20 November 2020|Nutrition|Reading time: 3 min

Vitamins and minerals are also known as micronutrients. They're small, but they have a tremendous impact on our body and our health.

In this article, we'll explain the importance of vitamins and minerals, how they work and how you can easily add them to your daily diet.

What are vitamins and minerals?

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients that are divided into different vitamins, minerals and trace elements. The amount of micronutrients we need on a daily basis is generally indicated in milligrams (mg) and micrograms (mcg or µg).

Although we only need small amounts of micronutrients, these little superheroes are very important for all kinds of processes in our body. Most vitamins and minerals are therefore essential. This means that our body cannot produce the nutrients itself. Since these nutrients are indispensable, we need to absorb them through our diet.

What do vitamins and minerals do?

Your body needs vitamins and minerals every day to function properly. They help produce hormones and enzymes, but they also maintain your energy, resistance and metabolism and they're also very important to support good functioning of the muscles.

For example, think of the importance of vitamins D and C to support your immune system. Or magnesium, which contributes to a good mental balance and plays a major role in energy production, nerve functions and the healthy functioning of the muscles.

Vitamins and minerals deficiency

When we don't absorb enough vitamins and minerals, it could have negative consequences to our health. Common examples of micronutrients deficiency are poor resistance, concentration problems and (chronic) fatigue.

This is why it's important to keep your daily intake of vitamins and minerals high. This strengthens your body and your immune system and gives you the necessary energy.

If you feel tired, it could be a good idea to have a critical look at your diet. A diet includes, according to the 'Guidelines for a Healthy Diet' of the Health Council, at least 250 grams of vegetables every day and 2 servings of fruit per day. Research from the 'Food Consumption Survey' by the RIVM shows that the Dutch often consume less than the recommended amounts of nutrients. This can affect energy metabolism, causing you to feel " tired often".

Take the vitamin test

Would you like to know if your daily vitamins and minerals intake is sufficient? Take the vitamin test here for free and receive personal advice within two minutes.

Why do we have a vitamin and mineral deficiency?

Nowadays, we live in a fast-food world with quick meals, soft drinks and fatty, oily and sugary snacks. These deficient foods generally contain lots of calories, concentrated sugars and sweeteners, harmful (trans) fats, all kinds of additives and hardly any (to no) vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which can cause deficiencies.

A deficient diet has a negative impact on our health, energy levels and performance. In the worst case it can even lead to all kinds of serious diseases and illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Other lifestyle factors that can lead to deficiencies include smoking, drinking alcohol and the use of medication.

How can you prevent shortages?

The answer to this is actually very simple: eat food in its original form, choose fresh, unprocessed products with as few ingredients and additives as possible and make vegetables and fruit in particular the basis of your daily diet.

Fruits and vegetables contain lots of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and other bioactive substances. So it's definitely worth it to eat more vegetables and / or fruit (with every meal) to get your daily vitamins and minerals.

By the way, keep in mind that vitamins cannot withstand heating and it is better to steam, roast or stir-fry vegetables briefly. This makes sure that fewer vitamins are lost while cooking your foods.

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