eat. Humans need 13 vitamins to maintain good health.