Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential substances that our bodies need to develop and function normally.
If you eat a variety of foods from the 5 food groups and have a balanced diet, you’ll get all the vitamins and minerals you need. Most people don’t need supplements and also high doses of supplements can cause problems.The known vitamins include A, C, D, E, and K, and the B vitamins: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxal (B6), cobalamin (B12), biotin, and folate/folic acid.
A number of minerals are essential for health: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, sulfur, cobalt, copper, fluoride, manganese, and selenium.

The role of vitamins and minerals
The body has thousands of chemical reactions going on in each cell, every second of the day. The cells continually process the proteins, fats and carbohydrates from food.

Vitamins and minerals are essential parts of those chemical reactions. Without them, essential body functions couldn’t take place, but you only need very small amounts of them. Most people can get all the vitamins and minerals they need from a healthy diet.

Essential Vitamins

A healthy balanced diet containing a variety of foods should provide all the vitamins your body needs to work properly.
There are 2 types of vitamins, fat-soluble and water-soluble.Fat-soluble vitamins
Fat-soluble vitamins are mainly found in foods that are high in natural fat – such as dairy, eggs and oily fish.
You don’t need to eat these types of food every day to get enough of these vitamins. Every time you eat these foods your body stores them in your liver and body fat for future use.
Fat-soluble vitamins include:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin K
Vitamin A
(also known as retinol) has several important functions, including
eyesight
growthimmune system and defence against infections.
full cream dairy productsmargarinelivermeatorange coloured fruits and vegetables
Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, important for bone, teeth and muscle health.
Vitamin D is made by our skin from sunlight and is also found in small amounts in some foods.
needed to metabolise calciumhealthy bones and teethmany organs including the intestine, liver, and kidneysVitamin D forms in the skin when it is exposed to the sunsalmonherrings and sardinesegg yolksfortified milk and margarine
Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps to
antioxidantkeeps the membranes around cells healthypolyunsaturated oils, such as sunflower oil and
safflower oilleafy green vegetableswheat germwholegrain productsliveregg yolksnuts and seeds
Vitamin K
Vitamin K is important for healthy bones and blood clotting, an essential part of healing.
blood clottingmembers of the cabbage familyleafy green vegetablesmilk

Water-soluble vitamins
Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, you need to consume water-soluble vitamins more often. Your body can’t store these for future use and gets rid of any excess when you pass urine.

Water-soluble vitamins include:

  • vitamin C
  • B vitamins
  • folic acid

They’re found in:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • grains
  • dairy foods

Being water soluble, these vitamins can be lost or destroyed through heating, dissolving or exposure to air. To keep as many of these as possible, choose to steam or grill these foods instead of boiling (unless you’re making soups or stews with the liquid).

VitaminWhy it is neededWhere it is found
Vitamin C
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) helps to
antioxidantmetabolise proteinboost the immune systemhelp absorb ironAll fruits and vegetables, especially:citrus fruitsvegetables in the cabbage familycantaloupestrawberriescapsicumtomatoespotatoespaw pawmangoeskiwifruit
Vitamin B1
Thiamin is also known as vitamin B1. It helps the other B vitamins to break down and release energy from food and keep your nervous system healthy.
processing carbohydrates to energy
healthy working of your heart, digestive system, nervous systemcontrol of cholesterol
wholemeal bread
yeast extractoatsfortified breakfast cerealsfishporknutsseeds
Vitamin B2
Riboflavin is also known as vitamin B2. It helps to keep your skin, eyes and nervous system healthy and release energy from the food you eat.
tissue growth and repair including skin and eyesmilk and milk productsleafy green vegetablesmeatenriched bread and breakfast cereals
Vitamin B3
Niacin is also known as vitamin B3. It helps to release energy from the foods you eat and keep your skin and nervous system healthy.
There are 2 forms of niacin nicotinic acid and nicotinamide – both of which are found in food.
processing foods to energynervous system, digestive system, and skin healthpoultrymeatfishpeanutsmushrooms, asparagus, and leafy green vegetablesenriched bread and breakfast cereals
Vitamin B5
Pantothenic acid helps to release energy from the food we eat. It’s found naturally in most meats, vegetables and wholegrains, including.
processing foods to energya wide variety of foods
Vitamin B6
Pyridoxine is also known as vitamin B6. It helps the body to
processing proteins and carbohydratesmaking red blood cellsbrain functionimmune systemnerves and musclesmeatfishpoultryvegetablesfruit
Vitamin B9
Folic acid (also known as folate) works with vitamin B12 to form healthy red blood cells.
It can also help to reduce the risk of central nervous system defects – such as spina bifida – in unborn babies.
new red blood cellshealthy nervous systemnervous system development in pregnancyliverlegumesgreen leafy vegetablesorangesbreadseedsbreakfast cereals
Vitamin B12
Folic acid (also known as folate) works with vitamin B12 to form healthy red blood cells.
It can also help to reduce the risk of central nervous system defects – such as spina bifida – in unborn babies.
new red blood cellsnew nerve cellsprocessing fats and carbohydratesmeatfishpoultrydairy productseggs

Essential Minerals

Your body needs certain minerals to build strong bones and teeth and turn the food you eat into energy.

