Saturday, March 23, 2013

Healthy power-packed vitamins

For our body to function properly and grow well we need many things. Among them vitamins and minerals play a significant role. Let us find out today what they are, where we get them and the benefit of some of the important ones.

Vitamins are organic substances that are manufactured by plants and animals within their bodies.
Minerals are inorganic substances that are found abundantly in nature. We humans get these various minerals from the plants which absorb them from natural elements like soil and water.
Can you think of some vitamins and minerals that are important for the growth of our bodies?

I am sure you must have come up with a long list of vitamins such as A, B, C, D and K. Amongst the minerals were you able to think of sodium, calcium and iron?

The most wonderful thing about vitamins and minerals is that they are available in all the foods we eat. Be it curd, eggs, spinach, green peas, carrots, rice, vitamins and minerals are present everywhere. It is not that one food product may contain one kind of vitamin or a specific mineral, but various foods have different minerals and vitamins present in them in varying quantities. We just need to ensure that we consume a balanced diet.

Now let us take a look at some important vitamins and minerals and how they help our bodies.

Vitamin A: It is important for good skin, healthy bones and teeth and immunity. The most important task that vitamin A or retinol has is to support vision. Its deficiency may lead to night blindness, so you must include lots of green and leafy veggies in your diet to ensure that your body gets plenty of vit A. Good sources of this vitamin are carrots, cod liver oil, milk products, yellow fruit like banana, spinach and other leafy, green vegetables.

Vitamin B: A whole group falls under vitamin B. This family includes important members like vit B2, B3,B5, B6 and B12. They are found in a wide variety of foods like fish, banana, cheese, poultry products, whole grains like rice and cereals. Their deficiency may lead to weak nails, skin inflammation and fatigue. Vitamin B12 deserves a special mention as it helps in the formation of red blood cells and nerves. Hence lack of this one may lead to anaemia.

Vitamin C: Also called ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is important for the immune system, protection from various bacteria and viruses, healing wounds, reducing cholesterol and for the lifespan of our cells. The deficiency of this vitamin leads to scurvy, a condition with bleeding gums, bleeding under the skin and unnatural tiredness along with muscle and joint pains. Vitamin C is found in tomatoes, berries, citrus fruits like oranges, and in peppers.

Vitamin D: The sun vitamin, Vitamin D, is manufactured by our bodies with the help of sunlight. young children who are not exposed to the healthy rays of the sun are in danger of suffering from rickets. It is a very important vitamin for the health of teeth and bones. It can also be derived from cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, tuna, milk and various milk products.

Vitamin E: This is an anti oxidant which helps to keep the skin healthy and glowing. It aids in cell growth and is important for the health of red blood cells. It is found in vegetable oils, nuts, wheat germ and whole grains.

Vitamin K: This vitamin is essential for blood clotting, otherwise one may die of extensive bleeding even after a small nick. Vitamin K is derived from green and leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbage, broccoli and sprouts among others.

(You can read the article in The  New Indian Express here:

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