What are Vitamins and what are Minerals?
Vitamins and minerals are one of the three big ingredients in a typical balanced diet – fruits, vegetables, meats (though most meats do contain some vitamins); dairy products, whole grains, etc.
When you think about the other ingredients, like the fat in milk or meats or the fats in other products that people consume, they are all a part of a complex equation that brings together vitamins and minerals, the good, the bad, and everything in-between.
Most people know that they need to get a daily amount of vitamins and minerals from food – they think that there is some magic pill that will give them all of the nutrients they need. But do you need to take such a pill?
Many people have said that they would never eat food without vitamins and minerals. But if you think about it for just a moment, you’ll realize that the best way to ensure that you get all of the vitamins and minerals you need is by taking a multivitamin supplement regularly.
Why? Because the best way to ensure that you get all of the nutrients – the good ones – is to make sure that your body can recognize the vitamins and minerals and get them from food. A good analogy of this is to think about the difference between taking multivitamins and eating a balanced diet.
If you were able to get all of the nutrients – vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and everything else – from food, wouldn’t you want to eat every meal? Of course you would.
And you can take a vitamin supplement to ensure that you get all of the vitamins and minerals you need every day. So instead of wondering what are vitamins and minerals, maybe you should start paying more attention to the vitamins and minerals you’re eating.
Difference between Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins are in all foods, and they help to maintain the balance of various substances in the body like: blood sugar, cholesterol, proteins, carbohydrates, etc.
Most people think that vitamins only come in powder form and that is why they need to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in order to get enough vitamins in their diets.
Vitamins are important dietary ingredients that give strength to your immune system and provide you with energy.
Minerals are a different story. They cannot be manufactured or reproduced, so they must come from the earth’s crust. The minerals found in the soil are very different from the minerals found in the rocks.
As for the argument that vitamins are more essential than minerals, it is not actually true. Although both contain carbon, there are some differences between them that have nothing to do with their ability to produce the essential vitamins.
So what types of minerals are found on the earth’s surface? There are millions of different minerals available in nature like:
These minerals can also be synthesized in laboratories, which is why we need so many of them in modern diets.
However, one of the best sources of minerals is organic compounds such as those found in red blood cells, because these compounds contain carbon and thus are mineralized.
Type of Vitamins
Vitamins are needed to ensure the proper function of different body functions, such as reproduction, growth, maintenance of immunity, and detoxification.
A healthy liver is the most important organ that aids in the production and secretion of vitamins, especially when these are food sources. The liver has three main jobs: production of bile, synthesis of vitamin C and major fatty acids, and filtration of the blood.
These works together to make new tissues, process the existing ones, and eliminate toxins. A healthy liver produces a high amount of vitamin C, which is one of the major antioxidants, and bile, which makes the fat drop from your stool.
It is also important to note that there are different types of vitamins so that everyone’s nutritional needs are met such as:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- riboflavin (B2)
- niacin (B3)
- pyridoxine (B6)
- Cyanocobalamin (B12)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Biotin (B7)
- Folate (folic acid or B9)
Most vitamins and minerals can be obtained from fruits and vegetables, although the fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, B, C, etc.) must be obtained in rich quantities from animal products and processed foods.
There are also certain kinds of vitamins (like Pyridoxine, B-complex, folic acid, etc.) that cannot be found in foods. Vitamins should be taken at least once or twice daily, with the list including all the essential vitamins and minerals.
By having a daily intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, you help maintain good health. By choosing foods that contain enough of the minerals you are getting what you need.
By eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and oily fish, you ensure your body is getting what it needs. If you prefer vegetarian foods, make sure they have enough vitamins E.
The fat-soluble vitamins, including Vitamin A, B-complex, and E, are absorbed better by animal products than non-animal products, so make sure you choose foods containing vitamin B-complex.
Folic acid is easier to obtain in non-animal products, so make sure you include foods such as leafy green vegetables, whole-grain bread and cereal, eggs, beans, and lentils in your vitamin intake.
Type of Minerals
In order to achieve the desired and healthy minerals for the body and mind, you need to understand what these are and how they affect your health.
One important thing that should be taken into consideration is the list of minerals that are included in the drink that you are taking. If you drink a lot of mineral water, this can cause problems with the other minerals present in the liquid.
This means that it is recommended that you make sure that you are taking the required amount of minerals in your diet. One way of knowing whether the recommended amount is enough is by monitoring your response to different kinds of minerals. Several types of minerals are described below:
Some of the healthy minerals for the human body that you should include in your diet are magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals, as it helps in the functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as in metabolizing fats and proteins.
Potassium on the other hand is very essential for the proper function of the kidney, as it is responsible for absorbing different nutrients in the human body.
Calcium on the other hand is needed for the development of bones and teeth, while zinc which is found in the zinc mineral has been known to strengthen the immune system of the body and prevent the occurrence of several illnesses.
One of the main reasons why we have a weak immune system is due to the presence of an electrolyte imbalance in our body. When this occurs, the ability of our cells to absorb the minerals and vitamins from food diminishes, which can cause several diseases.
Two of the main electrolyte imbalance associated with the nervous system is hypophosphatemia and hyperphosphatemia. Hypophosphatemia refers to insufficient production of the steroid hormone; whereas hyperphosphatemia refers to the excessive production of this hormone. Examples of minerals that help to correct an electrolyte imbalance include magnesium and potassium.
Vitamins or Minerals- Which one should you take?
Most of us know what vitamins and minerals do, but have you ever stopped to consider what each one does for us?
It is the little things that can really make a difference in our lives, such as the vitamins we take to help with heart health, the minerals we take to help with anti-aging or other illnesses, or even the foods we eat and how much we exercise that contain these nutrients.
There are so many different kinds of vitamins and minerals out there, and just as many kinds of ways to take them that we need to make sure we are taking the right ones.
For example, those of us that have trouble digesting our food because of slow-moving stools may want to consider taking supplemental fiber to help move the food through our systems a lot faster.
If we need to avoid refined sugars, then add some natural unrefined sugars like stevia to sweeten our foods, or use a sugar substitute.
Taking multi-vitamins can be helpful for those of us who aren’t quite sure what all the vitamins and minerals mean or what they do, especially those of us who are prone to disease and illness.
Vitamins can also prevent certain diseases like cancer and heart disease, while minerals can make us stronger and healthier.
Since all types of vitamins and minerals are available, it can sometimes be difficult to know which one to take and how much to take.
We can find vitamin E capsules in drug stores and grocery stores, but we can also find those same vitamins and mineral bars at grocery stores, and even whole foods.
Often those of us who are on a tight budget can find the vitamin and mineral bars at a discount if we look hard enough, and even buy the bars in bulk to save money.
We can also buy organic foods that contain more vitamins and minerals than traditional non-organic foods, although we will probably pay more for them at first because we are paying more for the organic label.