The ABC Of Health

Roselyn By Roselyn, 28th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Diet & Nutrition

Our body is a complex machine. To make it work properly, we need a steady supply of nutrients and minerals working together harmoniously to promote growth and good health.

How Vitamins And Minerals Works

Since not all nutrients can be produced by our body on its own, we need to gather other essential substances from food. Taking in daily doses of multivitamins and minerals through supplements also help compensate for the vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in our food supply. At their most basic, vitamins and minerals boost the immune system, support normal growth and development, and help cells and organs do their jobs.

Understanding The Vitamin Alphabet

Vitamins are chemical compounds that control the chemical reactions within the body. They convert food into energy and living tissue. They help the body to use the energy nutrients, maintain the normal body tissue and act as a regulator.
Vitamins fall into two categories: Fat soluble and Water soluble. The Fat soluble vitamins—A, D, E and K—dissolved in fat and can be stored in your body. The Water soluble vitamins—C and the B-complex vitamins (such as vitamins B6, B12, niacin, riboflavin, and folate) —need to dissolve in water before they can be absorbed.

Most Common Vitamins

Let’s take a look at some of the most common vitamins, their health benefits and sources:
VITAMIN A - promotes normal vision and helps you see in the dark; antioxidant, enhances immunity by stimulating the production and activity of white blood cells; regulates cell growth and division. Sources: carrots, squash, broccoli and green leafy vegetables.
VITAMIN B6 – helps the body make protein components and produce chemicals like insulin, hemoglobin and antibodies. Sources: animal meat, spinach, broccoli and bananas.
VITAMIN B12 – helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells, B12 also keep the brain healthy. Sources: found almost exclusively in animal products
FOLATE – helps produce and maintain new cells; works with vitamin B12 to form hemoglobin in red blood cells. Sources: grains such as fortified breakfast cereal and whole wheat products, meat and beans, vegetables, like asparagus and leafy greens, fruits like oranges, tomatoes, bananas and melons.
VITAMIN C – helps make collagen, the tissue needed to build and maintain bones, teeth, gums, and blood vessels; antioxidant. Sources: citrus fruits, broccoli, green peppers, strawberries.
VITAMIN D – maintains bone health and density by allowing the body to absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus. Sources: egg yolk and milk, exposure to sun enables the body to make its own vitamin D.
VITAMIN E – protects your cells against free radicals. A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E also enhances the immune function. Sources: vegetable oils such as corn oil and soybean oil, butter, brown rice, nuts and wheat germ.
VITAMIN B1 – helps produce energy from carbohydrates in body cells. Sources: pork, beef, corn, rice bread.
VITAMIN B2 – helps produce energy in body cells. Sources: milk, beef, eggs.
NIACIN – helps your body use sugars and fatty acids, assists enzymes in their normal function, and aids in the production of energy in all cells. Sources: protein-rich foods.
VITAMIN K – helps your body make protein for bones and kidneys and to make blood clot. Sources: green leafy vegetables, milk, dairy , meat, eggs, cereals and other vegetables.

Benefiting From Minerals

Our body needs larger amounts of some minerals, such as calcium, to grow and stay healthy. Other minerals like chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium and zinc are called trace minerals because our bodies only need very small amounts of these minerals each day. All minerals are fat-soluble.
Below are some minerals our body needs regular supply of:
CALCIUM – helps build and strengthen bones and teeth. It is also vital for muscle contraction, blood vessel contraction and expansion, hormone and enzyme secretion and for sending messages through the nervous system. Sources: dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt; canned salmon and sardines with bones, leafy green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, calcium-fortified foods like orange juice and cereals.
MAGNESIUM – helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, steadies heart rhythm, supports a healthy immune system and keeps strong bones. Sources: leafy vegetable, beef, tofu, cashews, wheat bran
IRON – necessary to transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body; essential for producing hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to muscles and the brain. Sources: meat, especially red meat such as beef, tuna and salmon, eggs, beens, baked potato with skins, dried fruits like raisins, leafy vegetables, whole and enriched grains like wheat or oats.
POTASSIUM – keeps our body working properly by regulating the amount of water in the blood and body tissues. Helps us stay strong by minimizing the loss of lean muscle tissue. Potassium also encourages the kidney to excrete sodium. Sources: vegetables like potatoes and leafy greens, fruits like banana and papaya.
ZINC – helps our immune system to fight body illnesses and infections. It also helps with cell growth and it helps to heal wounds. Sources: animal meat like beef, pork, lamb, legumes such as beans, peas, lentils and peanuts.

Results Of Taking Too Much Vitamins And Minerals

While vitamins and minerals are essential to good health, taking too much can cause a host of problems to the body such as kidney stones, liver and cardiovascular damage a or failure. Overdosing on health supplements is also possible. Our best bet for getting the vitamins and minerals our body needs is still to eat a wide variety of healthy foods instead of relying on vitamin pills. Make healthy eating a habit. We will feel better overall and lessen the risk of overdoing our vitamin and mineral intake.

Tags

Cardiovascular Damage, Complex Machine, Kidney Stone, Minerals, Nutrients, Vitamins

Meet the author

author avatar Roselyn
A college teacher and a retired banker. Happily married to a firefighter and presently taking care of our three beautiful daughters.

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Comments

author avatar jenny1015
28th Jul 2013 (#)

Hi, Roselyn! This is a great post. It is very informative. Looking forward to more of your interesting articles.

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author avatar Roselyn
28th Jul 2013 (#)

Thanks for your comment jenny1015

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author avatar Bipolar Blogger
29th Jul 2013 (#)

Your body might be a complex machine, my body is an old floppy mess!

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author avatar Roselyn
29th Jul 2013 (#)

And your body is gorgeous too. Thanks William!

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