Vitamins and minerals are also known as micronutrients, and that’s for a good reason. Your body needs them, but in much smaller amounts than protein, carbohydrates and fat. While vitamins and minerals don’t provide vital energy, their role is to unlock the energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates.
So, when it comes to the question: do minerals provide energy? The answer is yes and no. They don’t directly contain energy, but they are vital to releasing energy in other foods.
There are 13 essential vitamins, namely A, C, D, E, K, and 8 B vitamins. Vitamins fulfill various roles in your body such as maintaining the health of your skin, bones, hair and eyes, delaying the onset of premature aging signs by protecting your cells from aging, supporting reproduction and growth, as well as regulating blood clotting.
You can take most of these vitamins from various foods such as grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat and beans. By properly balancing your nutrition to eat foods from all these groups, you’ll benefit from a vitamin-rich diet.
There are 16 essential minerals: calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, copper, iodine, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chloride, manganese, molybdenum, chromium, and fluoride. Minerals play essential roles in maintaining blood pressure, bodily fluids balance, bone health, the regeneration of cells, as well as in the normal functioning of the nerves and muscles.
Different minerals are found in different foods. By eating a balanced diet with foods from all the five main groups, you can secure the mineral supply required for your body to function properly.
Calcium and iron are arguably the most important minerals. Unfortunately, there are many Americans who don’t eat enough calcium or iron. Calcium is essential for the formation of bones and teeth throughout childhood and adolescence, until the adult age.
Calcium is also important during your adult life, as it contributes to maintaining a healthy bone density, thus preventing osteoporosis, a medical condition that makes your bones fragile and prone to breaking very often. The milk and dairy group of foods contains the highest amount of calcium.
Milk, cheese and yogurt are only a few examples of foods you should eat to get your needed calcium dose. Some foods are fortified with calcium during the production process. Like this, you can find on the market calcium-fortified cereals and juices. Tofu, legumes and greens also contain calcium, but in smaller amounts.
Iron is very important for the health of the red blood cells and for the myoglobin in muscle cells. Thus, iron contributes to carrying oxygen from the lungs to the other organs and to all cells throughout the entire body.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common problems of our modern world and it generates fatigue, weakness, anemia and an unhealthy color of the skin and of the limbs. Breads and cereals are sometimes enriched with iron, in order to help people get the right intake from foods. If you want to eat more iron, consider drinking orange juice and eating tomatoes.