The body needs many minerals; these are called essential minerals. Essential minerals are sometimes divided up into major minerals (macrominerals) and trace minerals (microminerals). These two groups of minerals are equally important, but trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than major minerals. The amounts needed in the body are not an indication of their importance.

Macro Minerals include

  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Sulphur
Macro Mineral’sWhy it is neededWhere is it found
SodiumNeeded for proper fluid balancenerve transmissionmuscle contractionTable SaltSoy SauceLarge amounts in processed foods.Small amounts in milk, bread vegetables and unprocessed meat.
Magnesium
Magnesium is a mineral found in the earth, sea, plants, animals and humans.About 60% of the magnesium in your body is found in bone, while the rest is in muscles, soft tissues and fluids, including blood.
It is involved in more than 600 reactions in your body, including:Energy creation: Helps convert food into energy.Protein formation: Helps create new proteins from amino acids.Gene maintenance: Helps create and repair DNA and RNA.Muscle movements: Is part of the contraction and relaxation of muscles.Nervous system regulation: Helps regulate neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system.Pumpkin seedsSpinach, boiledSwiss chard, boiledDark chocolate (70–85% cocoa)Black beansQuinoa, cookedHalibutAlmondsCashewsMackerelAvocadoSalmon
Chloride
Chloride combines with sodium and,
 water, to form hydrochloric acid in the stomach for digestion.
Fluid BalanceStomach AcidTable saltsoy saucelarge amounts in processed foods; small amounts in milk, meats, breads, and vegetables
Potassium
Potassium helps the body control the balance of fluids and keeps your heart healthy and functioning correctly.
Needed for proper fluid balancenerve transmissionmuscle contractionfruit – such as bananassome vegetables – such as broccoli, parsnips and brussels sproutspulsesnuts and seedsfish and shellfishmeat
Calcium
There’s more calcium in your body than any other mineral.Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth and regulate your heartbeat. It also ensures your blood clots normally, important for healing.
Important for healthy bones and teethhelps muscles relax and contract;important in nerve functioningblood clottingblood pressure regulationimmune system healthdairy foods – such as milk, cheese and buttergreen leafy vegetables – such as broccoli and cabbagefortified soya productsfortified cereals – including breadfish where you eat the bones – such as anchovies and sardines
PhosphorusImportant for healthy bones and teethfound in every cellpart of the system that maintains acid-base balanceMeatfishpoultryeggsmilkprocessed foods
SulfurFound in protein moleculesOccurs in foods as part of protein:meatspoultryfisheggsmilklegumesnuts

Trace minerals (microminerals)
The body needs trace minerals in very small amounts. Note that iron is considered to be a trace mineral, although the amount needed is somewhat more than for other microminerals.

IronPart of a molecule (hemoglobin) found in red blood cells that carries oxygen in the bodyneeded for energy metabolismOrgan meatsred meatsfishpoultryshellfish (especially clams)egg yolklegumesdried fruitsdark, leafy greensiron-enriched breads and cerealsfortified cereals
ZincPart of many enzymes; needed for making protein and genetic materialhas a function in taste perceptionwound healingnormal fetal developmentproduction of spermnormal growth and sexual maturationimmune system healthMeatsfishpoultryleavened whole grainsvegetables
IodineFound in thyroid hormonewhich helps regulate growth development, and metabolismSeafoodfoods grown in iodine-rich soil, iodized saltbreaddairy products
SeleniumAntioxidentAntioxidantMeats, seafood, grains
CopperPart of many enzymesneeded for iron metabolismLegumesnutsseedswhole grainsorgan meatsdrinking water
ManganesePart of many enzymesWidespread in foods, especially plant foods
FluorideInvolved in formation of bones and teethhelps prevent tooth decayDrinking water (either fluoridated or naturally containing fluoride)fishmost teas
ChromiumWorks closely with insulin to regulate blood sugar (glucose) levelsUnrefined foods, especially liverbrewer’s yeastwhole grainsnutscheeses
MolybdenumPart of some enzymesLegumesbreads and grainsleafy greensleafygreen vegetablesmilkliver

Conclusion

WOW OK… it is actually really simple, I know the above information can seem OVERWHELMING right?
Even as I was putting it together and I have studied the above Vitamin and Minerals in all of my Nutrition and Naturopathic studies, I started to feel overwhelmed. I even thought… when is this BLOG going to end!!!!!

The simplicity is that if you eat a well balanced set of assorted foods in your diet you cover ALL of the above. Some people DO require supplementation.

This is where I can assist, if you can not get in a good balance diet and/or need supplementation consultation drop me a line as I would love to assist you.

I would like to know more about a Naturopathic Consult

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