Vitamins and Minerals: What You Should Know

Vitamins and minerals are necessary for healthy growth. They make the body strong and able to fight diseases. Vitamins and minerals come from the foods we eat.

Vitamins

Vitamins are organic substance. There are two vitamin categories: fat soluble and water soluble.

Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K. They dissolve in fat and can be stored in the body.

Water-soluble vitamins are vitamins C and B-complex. They have to dissolve in water before they can be absorbed by the body. This is why the body can’t store water-soluble vitamins.  C or B vitamins that the body does not use as it goes through the system are lost. They need to be supplied daily.

Minerals

Minerals are inorganic substances that come from the soil and water. They are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals. The human body needs large amount of some minerals like calcium, to grow strong and healthy. Other minerals like chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc are called trace minerals because we need very little of them each day.

What vitamins and minerals do

Vitamins and minerals encourage normal growth and development, help cells and organs function, plus they also strengthen the immune system.

For instance, vitamin C boosts the immune system which keeps you from catching certain diseases. Calcium on the other hand is needed by the bones for them to grow strong and be able to support your growth. At a young age, calcium is also being stored in the bone bank, which, in the future can help prevent osteoporosis.

Fuel for growth

As teenagers, you’re in for a lot of physical changes. Eating right and getting the necessary nutrients is important at this time because for you to have healthy normal development.

The best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need every day is to eat a variety of foods – complete and balance meal consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and calories. Unprocessed foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, and poultry are your best bet to provide you with the vitamins and minerals your body needs to grow healthy.

Tips for getting enough nutrients

It’s okay to eat junk foods, but limit your intake of them.

Check labels when choosing healthy foods. Be informed about which foods contain the most nutrients so you will make good choices.

Healthy does not mean tasteless. There are a lot of delicious healthy foods out there. Check out yummy and healthy recipes to satisfy your taste buds while getting all the nutrients you need.

If you are a vegetarian, make sure you get the nutrients you need that are mostly found in meat such as vitamin B12, zinc and iron. Meat substitutes include seeds, nuts, and green leafy veggies. Vitamin B12 on can’t be found in plant foods. Vitamin B12 is necessary in creating red blood cells. Non-meat vitamin B12 sources include eggs, meat and other dairy foods.

Before taking supplements, consult with your doctor first. Some fat-soluble vitamins or minerals, which gets stored in the body and expelled more slowly, can build up in your system to levels where they could cause health problems. If you do take vitamins, make sure you get no more than the 100% recommended dietary allowance.