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Vitamins and Minerals

Biology | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Interactive

You all have heard your moms say ‘Do not forget to take your vitamins and minerals. They are important for your health’. Yes, vitamins and minerals make your bodies work properly. Everyday your body produces blood to carry nutrients to all parts, make your nerve system work properly, your brain to function properly. All this requires raw materials- provided in the form of vitamins and minerals.

What do Vitamins and Minerals do for the body?

They boost the immune system by helping the body battle infections, heal wounds, convert food into energy, repair cellular damage, keep deficiencies away and help develop bones, muscles, skin and organs.

What are Vitamins?

Vitamins are organic substances made by plants and animals. There are two types of vitamins– fat soluble and water soluble. Fat soluble are found in fatty foods and animal products like eggs, vegetable oils, milk and dairy. Vitamin A, D, E and K are fat soluble. You don’t need them every day as they are high in fat content and are stored in the body for long.

Water soluble found in fruits, vegetables, grains are not stored in the body; so much of this is needed. This vitamin content are easily reduced or destroyed by cooking or boiling. Vitamin C, B and folic acid are water soluble.

What are Minerals?

Minerals are required for building strong bones, teeth; controlling body fluids and turning the food we eat into energy. Essential minerals are calcium and iron. Though there are many other minerals like zinc, potassium etc. Minerals are found in meat, cereals, fish, milk, vegetables and dry fruits.

What is the difference between Vitamins and Minerals?

  • The basic difference between vitamins and minerals is that vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, air or acid.
  • Minerals on the other hand are inorganic and cannot be broken easily as they hold on to their organic structure.
  • You can get vitamins directly from eating plants and meat of certain animals. You can get minerals from plants and water directly.
  • This means that the minerals found in soil and water can be easily absorbed in our body through the plants, fish, animals or fluids we consume. But it is tough to get vitamins from food and other sources because processes like cooking, storage or exposure to air can make these vitamins inactive.