How important are vitamins and minerals in our diet?

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Vitamins and Minerals are two types of micronutrients.

Micronutrients are different from macro nutrients (like carbohydrates, protein and fat) in a way that body needs only a very small quantity of them for survival. However, micronutrients are essential for proper functioning of body systems. If body doesn’t get these small quantities of micronutrients that it needs, then it can cause serious health problems.

Vitamins – organic nutrients – most of which are not made in the body and mainly obtained through food. Each of the vitamins known have specific functions in the body: vitamin A, vitamin B Complex (B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, riboflavin, and folate), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Vitamin A

For: healthy eyes, healthy teeth and skin and general growth and development.
Natural source: Carrots and other orange foods– all of which get their hue from the carotene pigment.

Vitamins B

For: energy production, immune function and iron absorption.
Natural source: found in whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils etc

Folic acid – Vitamin B9

For: preventing birth defects in pregnancy.
Natural source: Dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, peas, lentils, seeds, nuts, cauliflower etc

Vitamin C

For: Giving skin its elasticity, anti-oxidant function and iron absorption.

Natural Source: Oranges, Guava, red and green peppers, kiwi, grapefruits, strawberries, sprouts etc

Vitamin D

For: strong healthy bones.
Natural source: spending out few minutes in sun, Eggs, fish and mushrooms.

Vitamin E

For: blood circulation, and protection from free radicals.
 Natural source: Almond + other nuts + sunflower seeds + tomatoes etc

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Vitamin K

For: blood coagulation 
 Natural source: leafy greens vegetables, Sprouts, Brocoli

Minerals – inorganic nutrients – include the macro elements calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium and together with trace elements copper, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc. Minerals are also found in small quantities within the body and mainly obtained from a wide variety of foods.

Calcium

For: Major component of teeth and bones, Aids Blood clotting
 Natural source: Dairy products like yogurt, cheese and milk, tofu, turnip, Chinese cabbage etc

Iron

For: building muscles naturally and healthy blood
Natural source: Organ meats like liver, soybeans, cereal, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils and spinach etc

Zinc

For: immunity, growth and fertility.
Natural source: Seafoods like oysters, spinach, cashews, beans,dark chocolate

Chromium

For: helps every cell in your body getting energy as and when needed.
Natural source: Whole grains, fresh vegetables and herbs etc

Magnesium
For: Supports cellular activity, component of bone

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