By Amit MehtaHealth & Wellness

Why vitamins, minerals and nutrients are important?

From the time you were able to understand, you have been told that vitamins are good for you. Without the benefit of vitamins, you would not be able to live up to your full potential, physically and mentally.

Vitamins are classified as fat-soluble or water-soluble, referring to where they are stored in the body. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K and are stored for up to six months in your various fat stores. Water-soluble vitamins circulate through your blood and include the B vitamins namely B-6, B-12, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin and folate and vitamin C. Your body doesn’t store water-soluble vitamins, so you must replenish them regularly.

Just like vitamins, minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many different functions from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat. They are needed only in small amounts and often get overlooked. The human body needs several minerals, and these are termed as “essential minerals”. Typically, essential minerals are classified into major minerals (macro-minerals) and trace minerals (micro-minerals). These two forms of minerals are highly important however, trace minerals are required in smaller quantities than major minerals. A perfect diet is usually filled with all the essential minerals. Major minerals include sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, etc. Trace minerals comprise iron, zinc, iodine, manganese, selenium, copper, etc.

The key is to know what essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients to look out for, to carefully assess your diet, and to consider how your lifestyle and long-term health goals come into play.

Let us take a look at the importance of a few of these vitamins and minerals:

Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid, and is a water-soluble vitamin. A deficiency in this vitamin can have serious consequences and if it is not catered to immediately it can be fatal. How many times did your parents tell you, “Drink your orange juice; you need to get more vitamin C?”. It is the most powerful vitamin available to mankind for consumption. The  health benefits include preventing and treating common cold, preventing scurvy, negating hypertension, healing cataracts, preventing cancer, promoting good mood, slowing down ageing process, supporting healthy cardiovascular system, lowering cholesterol level, boosting the immune system and keeping the body safe from seasonal and food allergies. Vitamin C is not stored by the body hence a regular intake is recommended, this can be replenished by eating vitamin C rich foods like oranges, tomato, red pepper, lemon, broccoli, acerola cherries, papaya, and pineapple or simply taking a supplement. You can try our Acerola-C™, derived from Organic Freeze Dried Acerola Berries.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods. It is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak. Vitamin B12 is part of the Vitamin B complex. Vitamin B12 is usually found in various animal products such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. It isn’t generally present in vegetables and fruits, which makes it difficult for vegetarians and vegans to attain it. B12 deficiency affects the neurological, immunological, vascular etc systems in your body. The good news is, there are vegan vitamin B12 supplements available, like our B12-veg and B12+D3.

Vitamin D has a unique functioning system as compared to other vitamins. In fact, it functions more like a hormone, impacting metabolic pathways, cellular functions, and the expression of myriad genes. The vitamin is commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin”. Vitamin D supplements maybe in the form of D2 (ergocalciferol) or D3 (cholecalciferol). Among the two chemically distinct forms of vitamin D, vitamin D3 is proven to be more potent as compared with vitamin D2. Unfortunately, not many foods contain vitamin D; the main ingredient your body needs to produce it is the sun. So what happens when your sunshine is taken away? You become vitamin D deficient, which you can combat by taking a vitamin D3 supplement like D-veg.

When it comes to fat, there’s one type you don’t want to cut back on, omega-3 fatty acids.  The three major omega-3 fatty acids are Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include fish, walnuts, spinach, flaxseed oil, and canola oil. Omega-3 may reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death. It may also improve one’s blood lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) levels and decrease the risk of coronary heart disease. Maintaining healthy omega-3 is vital for the normal development and functionality of the brain, eyes, and heart. For daily intake of omega-3 DHA, you can opt for a vegan supplement like our Ovegha supplements.

Calcium forms 2% of the total body weight in an adult. It is found in the bones and teeth in high volumes. The bone is a dynamic and active organ with a complex structure. It contains, among other components, live tissue, nerves, blood vessels, marrow and collagen. Bones play many fundamental roles in your body provide structure, protect organs, anchor your muscles, store minerals and produce red and white blood cells. Finally, when we get older, our bones tend to get porous and weak, thereby requiring ample calcium intake. Calcium deficiency conditions are continuously rising, particularly in women who are on low-calorie diets; therefore, confronted with the threat of osteoporosis. Thus, it is extremely important to consume enough calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K2 throughout your life be it through our diet or by supplementing with a holistic formulated calcium supplement like CalDveg.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body found in every human cell. The concentration of magnesium is distributed between muscles, tissues, extracellular fluids, and the skeleton. Magnesium helps intervention in enzyme reactions, regulating heartbeat rhythms and membrane functions. Yet, deficiency is magnesium is largely overlooked. Thus, magnesium supplements are underutilized. Deficiency in magnesium can translate in noticeable symptoms including, poor digestion, muscle aches or spasms, anxiety and sleep disorders. Magnesium is abundant in nature and found in dietary sources. The highest concentrations of magnesium are found in whole seeds like peanuts, beans & legumes, unmilled whole grains, and green vegetables like spinach and kale. However, if you feel that your daily requirement of magnesium is not met through your diet, you can check out Unived’s Magnesium Citrate.

Zinc is an essential trace element which the body requires on a daily basis. Zinc is indispensable for the body’s everyday functions like hormone production, immunity, digestion, and growth and repair. It can even act as an inflammatory, which can be beneficial for chronic diseases like heart disease. In spite of zinc being an essential component to our body, zinc deficiency is common. The highest levels of zinc are found in foods high in protein. Plant-based rich sources of zinc are grains, beans & legumes, raw cacao, nuts & seeds, nutritional yeast, and oats. Keep in mind when consuming grains, beans and legumes, as these also contain phytates which block zinc absorption. Thus, it is necessary to soak these before cooking and consuming them. If you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you may want to supplement with a Zinc supplement like ours.

The best way to ensure that you are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals into your body is by having a well balanced diet high in vegetables, grains, fats, and fruits. Without adequate vitamin and mineral intake, you may start to feel lethargic, be vulnerable to infection and develop other serious complications that can endanger your health and life. With the busy lives that we live now a days, our diet may not be enough to suffice our body’s vitamin and mineral needs. Hence, supplementing with quality, scientific, and vegan supplements can help you meet your daily vitamin and mineral requirements. Remember that supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet. They complement your diet and help you fight deficiencies.

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