Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential for our bodies to function properly. They provide energy, help with mood, and keep our skin healthy. It is important to get enough of these nutrients in your diet or you can take a supplement. It is also important to make sure that you are getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet because too many or too few can have negative effects on your health.

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that are required in a healthy, balanced diet. There are 12 vitamins that the body needs to function properly, and many minerals which help to maintain optimal health. Both vitamins and minerals combine to perform hundreds of roles in the body.

Vitamins and minerals can be found in a variety of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products. Diets rich in vitamins and minerals promote growth, development, and normal body functioning.


The word ‘vitamin’ is a combination of Latin words ‘vita’ and ‘amine’, meaning life and nitrogen respectively. It was discovered by Casimir Funk in 1884, who found that this substance helps the growth and maintenance of the human body.

There are 12 vitamins that are essential for human nutrition, including vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, C, D, E and K. Vitamins are essential nutrients that we need in small amounts to help our bodies grow and function. They are found in food and can also be taken as supplements.

Vitamins act as a catalyst in the generation of energy by utilizing carbohydrates and fats properly. Humans cannot live without vitamins and the human body cannot produce it on its own (except vitamin D and Vitamin B3). So it should be taken in required quantities through other sources such as the food we take, vitamin capsules etc. Vitamins can be found in major foods like meat, leafy vegetables, fruits etc. Vitamin deficiency may cause some diseases and overdose also causes diseases.

Also read: Vitamins

Types of Vitamins

Vitamins are of two types:

  • Fat-soluble – which are dissolved in fat
  • Water-soluble – which are dissolved in water
NameSolubility Food SourcesDeficiency Diseases
Vitamin AFatGreen leafy vegetables, ripe yellow fruits, guava, milk, liver, nuts, tomatoes, oranges, carrots, broccoli, watermelon etc.Hyperkeratosis, night blindness, and keratomalacia
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)WaterFresh fruits, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, corn, cashew nuts, wheat, milk, black beans, dates etc.Beriberi
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)WaterBanana, dates, mushrooms, grapes, mangoes, peas, pumpkin, popcorn etc.Slow growth, sore eyes
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)WaterMeat, fish, eggs, milk products, cereals, mushroom, guava etc.Pellagra
Vitamin CWaterFresh fruits, black currant, broccoli, goat milk and chestnuts.Scurvy
Vitamin DFatFish, egg, liver, beef, cod, chicken breast etc.Rickets and Osteomalacia
Vitamin EFatPotatoes, pumpkin, guava, mango, milk, nuts, seeds etc.Heart problems, Haemolysis and sterility
Vitamin KFatTomatoes, broccoli, chestnuts, cashew nuts, beef, lamb, mangoes, grapes etc.Haemorrhage
Food sources and deficiencies of vitamins

Some of the most important vitamins include:

Vitamin B12: This vitamin helps keep the nervous system working well, and it is needed for making DNA.

Vitamin C: The main job of this vitamin is to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are chemicals that cause aging.

Vitamin D: This vitamin helps control the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the body, which helps keep bones strong. It has also been shown to be effective in helping to control high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, allergies, arthritis and insomnia.


Minerals are organic compounds found in nature, which help the human body grow. Minerals are essential for the human body to work properly. Deficiency of minerals leads to several disorders. There are 14 minerals that are necessary for the body, including calcium, chloride, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc.

Also read: Minerals

The major minerals necessary for body are:

CalciumBlackberries, dates, milk, egg, pomegranate, almonds, wheat, soybeans etc.Important for healthy bones, teeth and immune system
SodiumPassion fruit, onions, fresh fruits, sweet potato, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, eggs, milk etc.Helps in the regulation of blood pressure and blood volume. It also helps in the proper functioning of nerves and muscles
PotassiumDried fruits, beans, lentils, potatoes, spinach, broccoli, beet greens, avocado, bananas.Its main role in the body is to help maintain normal levels of fluid inside our cells. Sodium, its counterpart, maintains normal fluid levels outside of cells. Potassium also helps muscles to contract and supports normal blood pressure.
IodineSea foods, iodised salt, milk and foods that are grown in iodine-rich placesPromotes healthy hair, nails, skin and teeth. Also controls body weight and growth
IronRed meat, pork and poultry, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, peas and iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas.
Iron is a mineral that the body needs for growth and development. Body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles
PhosphorousPassion fruit, pomegranate, dates, beef, tuna, oats etc.Phosphorous along with calcium is necessary for the formation of bones, teeth etc.
Sources and functions of minerals


Both vitamins and minerals combine to perform hundreds of roles in the body. We need vitamins and minerals to maintain the health of our body.

Vitamins and minerals are essential for the maintenance of good health. They are needed for a number of bodily processes, such as the production of red blood cells, bone growth, and healthy skin.

Vitamins are organic substances, which means they’re made by plants or animals. Minerals are inorganic elements that come from 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.

Vitamins are organic compounds, found in natural foods which are required for normal growth and maintenance of the body. Both humans and animals require vitamins for their growth.

The human body cannot produce vitamins or minerals on its own, which is why they must be obtained through diet in order to maintain good health.