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Do we need extra Vitamins and Minerals?

November 24th, 2014 | by Events Staff
Do we need extra Vitamins and Minerals?

How many of us take vitamins and minerals in tablet form on a daily basis? I certainly do. But do we really need them?

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients our body needs in small amounts to work properly. Most of us should get all the nutrients we need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you choose to take vitamin and mineral supplements, be aware that taking too many or taking them for too long can cause harmful effects.


What are vitamins?

There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble.


Fat-soluble vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are found mainly in fatty foods such as animal fats, including butter and lard, vegetable oils, dairy foods, liver and oily fish. While your body needs these vitamins every day to work properly, you do not need to eat foods containing them every day. This is because your body stores these vitamins in your liver and fatty tissues for future use. These stores can build up so they are there when you need them. However, if you have much more than you need, fat-soluble vitamins can be harmful.

Fat-soluble vitamins are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K


Water-soluble vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, so you need to have them more frequently. If you have more than you need, your body gets rid of the extra vitamins when you urinate. As the body does not store water-soluble vitamins, these vitamins are generally not harmful. However, this does not mean that all large amounts are necessarily harmless.

Water-soluble vitamins are found in fruit, vegetables and grains. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, they can be destroyed by heat or by being exposed to the air. They can also be lost in water used for cooking. This means that by cooking foods, especially boiling them, we lose many of these vitamins. The best way to keep as many of the water-soluble vitamins as possible is to steam or grill foods, rather than boil them.

Water-soluble vitamins are:

  • Vitamin C
  • B Vitamins
  • Folic Acid


What are minerals?

  • Minerals are necessary for three main reasons:
  • Building strong bones and teeth
  • Controlling body fluids inside and outside cells
  • Turning the food you eat into energy

Minerals are found in foods such as meat, cereals (including cereal products such as bread), fish, milk and dairy foods, vegetables, fruit (especially dried fruit) and nuts.

Essential minerals include calcium and iron, although there are also many other types of minerals that are an important part of a healthy diet.


So my top tips this week:

  • If you have a balanced diet you do not need to take extra vitamins or minerals
  • If you don’t have a balanced diet make sure you do not take too many vitamins – they can be harmful
  • Steam your vegetables. Lots of vitamins are lost when they are booked
  • Grill your meat or fish to ensure you keep as many of the vitamins and minerals as possible.

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