Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that are required by the human body to stay healthy.
Vitamins are of two types – fat soluble and water soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. They dissolve in fat and can be stored in the body. The water-soluble vitamins are C and the B complex vitamins (such as vitamins B6, B12, niacin, riboflavin, and folate). They dissolve in water and are absorbed by the body. So fresh supplies of vitamins are required every day.
Vitamins are organic substances made by plants or animals while minerals are inorganic elements that come from soil and water. Your body needs larger amounts of minerals like calcium, to grow and stay healthy. Other minerals like chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc are called trace minerals as you need only minimum quantity of them each day.
Vitamins and minerals boost the immune system, support normal growth and development. For example, take carrots. Carrots are good for your eyes. They are full of substances called carotenoids that, when consumed, get converted into vitamin A, thus preventing eye related problems. Vitamin K helps in blood clotting. It is abundant in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and soybeans.
Eating right during teen years is especially important as your body needs constant supply of variety of vitamins and minerals apart from carbohydrates, proteins, fats and calories to ensure healthy growth. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish and poultry also provide nutrients that your body needs. High calorie food like potato chips and butter cookies do not contain any essential nutrient and hence may be given least priority. To choose healthy foods, check food labels and pick items that are high in vitamins and minerals. For example, it is better to choose milk than soda.
Do consult your doctor before taking vitamin or mineral supplements as excessive consumption might create adverse results. Avoid taking vitamin pills, drinks and other supplements. Enjoy a hale and healthy life!