We have all read in grade school that it is important to eat a balanced diet containing all vitamins and minerals. How many of use still remember why it is required and what are the benefits of vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins are essential for our body. They keep the metabolic process going – they act as catalysts and help with the seamless operation if our body. While they offer numerous benefits, it is important to understand that the body does not serve as its own source of vitamins.
The intestine perhaps has some Vitamin B and probiotics, but for the most part, they can be obtained only by eating a balanced diet and also by way of vitamin supplements.
Vitamins work together as a team. They cannot impart direct benefits to the body. But they pave the way for enzymes and hormones to do all that it takes to keep the body healthy. There are about 13 types of vitamins that ensure the smooth functioning of our body. They repair and heal and make new tissues and cells. They boost the metabolic activity and help eliminate toxins and metabolic by-products.
Vitamins do not directly affect the functioning of the heart or liver but promote health by activating the hormones and enzymes. They work in an organized and structured manner and engage with other vitamins to promote immunity and well being. Each vitamin has a specific function that it performs. As a whole, it then has a synergetic effect.
The amount of vitamins recommended is a function of age and gender and other lifestyle factors. It also depends on the activity levels of the body. For example, the needs will change by age – the needs of an infant are different from a toddler and an older child or a teenager. Similarly, pregnant women will need different amount of vitamins.
Breastfeeding women will need more vitamins and minerals and calories. A body builder will need vitamins to suit his activity level and body weight. The changing metabolic rates at different stages in our life warrant difference in the quantity required.
Vitamin deficiency may cause deterioration in overall health. It can lead to weakening of immune system, weak bones and overall listlessness. A diet rich in vitamins and supplements is recommended for all age groups.