Good health relies on maintaining enough vitamins and minerals in our body.
They are essential for growth and to prevent and treat disease.
How Do We Get Enough Vitamins and Minerals?
Vitamins and minerals are contained in almost everything we eat and we mostly rely on foods to ensure we obtain the full range.
Even meat from an animal that has previously eaten plants will contain various minerals.
Most people are familiar with seeing rows upon rows of vitamin and mineral supplements in stores and supermarkets.
Our ‘supplement culture’ often makes us feel that we really are lacking in various vitamins and minerals for good health and so need to ‘top up’ with extra supplements.
The reality however, is that by following a simple and well balanced diet, we can obtain more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for every essential vitamin and mineral our body needs.
A vitamin deficiency can lead to a number of health problems.
The elderly, expectant or pregnant mothers, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking or certain medical conditions, will benefit from taking vitamin supplements.
The good news is that vitamin deficiencies in the western world are very rare due to an adequate and varied food supply.
Scientists and nutrition experts are now focused on how vitamins can promote health, prevent disease, treat infection and slow down the ageing process.
However, I believe most of us are unaware of what vitamins and minerals we actually need for optimal health.
Also, how many there are? Where we can obtain them from natural foods? How much we need on a daily or weekly basis?
There are 13 essential vitamins that we need to maintain for optimal health.
They are divided into 2 types – water soluble or fat soluble, based on how they are absorbed by the body.
Water soluble vitamins are Vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins.
Fat soluble vitamins include Vitamins A,D,E and K
1. Vitamin A
4. Niacin (part of the B-complex vitamins)
5. Pantothenic Acid (part of the B-complex vitamins)
6. Vitamin B6
7. Vitamin B12
8. Biotin (part of the B-complex vitamins)
9. Folate (part of the B-complex vitamins. Also known as Folacin or Folic Acid)
10. Vitamin C
11. Vitamin D
12. Vitamin E
13. Vitamin K
The body needs only tiny quantities of minerals and the are divided between macrominerals and microminerals.
The amount you need of each is determined as a percentage of your total body weight.