You may have heard the words vitamins and minerals being used a lot when referring to your diet, but what are they?

Vitamins and minerals are two of the main types of nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy. Vitamins help your body grow and work the way it should, and minerals are particularly responsible for the maintenance of the body. These micronutrients – as they are most commonly known, are needed in small quantities compared to macros.  There are lots of micronutrients in the foods you eat, especially fruits and vegetables that are plentiful in vitamins and minerals. We must obtain micronutrients from food since the body cannot produce vitamins and minerals.

This post delves into detail on the roles of vitamins and minerals in our diet.



Vitamins are necessary for energy production, immune function, and blood clotting as well as act as cofactors (a substance whose presence is essential for the activity of an enzyme) for enzymes required in energy production. They are divided into two categories: water-soluble vitamins (meaning they dissolve in water), and fat-soluble vitamins (best absorbed when consumed with a type of fat). We only need these in very small quantities which are just a few micrograms or milligrams per day.

Fat-soluble vitamins include;

  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene): Processes such as maintaining healthy vision, ensuring the normal function of your immune system and organs, and aiding the proper growth and development of babies in the womb are the key responsibilities of vitamin A.
  • Vitamin D: has anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties (helps regulates the immune system) and is crucial for the activation of immune system defenses.
  • Vitamin E: is an essential nutrient with anti-inflammatory properties. It helps maintain healthy skin, cell function, and strengthen the body’s immune system. It’s an antioxidant, making it effective at combating the effects of free radicals produced by the metabolism of food and toxins in the environment.
  • Vitamin K: This vitamin is essential for the blood and aids in blood clotting.

Water-soluble vitamins include;

  • Vitamin C; is necessary for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues. It is also involved in the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
  • B Vitamins: help the body convert food into energy (metabolism), create new blood cells, and maintain healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other body tissues.
  • Folic acid: helps your body produce and maintain new cells.



Minerals are essential for the normal function of the body. They have a variety of functions, in particular, playing an important role in growth, bone health, fluid balance.

Essential minerals
These are essential components of the human diet. They include:

  • Calcium: Calcium is a structural component of bones, and works alongside phosphorus to build strong bones.
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorous works with calcium to help build bones
  • Magnesium: Acts a cofactor in enzymic reactions.
  • Sodium: helps maintain the balance of water in and around your cells.
  • Potassium: helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals within the body.
  • Iron: Iron is essential for the production of haemoglobin in the blood.
  • Zinc: Zinc helps the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. It also helps the body make proteins and DNA (the genetic material in all cells).

Tips on how to increase vitamins and minerals intake in the diet


  • Keep healthy snacks easily to hand (e.g. fresh fruit in a bowl, fruit salad, or other healthy food swaps).
  • Snack on raw vegetables: such as cucumber, celery or carrots.
  • Try freshly squeezed juices instead of coffee, tea or fizzy drinks: but be mindful
    of the natural sugars in fresh orange juice.
  • Try to have fruit and veg with every meal.
  • Add chopped, fresh or dried fruit onto your breakfast cereal.

If you feel you are not getting a nutritionally balanced diet, speak to a doctor or nutrition specialist about taking a mineral supplement per day, and ensure not to exceed your upper limit.

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