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Nutrition Made Simple: Vitamins & Minerals Explained

Written by: Anna from StoryOfAwakening



Time to Read 15 min

Hello, health enthusiasts!

Today, we're taking a quick dive into the world of micronutrients—those magical molecules that fuel your body's every function, from blinking to thinking.

Yes, we're talking about vitamins and minerals!

These little dynamos are crucial for optimal health, but they're often overlooked in the rush of our daily lives.

When it comes to health and wellness, the significance of vitamins and minerals cannot be overstated. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to a multitude of health issues, impacting your mental health, energy levels, and overall quality of life.

Despite the importance of these micronutrients, most of us lack more than one due to various factors, including diet choices and environmental influences.

The Earth's soil is exhausted from over-cultivation, which means the foods we consume have less and less nutritional value. And, of course, the processed food we eat daily with its toxic ingredients ensures we stay "nice and unhealthy" for our medical industry.

In this blog post, we will discuss the ten most common vitamins and minerals, explore their significant roles, identify common deficiency symptoms to watch out for and give some advice about food sources and your diet in general.

We´ll also answer some FAQs related to vitamins and minerals and provide you with some links to take your research to the next level.

So, let's get to the basic knowledge that will hopefully inspire you to dig deeper and learn more about how to support your health and well-being with better nutrition, ensuring a healthier, more vibrant you.

Understanding the Basics

Before we jump into the details, let's get down to the basics.

Vitamins and minerals are the body's building blocks. They're like the tiny mechanics that keep the machine of your body running smoothly.

Vitamins come in two types:

1) fat-soluble (A, D, E, K) that hang out in your body's fatty tissues, and

2) water-soluble (C and B vitamins) that take a dip in your bodily fluids and exit stage left when they've overstayed their welcome.

Minerals? They're split into two squads, too:

1) major (think calcium and magnesium), and

2) trace (like iron and zinc), depending on how much your body needs.

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients essential for the body to function correctly.

Unlike macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which provide energy, micronutrients do not supply calories. Instead, they are critical components in various biochemical processes supporting growth, disease prevention, and overall health.

Vitamins are organic compounds that are required in small quantities to sustain life. Most vitamins need to come from food because the body either does not produce them or produces very little.

Minerals, on the other hand, are inorganic elements that come from the soil and water and are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals.

Understanding the difference between fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins is crucial for grasping how our body absorbs, stores, and utilizes these nutrients.

1) Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are stored in the body's fatty tissue and liver, and their absorption is enhanced when consumed with dietary fat. Because they can be stored, excessive intake can accumulate in the body, potentially leading to toxicity.

2) Water-soluble vitamins, which include B vitamins and vitamin C, must dissolve in water before the body can absorb them.

Because of this, they cannot be stored in large amounts, and excess quantities will leave the body in urine. This means they require more frequent intake through diet or supplements.

The body needs major minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, in larger amounts than trace minerals like iron, selenium, and zinc. Despite being required in smaller quantities, trace minerals are just as vital for health, playing roles in everything from oxygen transport to enzyme function.

By understanding these basics, we can appreciate the intricate balance of micronutrients necessary for our well-being and the importance of a varied diet to meet our nutritional needs for a healthy body and mind.

The Essential Vitamins

Story of Awakening Spiritual Awakening Vitamins

🔸Vitamin A

* Role in the Body - This vitamin keeps your eyes sharp and your skin smooth. Vitamin A is also crucial for your immune system.

* Deficiency Symptoms - Night blindness, dry skin, dry eyes, delayed wound healing, hair loss, growth and development problems in children, and more easily receptive to infections.

* Sources - Sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, and dairy products.

* Tips for Supplementation - Supplemental vitamin A is best taken under medical advice to prevent toxicity.

🔸Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

* Role in the Body - Ah, B12, the energy espresso shot. It's vital for making red blood cells, keeping your nervous system in tip-top shape, and DNA synthesis.

