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Know your vitamins, minerals better

Vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients because the body needs only tiny amounts of them, but to miss them can be disastrous, writes Shikha Sharma.

brunch Updated: Apr 05, 2014 20:04 IST
Shikha Sharma

Vitamins and minerals are often called micronutrients because the body needs only tiny amounts of them, but to miss even those small quantities is disastrous.


They are either water- or fat-soluble. Vitamin C and the B-complex are water soluble. Here’s what they do:

1. Release energy to improve digestion and metabolism.

2. Produce energy for many body functions.

3. Build proteins and cells. And also help cells multiply.

4.Make collagen, which knits together wounds, supports blood vessel walls, and forms a base for teeth and bones.

Get your B vitamins from green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, nuts, oats milk, legumes, fish, soya bean and eggs. For Vitamin C, eat more citrus fruits, tomatoes, spinach, potatoes, amla, berries, green and red peppers, and broccoli. K, D, E and A are fat soluble. They keep our eyes, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and nervous system working. They also perform these vital functions:

1.Build bones and protect vision.

2. Interact favourably with other nutrients. Without vitamin E, your body can’t absorb and store vitamin A.

Get your fat-soluble vitamins from chicken, whole milk and eggs, fish, tuna, avocados, nuts, whole grain and exposure to the morning sun.Minerals

The body needs, and stores fairly large amounts of the major minerals, which travel through the body in various ways. Potassium, for example, is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and is excreted by the kidneys, much like a water-soluble vitamin. Trace minerals carry out various tasks:

1.. Iron is best known for ferrying oxygen through the body.

2. Fluoride builds bones and wards off tooth decay. Zinc helps blood clot and helps your sense of taste and smell.

4. Copper helps form many enzymes.

Get your dose of minerals from wholegrains, soy milk, almonds, walnuts, beans, peas and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach. Food is the best source of vitamins and minerals. But if you take supplements, don’t exceed safe levels.

From HT Brunch, April 6

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