Welcome to Healthy Ayurveda, and welcome to our first blog post! We all know that vitamins and minerals are important, but why? Sometimes knowing isn’t enough for us to do something or to take something, like taking the right vitamins and minerals. In this article we will explore why vitamins and minerals are important, where to get them, and what Ayurveda says about it.
What is vitamins and minerals?
Vitamins and minerals make people’s bodies work properly. Although you get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat every day, some foods have more vitamins and minerals than others.
Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential in very small amounts for supporting normal physiologic function. We need vitamins in our diets, because our bodies can’t synthesize them quickly enough to meet our daily needs.
Vitamins have three characteristics:
· They’re natural components of foods; usually present in very small amounts.
· They’re essential for normal physiologic function (e.g., growth, reproduction, etc).
· When absent from the diet, they will cause a specific deficiency.
Vitamins are generally categorized as either fat soluble or water soluble depending on whether they dissolve best in either lipids or water.
Whereas vitamins are organic substances (made by plants or animals), minerals are inorganic elements that come from the soil and water and are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals. Your body needs larger amounts of some minerals, such as calcium, to grow and stay healthy. Other minerals like chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc are called trace minerals because you only need very small amounts of them each day.
Why vitamins and minerals are essential for good health?
Vitamins and minerals are collectively known as micronutrients. They are essential nutrients which our bodies need in small amounts to function properly. They are required for nearly all metabolic and developmental processes. Each micronutrient supports specific functions in the body. For example, iron plays a key role in sending oxygen from the lungs to other tissues, vitamin A supports eyesight and a healthy skin, vitamin C protects our bodies against oxidative stress, while vitamin B is needed to help our bodies convert the food we eat into usable energy.
An insufficient daily intake of micronutrients may lead to a deficiency over time.
Before symptoms appear, ‘hidden hunger’ exists, meaning that while direct signs and symptoms of deficiency are not immediate evident, health problems may occur in the short or long term. A suboptimal intake of micronutrients may even contribute to the development of chronic diseases. Therefore, an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals is therefore of key importance for our health.
Get Vitamins and Minerals from food not through synthetic or supplements
In an age of once-daily multivitamins and aisles upon aisles of supplements, it’s never been more convenient to tailor your personal vitamins and minerals needs at your local grocery store. However, it’s important to remember these are called “supplements” for a reason. Good health still needs to begin with food, not pills and capsules. Some people think that if they just take a multivitamin every day, then they can have chips and soda or whatever. But, actually, the best way to get your vitamins and nutrients is through a healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and healthy fats still represent the foundation of a wholesome diet. And the broader the variety in your cart, the better.
But if supplements contain the same vitamins and minerals as food, why is loading up on spinach, apples and almonds still the superior option? Supplements are specific extracts of nutritional components to a healthy diet. When you’re eating natural foods, there’s a lot more nutritional punch in the food that the supplement doesn’t contain.
Experts suggest that food offers three primary benefits over supplements:
· Greater nutrition from the complexity of foods.
· Essential fiber to manage constipation and help prevent certain diseases.
· Protective substances such as phytochemicals that occur naturally and can help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes and others. Many natural foods are also high in antioxidants.
In our 2nd blog post we will be talking about where to get the natural vitamins and minerals we need.