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Our body requires very tiny quantities of these nutrients as compared to the proportion in which it needs macronutrients and hence the name, ‘micronutrient’. Though they are needed in miniscule quantities, micronutrients have many vital roles to perform. These comprise mainly of Vitamins & Minerals and aid in regulation & maintenance of many processes taking place in our body, and lack of these can lead to increased risk for serious health problems in future.

Vitamins

Vitamins are micronutrients that are very essential for many of the metabolic activities in the body. They are nutrients that are not produced by the body in adequate quantities and hence need to be sufficed by the food we eat.

Vitamins are mainly divided into two categories:

  • Fat Soluble - Vitamin A (Retinol), Vitamin D (Calciferol), Vitamin E & Vitamin K.
    These vitamins are not lost easily and can be stored in the body for quite some time; hence one does not need to consume the fat-soluble vitamins every day.
  • Water Soluble- Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, Folate.
    Unlike the fat soluble vitamins, body tends to lose these vitamins through the body fluids;  therefore these need to be replenished on a daily basis.

Although individual vitamins have a specific function, in general, they help in growth and development, boost our immunity, act as good antioxidants, enhance brain functioning and are required for the optimum performance of certain hormones and enzymes in the body.  

Common food sources rich in vitamins are
fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, dried beans and lentils, eggs, lean meat and fish etc.

Minerals

Minerals are micronutrients that are required for several metabolic activities in our body. Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorus & Sulphur are some of the major minerals that are needed by the body, but there are a whole bunch of others too that have a role to play in the functioning of the body; these include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, chromium, molybdenum, and selenium.

These have an influence on our immunity, metabolic processes, vigour, functioning of nerves & muscles, bones & teeth etc. Thus, they too, like the vitamins, play an important role in the overall growth and development of our body.

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