The vitamins and minerals are required in very small amount in our diet as compared to the other nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates and fats; however the role they play is more vital as the remaining nutrients are unable to get absorbed in our body without the necessary vitamins and minerals.
The various nutrients in our meal can be broadly classified into macro nutrients and. micro nutrients. The macro nutrients are proteins, carbohydrates and fats that form part of building block of our body and provide necessary energy or fuel our body to carry out our day to day activities. They constitute major portion of our diet. The micro nutrients are vitamins and minerals and they help controlling different function within our organs.
The vitamins are classified into two categories; water soluble and oil soluble. The water soluble vitamins, the Vitamin B and Vitamin C, mixes well with the body fluid and help in its functions. However they get flushed out with urine from our body. This makes it necessary to take them with every meal. They are also important for our digestion since they help formation of necessary enzymes required by our digestive system. The oil soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Vitamin E. They do not mix with body fluid. They act on body tissues and help in their functions.
Vitamin A, C, D, and E as well as the mineral selenium and zinc also act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help reduce formation of free radicals responsible for the formation of many unwanted toxins within the body including formation of cholesterol from fats, which when deposited in the blood vessels hampers flow of blood resulting in hypertension and heart disease. They also build up our immunity to fight viral diseases.
The minerals control the functions of the fluid within our body and then they are flushed out with excretion except some, which are required to build up vital parts of our body. For example, our bones are made of calcium and phosphorous. Our blood consists of hemoglobin – a complex compound of iron and is necessary to carry oxygen to different parts of our body.