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All You Should Know About Vitamins and Minerals

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Nutrition

Want to stay active and healthy all through your life? Keep an eye on what you eat.  A well balanced diet is the secret behind the overall well being of all human beings. Do you know what does a balanced diet mean? A balanced diet contains all the essential vitamins and minerals.  So while planning your diet, give emphasis on this aspect. Although vitamins and minerals enter our system naturally through daily intake of foods, some food items provide high levels of vitamins and minerals than the others. So it helps if you are well informed of the vitamin and mineral contents of particular foods.
 
There are two categories of vitamins. One is water soluble and the other is fat soluble. The fat soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K. these can be stored in your body. On the other hand the water soluble vitamins are vitamin C and vitamin B complex. The vitamin B complex includes B6, B12, niacin, riboflavin and folate. These vitamins need to be dissolved in water; otherwise your body would not be able to absorb them.

As a child I was often forced by my mom to take milk and eggs and like many other children I just hated it. But then I did not know that they are so rich in Vitamin A which is necessary for your eye problems and immune system. Now that I sport high power spectacles, I know the value of these food items that I used to throw away in the back yard, only I have learnt it the hard way. Vitamin A is also abundantly found in different kinds of fruits. Vitamin B12 is needed to make DNA and the red blood cells. Good sources for vitamin B12 are fish, meat, milk products etc. Vitamin C is generally used for the treatment of cold and is needed to make collagen. You might have heard of scurvy, which is the result of low intake of vitamin C. To get a high doses of vitamin C gorge on the citrus fruits like orange, lemon etc. Vitamin D on the other hand is necessary for your skin and bones. For vitamin D you have to do nothing. Your body itself manufactures it in the presence of sun light. Egg yolks and fish oils also carry high levels of vitamin D.

Mineral are not organic substances like vitamins. On the other hand these are inorganic elements which are found in abundance in soil and water. The minerals are easily absorbed by the plants and eaten by the animals. Certain minerals like calcium, iodine, chromium, copper, iron selenium, zinc etc are essential for the proper functioning of our system.
The minerals have their individual roles to play. Calcium is required for your growth and it helps you to stay healthy. It is also important to make your teeth and bones stronger. Iron also helps the red blood cells to carry the oxygen through all parts of your body. Magnesium helps in the proper functioning of the muscles and nerves. It is also helpful to keep the heart rhythm steady. For your normal growth and sexual development a proper amount of zinc is very much essential. It is also required for making your immunity power stronger and also for the healing of your wounds. Phosphorus is required for building stronger bones and teeth and also makes you more energetic.

Milk and other dairy products are generally rich in calcium. The foods with a higher level of iron contents are fish; pork, red meat etc. You will get magnesium from the whole grains, breads and nuts. To get phosphorus you have to eat meat, fish and dairy products. Potassium can be found in leafy green vegetables.