Vitamins and Minerals: Why are they so important?




There is a very significant trend that reflects the concern of people, especially those who practice sports or physical exercise, for the sufficient and adequate supply of nutrients.

Although this concern for health and correct nutrition is positive, it can be seen how it focuses almost exclusively on a small group of nutrients, macronutrients or “macros”, but to a lesser extent micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are taken into account.

The body needs more macronutrients (grams) than micronutrients to function properly.
Generally, this category includes water, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Micronutrients include minerals and vitamins. Unlike macronutrients, the body requires them in very small amounts.

Vitamins and minerals are necessary for a large number of metabolic reactions such as growth, antioxidant action, nerve and muscle function, among others. 

Micronutrients are substances that do not provide energy but are essential for the proper functioning of our body.

Situations (energy deficit or poorly varied diet) may require supplementation. Vitamin and mineral supplements should not be replaced by a varied, balanced and sufficient diet.

Taking vitamin and mineral supplements has not been shown to improve sports performance, except in cases where there is already a deficit.

Its use could be advised in special cases, such as prolonged restrictive diets, food intolerances or even in highly competitive athletes. Sometimes they are necessary, since the needs can be increased in athletes and they can also be an aid in the prevention of injuries.

Therefore, it is recommended that supplementation be personalized and regulated and supervised by a specialist.

Fundamental Micronutrients: Vitamins and Minerals


We are going to talk about vitamins and minerals, their importance and, above all, the functions that they perform in our body and that help us to stay in optimal condition. We start.

 MINERALS

Minerals are a group of nutrients that we must provide through the diet. These have important regulatory functions in our body and are part of the structure of our tissues. 

Minerals are part of the bones and teeth, they control the composition of cellular fluids and are part of enzymes and hormones, essential molecules for life.

Some of the minerals must be supplied in greater quantities than others, but all have vital functions.


Calcium.
Maintenance of bone tissue Growth Maintenance of neuromuscular activity Regulation of blood coagulation Muscle contraction.

Iron.
Blood oxygen transport Synthesis of hormones and connective tissue

Magnesium.
Enzymatic processes Neuromuscular activity Metabolism of carbohydrates

Iodine.
Hormonal constituent Regulation of growth and development

Zinc.
Enzymatic component Growth regulation Maintenance of sense of taste Healing process

Sodium.
Nerve transmission Muscle contraction Regulation of hydro-electrolytic and acid-base balance

Potassium.
The functioning of the body's cells Complementary action to sodium

Match.
Regulation of mineralization Cellular constituent and genetic material Activation of enzymes and vitamins Energy metabolism

Selenium.
Antioxidant action

VITAMINS


The human being needs 13 vitamins to maintain their state of health. The deficiency of an isolated vitamin is infrequent, and that of one or several vitamins can be part of severe malnutrition. Certain vitamins can be synthesized by the body, but the dietary contribution of all vitamins is essential for the maintenance of health.

Vitamins are a group of nutrients with infinite functions in the body, such as the transformation of food into energy and body structures, enzymatic regulation of metabolism, among others.

B1 (thiamine)
Enzymatic function Energy release from carbohydrates

B2 (Riboflavin)
Enzymatic function Utilization of energy from food

B3 (Niacin)
Release of energy from food

B6
Amino acid metabolism Brain and immune system development

B9 (Folate or Folic Acid) Functions in cellular DNA Cell division

B12
Red blood cell formation Neural function Prevention of megaloblastic anemia

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Enzymatic function Amino acid oxidation Iron transport and absorption Collagen synthesis in tissues

Vitamin D
Regulation of calcium and phosphorous absorption Regulation of growth and development Muscle contraction Function in the immune system

Vitamin A
Maintenance of vision, skin and mucosa Regulation of the immune system and reproduction Good function of vital organs

Vitamin E
Antioxidant function Stimulate the immune system Maintenance of blood vessels

Vitamin k
Regulation of coagulation Synthesis of bone proteins


How to obtain these nutrients?

Sources of vitamins and minerals

The best way to provide these nutrients to our body is through a rich, varied and balanced diet. This means that our dishes must be varied, consisting of fresh and seasonal food, in the right amounts.

On the other hand, we can find foods or products fortified with vitamins or minerals, from which we can benefit whenever it is required and in specific cases.

According to the Spanish Food Code, food "are those substances or products of any nature that, due to their components, characteristics, preparation and state of preservation, are likely to be habitually and suitably used for normal human nutrition or as dietary products in cases specials on human nutrition”.

How to obtain these nutrients?

Sources of vitamins and minerals
The best way to provide these nutrients to our body is through a rich, varied and balanced diet. This means that our dishes must be varied, consisting of fresh and seasonal food, in the right amounts.

On the other hand, we can find foods or products fortified in vitamins or minerals, from which we can benefit whenever it is required and in specific cases.

According to the Spanish Food Code, food "are those substances or products of any nature that, due to their components, characteristics, preparation and state of preservation, are likely to be habitually and suitably used for normal human nutrition or as dietary products in cases specials on human nutrition”.

Food is a source of multiple nutrients, not an isolated nutrient. For this reason, although the diet must be varied and balanced, in case we do not like a specific food, such as a vegetable or some type of fish, we can obtain the nutrients through other foods that provide them.

In general, vegetables and fruits are important sources of vitamins and minerals.

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