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Vitamins and minerals perform an extraordinary range of functions in the human body to assist in the maintenance of our health. Vitamins not only help convert food into useable energy, but they also assist in the manufacture of blood cells, hormones, and the chemicals of the nervous system. They are divided into two categories, which are water-soluble and fatsoluble. The four fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K, are absorbed into body fat and may be stored for later use. Vitamin C and the eight B vitamins are all water-soluble meaning that they dissolve in body fluid, and most of the excess is eliminated through sweat or urine.

Minerals play a part in the maintenance of immune cells, in blood coagulation, in the synthesis of oxygen in the blood, in bone formation, and in numerous other functions. Each vitamin and mineral has a specific function or meets specific body needs. The table below lists some of the important vitamins and minerals and describes their function and sources.

MineralsHealth BenefitsMineral Source
CalciumImportant for strong bones and teeth.
Helps in blood clotting, regulating blood
pressure and enzyme production.
Dairy, Tofu, Fortified Soy Milk, Sardines
consumed with Bones
IronImportant component of hemoglobin,
enabling red blood cells to carry oxygen
throughout the body.
Fortified Cereals, Spinach and other Green
Leafy Vegetables, Red Meat, Dried Fruits
MagnesiumWorks with sodium and phosphorus to
enable healthy muscle and nerve
function. Regulates calcium levels in the
body, and helps it to maintain the bone
Yogurt, Eggs, Artichoke, Okra, Dates, Rolled
Oats, Wheat Germ, Nuts, Seeds, Wheat Bran
PotassiumIn combination with sodium, regulates
the fluid levels in the body, blood
pressure, heartbeat and nerve impulses.
Spinach, Potato, Sweet Potato, Mango,
Grapes, Banana, Litchi, Watermelon, Dates,
Grapefruit, Bamboo Shoots, French Beans,
Pumpkin, Beef, Milk, Pork, Salmon, Chicken,
Sardines, Yogurt
SodiumAlong with Potassium, regulates fluid
and alkali levels in the body. Also
enables healthy nerve and muscle
Table Salt, Seafood, Cheese, Eggs, Beetroot,
Artichokes, Beef, Yogurt, Soy Milk
PhosphorusHelps in teeth and bone building and
maintenance. Also enables healthy
muscle and nerve function, and allows
for energy release.
Dairy, Fish, Meat, Nuts, Seeds, Wheat Bran
ZincStrengthens immunity and the healing
process. Useful for healthy skin, nails,
eyes, growth and sexual development,
DNA and protein synthesis, and enzyme
Avocado, Dates, Pomegranate, Raspberries,
Asparagus, Corn, Peas, Potatoes, Okra, Lima
Beans, Cashews, Oats, Rye, Wheat, Beef,
Lamb, Turkey, Pork
CopperEssential for healthy function of red
blood cells and brain. Allows connective
tissue synthesis.
Seafood, Sesame Seeds, Liver, Nuts
IodineImportant for thyroid hormone
regulation. Promotes growth and protein
Seafood, Iodized Salt
VitaminsHealth BenefitsVitamin Source
Vitamin AUseful for healthy eyes. Also benefits hair and
skin. Strengthens the immune system. Helps in
maintaining mucous membranes.
Carrots, Pumpkin, Spinach,
Chillies, Sweet Potato, Mangoes,
Dairy, Liver
Vitamin B1
Helps the body make optimum use of
carbohydrates. Aids proper heart function, the
nervous system, and enables good coordination
of muscles.
Whole Grain Products, Sunflower
Seeds, Oatmeal, Pine Nuts, Other
Nuts, Lean Pork and other Meat
forms, Wheat Germ
Vitamin B2
Regulates metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and
proteins. Also beneficial for eyes, and healthy
growth of hair, nails and skin.
Fortified Breakfast Cereals, Eggs,
Milk, Almonds
Vitamin B3
Regulates metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and
proteins. Aids normal brain function and
maintains healthy nervous system.
Beef, Chicken, Tuna, Liver,
Peanut Butter, Barley, Rice Bran,
Wheat Bran, Rice
Vitamin B5
Regulates metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and
proteins, and makes fatty acids and cholesterol.
Egg Yolk, Legumes, Brewer's
Yeast, Whole Grains, Organ
Vitamin B6
Regulates the metabolism of amino acids and
carbohydrates. Aids healthy nervous system
function, and in the production of red blood
Bananas, Brewer's Yeast, Wheat
Bran, Mackerel, Walnuts, Brown
Rice, Sunflower Seeds, Liver,
Salmon, Tuna, Meat
Vitamin B12
Essential for DNA synthesis. Aids healthy
nervous system function, and helps in production
of red blood cells.
Mussels, Oyster, Oily Fish, Crab,
Beef, Liver, Offal, Egg
FolateCombined with vitamin B12, it protects and
develops the nervous system, and helps in the
production of RNA and DNA. It produces red
blood cells for babies in the uterus.
Lentils, Chickpeas, Kidney
Beans, Green Leafy Vegetables,
Nuts, Oat Bran, Liver, Brewer's
Vitamin CHelps in collagen production. Also important for
healthy gums, bones, cartilage and blood vessels.
Strengthens immune system, aids in tissue
repair, and in absorbing iron for the body.
Citrus Fruits, Guava, Papaya,
Kiwi, Green Leafy Vegetables,
Broccoli, Capsicum, Red Chillies
Vitamin DEssential to absorb calcium and phosphorus to
promote healthy bones and teeth.
Dairy, Herrings, Tuna, Fish Oils,
Egg Yolk, Sunflower Seeds,
Sardines, Sunlight
Vitamin EContains antioxidant properties. Helps in healing
of the skin and prevents scarring. It keeps the red
blood cells healthy, and protects cell membranes.
Safflower Oil, Peanut Oil, Peanut
Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil,
Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Olive
Vitamin KEnables blood clotting in case of excessive
Wheat Bran, Milk, Liver, Green
Leafy Vegetables
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