Vitamins and minerals

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, vitamins and minerals are essential for promoting good health in the body. The body can produce some but requires others from diet or other external sources such as sunlight on the skin. It is possible to get the right amount of vitamins and minerals from your diet. Vitamin D is made using sunlight on the skin and about five minutes of exposure on your hands and face provide you with 100% of your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Niacin can be produced using amino acids. Required for many processes within the body, it is essential to get a comprehensive selection of these vitamins and minerals to ensure you stay healthy for longer.

Malnutrition occurs when nutrients are not absorbed by the body properly. This can be due to a poor diet of medical condition such as malabsorption. A lack of vitamins and minerals in the right quantities can lead to a deficiency disease. examples of these include scurvy (lack of vitamin C) and anaemia (lack or iron).

Nutrients can be split into two groups which are vitamins (complex organic substances) and minerals (complex inorganic substances). Vitamins can also be divided into two man categories, fat soluble and water soluble. Fat soluble compounds, such as vitamin A are stored within the body and an excess can be toxic. Water soluble compounds, such as vitamin C are not stored and can be taken in larger quantities without serious risk.

Originally characterised by letters (A,B,C and so on), they are now clarified via their chemical names. Free radicals are a danger to the body. They are created through exercise, pollution and cigarette smoke. Antioxidants are used by the body to combat these risks. By removing free radicals prior to them damaging cells, antioxidants can reduce the risk of developing diseases such as certain cancers. Minerals are required for bodily processes such as in the formation of bones and teeth and are essential components of nerve functions, enzymes and are essential constituents of body fluids and tissues. Some are required in larger quantities than others. For example, zinc is used to help support a healthy immune system and chromium helps to regulate the metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Trace minerals are only required in very small quantities but still remain vital to the body.

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