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The Vitals of Vitamins and Minerals

How well do you know them?

Capsules with mortar and herbsYou’re probably familiar with the phrase, “everything in moderation”. It’s no different when it comes to vitamins and minerals – it’s all a matter of balance. If you’ve ignored this sound advice, this pop quiz will show you why you shouldn’t.

  1. Everyone around you seems to have a runny nose. What do you do?
    • Start taking Vitamin C (supplements, fortified juices, anything!)
    • Stock up on boxes of tissue paper
    • Nothing – after all, it’s just a cold

Untitled-1Vitamin C is usually the first thing people rush for. It’s not our fault, really. After all, we’ve been told since the 1970’s that it’s a good way to ward off colds. Recent research, however, has debunked this theory. After studying more than 10 years’ worth of findings, researchers have concluded that we’re still vulnerable to colds even if we faithfully take large amounts of Vitamin C. The good news is, the length of each attack might shorten by a day or two.

  1. What’s the difference between vitamins and minerals?
    • Is there a difference?
    • I remember my Science teacher saying one is organic and the other is inorganic, but I can’t remember which is which.
    • Both are good for me, right?


  1. Which vitamin or mineral are vegetarians and vegans missing out on?
    • Must be something that comes from animals, but I don’t know which
    • Doesn’t matter to me, I eat everything
    • All of them?

Vitamin B12 helps produce red blood cells and prevent anaemia. It’s found in meat, eggs, dairy products and any other food that comes from animals, so vegans should look to other sources such as supplements, cereals and soy products.iStock_000006183309_Large (1)

  1. Which mineral can help you keep your blood pressure within a healthy range?
    • Sodium
    • Potassium
    • What’s a mineral again?

High blood pressure affects 27.3% of Singaporeans aged between 30 and 69 years, who probably have diets that are rich in sodium. In fact, most of us consume up to 76% more than our daily sodium allowance (3527mg a day versus the recommended 2000mg). Fortunately, we can call on potassium for some assistance (although we should really cut down on our sodium intake too!). Potassium helps to get sodium out of the body via urination and it also helps to lower blood pressure by relaxing the walls of the blood vessels.

  1. iStock_000016261200_LargeDoctors don’t usually prescribe supplements, but they do make exceptions for some groups of people. Who are these groups?
    • Picky eaters
    • People diagnosed with certain illnesses or eating disorders
    • A balanced diet is best for everyone.

There are three groups of people who may benefit from vitamin or mineral supplements. They are:

  • Those aged 50 and above. Their bodies may not be able to absorb vitamin B12 very well, so they should consume fortified foods or a supplement.
  • Women of childbearing age (this includes teenagers). Vitamin C and folic acid supplements are helpful for this group, as they need the iron and folate.
  • Older adults, dark-skinned people and anyone who stays indoors too much. All of these people are missing out on vitamin D, which is necessary for good bone health.


Jacqueline Danam
Posted by ezyhealth on Feb 3 2015. Filed under Nutrition, Wellness. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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