* Deficiency Symptoms - Fatigue, weakness, constipation, anemia, pale skin, sensations of pins and needles, changes in mobility (such as difficulty walking), glossitis and mouth ulcers (like cracked mouth corners), breathlessness and dizziness, disturbed vision, mood changes (including depression and irritability), impaired memory, understanding, and judgment.

* Sources - Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy. Animal products are rich in B12, so vegans, keep an extra eye on your supplements with this one.

* Tips for Supplementation - Extra important for vegans or people over 50.

🔸Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

* Role in the Body - The immune system's knight in shining armor. Vitamin C aids in the repair of tissues, enzyme function, and overall immune system health.

* Deficiency Symptoms - Scurvy, which can cause fatigue, swollen gums, and bruising. Rough, bumpy skin, corkscrew-shaped body hair, bright red hair follicles, spoon-shaped fingernails with red spots or lines, dry, damaged skin, slow wound healing, and weak bones.

* Sources - Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli.

* Tips for Supplementation - Supplements can help those who struggle to get enough from food alone, especially smokers and older adults. Great to add to your daily vitamin plan during virus season.

🔸Vitamin D

* Role in the Body - The sunshine vitamin! It is essential for bone health, helps the body absorb calcium, and strengthens the overall immune system.

* Deficiency Symptoms - Bone pain, muscle weakness, increased risk of fractures, and weaker immune system. Fatigue and tiredness, mood changes (like depression or irritability), frequent infections or illnesses, slow wound healing, hair loss, back pain, low bone mineral density, and reduced endurance.

* Sources - Sunlight exposure, fatty fish, and fortified foods.

* Tips for Supplementation - It is necessary for people with limited sun exposure and older adults. Which is pretty much everybody in the world working indoors.

🔸Vitamin E

* Role in the Body - Acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage.

* Deficiency Symptoms - Vision problems, muscle weakness and coordination problems, impaired immune response, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, difficulty with walking or maintaining balance, general fatigue and weakness, reproductive issues and fertility problems, skin problems (dryness or flaking), mild anemia due to oxidative damage to red blood cells, cognitive problems (including difficulties with concentration and memory).

* Sources - Nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.

* Tips for Supplementation - Generally needed for specific health issues.

🔸Vitamin K

* Role in the Body - Key for blood clotting and bone metabolism.

* Deficiency Symptoms - Easy bruising and excessive bleeding, bleeding gums or nosebleeds, blood in urine or stools, heavy menstrual periods, osteoporosis or weakened bones, calcification of arteries or other soft tissues, heart health issues due to arterial calcification.

* Sources - Green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, and fermented foods.

* Tips for Supplementation - Usually not necessary with a balanced diet but is recommended for certain medical conditions.

The Crucial Minerals

Story of Awakening Spiritual Awakening Minerals


* Role in the Body - Iron is essential for producing hemoglobin, a protein that allows red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.

* Deficiency Symptoms - Fatigue and weakness, pale skin, and pale coloring of the inside of the lower eyelids, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, cold hands, and feet, brittle nails, headaches, fast or irregular heartbeat, cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt, or starch (a condition known as pica), poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency.

* Food Sources - Lean meats, beans, spinach, and fortified cereals are excellent sources of iron.

* Supplement Advice - Iron supplements are necessary for individuals with anemia or pregnant women. However, excessive iron can be harmful, so consult a healthcare provider before starting supplements.


* Role in the Body - Calcium is crucial for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. It also supports muscle function and nerve signaling.

* Deficiency Symptoms - Muscle cramps and spasms, numbness and tingling in fingers, slow hair growth and brittle nails, easy fracturing of the bones, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, seizures, poor appetite, abnormal heart rhythms, osteopenia and osteoporosis, leading to weakened bones.

* Food Sources - Dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified plant milk are good sources of calcium.

* Supplement Advice - Supplements help those who cannot get enough calcium from their diet alone, especially postmenopausal women and the elderly. Professional guidance is recommended to avoid excessive intake.


* Role in the Body - Iodine is vital for thyroid health, affecting metabolism, growth, and development.

