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Vitamins and minerals – the micronutrients that you cannot do without


Medically reviewed by Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Shera.

Step a little back in time, and rewind to the time when you were a school kid. Remember your mother constantly yelling at you to finish your glass of milk before you leave. Or, when she’d forcefully feed you vegetables that you hated. They say a mother knows best, and now you agree. Why? Because now your doctor repeats the same thing your mother was stressing upon all along.

Why should I take vitamins and minerals?

Is eating a meal thrice a day not enough? The answer is no. Vitamins and minerals have special roles to play. And, since they are only required in minute quantities, eating them every now and then shouldn’t be much of a task. Apart from that, your body cannot synthesize them on their own. Therefore, it leaves you with no other choice than to add them to your diet.

The role of essential vitamins and minerals

Vitamin A

When you were told to nibble a few carrots like Bugs Bunny, it was for your own good. Have you seen the character wearing any glasses? No! That is because carrots are a major source of Vitamin A. And this vitamin helps in the maintenance of healthy eyes, healthy teeth, and skin. It also helps in the general growth and development of your body. Apart from carrots, you can also get this vitamin through sweet potatoes.

Vitamin B

This vitamin is an immune booster and also essential in energy production. Say goodbye to your energy drinks when you can have all the energy from vitamin B-rich foods like bananas, potatoes, whole grains and beans, chili peppers, and lentils.

Vitamin C

You can call this the ‘celebrity-vitamin’ as you have already seen a lot of people talk about this vitamin and good skin. However, there is more to it. Vitamin C helps to make your blood vessels strong, ensuring good elasticity of the skin, and also produces anti-oxidants which help in fighting cancer. You can get this vitamin from citrus fruits like orange, strawberries, grapefruits, kiwifruit, and red and green peppers.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is also not new to any. Talk about having strong bones and teeth, and vitamin D is there to the rescue. A major source of this vitamin comes from sunlight before noon. Other than that, this vitamin can be found in eggs, fish, and mushrooms.

Vitamin E

Apart from giving you lustrous hair and good skin, this vitamin also strengthens blood circulation and gives protection from free radicals. Free radicals are cancer-producing agents, and destruction of these by vitamins is the only chance. Major sources of this vitamin are nuts (especially almonds), sunflower seeds, and tomatoes.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays a major role in the clotting of the blood. You can find this vitamin in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and sprouts.


Your doctor cannot stress on calcium no matter how old you are. Your whole body is dependent on your skeleton, and for that, you need strong bones. Major sources of calcium are milk (of course), and other dairy products like yogurt and cheese.


Required in small quantities, zinc is essential for general growth, immunity, and fertility. Zinc-rich foods include dark chocolate, seafood (e.g. oysters), spinach, cashew nuts, and beans.


Iron helps in forming hemoglobin (essential constituent in the blood), and also helps in building muscles. Sources of iron include oysters and organ meats like liver, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, cereals, lentils, and spinach.


You are what you eat. When you are stressing on eating more proteins, and lesser fats, make sure you do not forget about these little building blocks of your body. Good luck on your journey to being fit and healthy!

Guest Post Credits: Dr. Faryal Zaidi



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