Balanced diet and regular exercises are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. If you want to lead an active and happy life, and minimize the possibility of diseases, then you need to provide healthy food to your body regularly. Though vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy body and mind, an overdose may prove to be harmful for the body.
List of Vitamins
The four vitamins A, D, E, and K are 'fat-soluble vitamins', while eight types of vitamin B, and vitamin C are 'water-soluble vitamins'. Water-soluble vitamins need to be consumed regularly through diet. The body can store fat-soluble vitamins in the liver and fatty tissues, and uses them sparingly.
Vitamin A: Also known as retinol, it offers healthy eyes, shiny hair, and glowing skin. It is required to keep mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat, and lungs moist. Regular intake of vitamin A helps strengthen your immune system, and makes your teeth and bones strong. It helps in cell division, and is essential for gene expression. Dairy foods, fish, liver, spinach, carrot, pumpkin, etc. are some examples of foods that are rich in vitamin A.
Vitamin B1: It is also known as thiamine. All vitamins belonging to this group of vitamin B are necessary for cell metabolism. B-complex vitamins include vitamin supplements that provide all vitamins from B1 to B12. Scarcity of B1 causes beriberi. Doctors recommend regular consumption of whole grain products, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, pine nuts, lean pork, wheat germ, etc. to ensure sufficient supply of B1.
Vitamin B2: It is also known as riboflavin, and it governs the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat, and proteins. It also promotes healthy eyes, skin, hair, and nails. Eggs, milk, almonds, and many fortified cereals contain ample amounts of B2.
Vitamin B3: Also referred to as niacin or niacinamide, it enhances the function of brain and the nervous system. Deficiency of B3 causes pellagra. Beef, chicken, fish, liver, peanut butter, barley, rice bran, wheat bran, etc. are high in niacin.
Vitamin B5: It is also known as pantothenic acid. Scarcity of this vitamin may cause acne. Foods rich in B5 include egg yolk, legumes, yeast, whole grains, organ meats, etc. It is required to produce red blood cells and also for proper functioning of the nervous system.
Vitamin B6: It is also recognized as pyridoxine. Meats, bananas, walnuts, brown rice, whole grains, yeast, blackstrap molasses, and wheat germ are foods high in B6. Vitamin B6 governs the metabolism of amino acids and carbohydrates.
Vitamin B7: B7 is also called biotin. Scarcity of vitamin B7 may seriously affect the growth of children and can result in neurological disorders in infants.
Vitamin B9: Folic acid offers healthy development of the nervous system. Pregnant women should take sufficient folic acid in order to ensure that babies do not have any congenital defects. It is required to produce RNA, DNA, and red blood cells of the babies developing in the uterus.
Vitamin B12: Those who follow vegan diet are likely to develop vitamin B12 deficiency, as B12 cannot be obtained from plant sources. B12 enhances the production of red blood cells and is necessary for healthy nervous system.
Vitamin C: All citrus fruits, cabbage, chili peppers, papaya, kiwi, green leafy vegetables, berries, melons, broccoli, and rose hips are rich in vitamin C. It is required for strong gums and for proper absorption of iron. It is required for the production of collagen and also aids in tissue repair.
Vitamin D: Our body produces vitamin D with the help of sunlight which is absorbed through the skin. It is required for the development of strong bones and teeth, and it also promotes proper absorption of calcium. Vitamin D can be obtained from fortified dairy products and fish oil.
Vitamin E: It has antioxidant properties which protect cell membranes from damage. It is required for healthy skin and hair. Various nuts and oils such as peanut oil, sunflower seed oil, sunflower seeds, olive oil, almonds, and peanut butter contain ample vitamin E.
Vitamin K: It is required for fast wound healing as it aids in clotting of blood. It also promotes development of healthy skin. This vitamin is produced by friendly bacteria present in the intestine. Wheat bran, milk, oils like soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, and olive oil, liver, green leafy vegetables like turnip greens, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli are good sources of vitamin K.
List of Minerals
Calcium: Calcium is required for strong bones and teeth. It enhances the process of blood clotting and production of enzymes and helps stabilize blood pressure levels.
Iron: Iron is an important component of blood which plays an important role in transportation of oxygen to cells.
Iodine: Iodine is necessary for proper functioning of thyroid gland. It also helps in protein synthesis.
Copper: Copper is essential for proper functioning of red blood cells and brain as well.
Sodium: Sodium is required to maintain the balance of fluid and alkali levels in the body. It also enhances the function of nerves and muscles.
Potassium: Potassium also governs fluid levels and helps stabilize blood pressure and heart beats. It also regulates the nerve impulses.
Zinc: Zinc helps strengthen your immune system and promotes fast healing. It also promotes healthy hair, eyes, skin, and nails. It is required for proper sexual development, and also for DNA and protein synthesis.
Magnesium: It is required for the development of healthy muscles. It also enhances the function of nerves. It helps maintain calcium levels, and thus aids to maintain the bone density.
Phosphorus: It plays an important role in muscle and nerve function, and in the release of energy. It also strengthens your bones and teeth.
Apart from the aforementioned list, there exist several other vitamins like B4, B8, B10, B13 to B22, and other B vitamins, which are required by the body. Similarly, there are several other essential minerals like chlorine, selenium, molybdenum, along with essential elements like sulfur, cobalt, nickel, chromium, fluorine, boron, and others.