* Deficiency Symptoms - Swelling in the neck (goiter), unexpected weight gain, fatigue and weakness, hair loss, dry flaky skin, feeling colder than usual, slower heart rate, learning or memory problems, heavy or irregular periods.

* Food Sources - Seafood, dairy products, grains, and iodized salt are primary sources of iodine.

* Supplement Advice - Iodine supplements are generally not needed if you use iodized salt and eat foods rich in iodine. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should seek medical advice regarding iodine supplementation.


* Role in the Body - Magnesium supports over 300 enzyme reactions, including energy production, muscle and nerve function, and protein synthesis.

* Deficiency Symptoms - Muscle cramps and spasms, mental disorders, including anxiety and depression, osteoporosis or reduced bone health, fatigue and muscle weakness, high blood pressure, asthma, irregular heartbeat or arrhythmias, numbness and tingling, sleep disorders, including insomnia, migraines or headaches.

* Food Sources - Nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables are rich in magnesium.

* Supplement Advice - Supplements benefit individuals with magnesium deficiency or certain health conditions. Also helps get better sleep because relaxes the muscles.

Balancing Your Diet for Optimal Nutrition

Now that you know the who's who of the micronutrient world, it's time to get them on your team.

Variety is the spice of life and the secret sauce of nutrition. Creating a balanced diet that encompasses all the essential nutrients your body needs is fundamental to achieving and maintaining optimal health.

A well-rounded diet includes a variety of foods from all food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein sources, and dairy or its alternatives. Incorporate a rainbow of colors on your plate to ensure a wide range of vitamins and minerals in your diet.

For instance, green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin K and iron, while orange and yellow fruits and vegetables provide Vitamin A.

In addition to diet, regular health check-ups help you monitor nutrient levels and overall health. Periodic blood tests can reveal any deficiencies or excesses in essential vitamins and minerals, allowing for timely interventions if necessary. These check-ups also offer an opportunity to discuss any dietary concerns with your healthcare provider and adjust your nutritional plan accordingly.

Balancing your diet doesn't mean adhering to a strict regimen or depriving yourself of the foods you love and need. That only creates resistance in your physical, mental, and energetic body, leading to disappointing or no results at all.

It's about making informed choices and enjoying a variety of high-quality, healthy foods in moderation, resulting in a harmonious and loving relationship between food and your body. That is how you create lasting results.

Story of Awakening Spiritual Awakening Healthy Diet

Some Small Changes Lead to Great Results

Here are some very simple changes you can make in your diet right now that have a massively positive effect on your overall health:

1) Replace white sugar with organic honey or at least brown sugar, which has a bit more nutritional value than white sugar. Watch out for hidden sugars in, well, everything you buy from the store. Sugar or sweeteners are added to foods you couldn't even imagine.

2) Replace white table salt with a healthier version, like sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, which can contain up to 84 minerals and trace elements. Iodized salt is also an excellent choice, especially since it is quite difficult to get iodine from food nowadays.

3) Replace white flour with whole wheat flour, almond or coconut flour, oat or quinoa flour, or, better yet, with gluten-free flour or a flour mix.

4) If there's too much gluten in your menu (which is usually true nowadays), switch to gluten-free alternatives, such as flour, bread, cereal, flakes, etc.
Gluten is a surprisingly big culprit that causes a lot of damage to our health when over-consumed. Many people have serious digestive issues, skin conditions, fatigue and brain fog, joint and muscle pain, or migraines because of it.

My six-month period of daily migraines stopped within a week of removing gluten from my menu.

5) Start using healthy fats and oils, like extra virgin olive oil, which has a myriad of amazing health benefits. Coconut oil, avocados, and nuts are also extremely healthy additions to your menu. 

I make sure I add some source of good fats to everything I make for my family, from warm foods to salads to smoothies, etc. Just to make sure we get the fat-soluble vitamins from every food we consume.

6) Replace cow milk with high-quality plant-based milk. Modern cow milk is so overprocessed and overconsumed that any health benefits it used to have are gone. Only fermented dairy products are still worthy of consumption. 

Though plant-based milk has many nutritional benefits over regular milk, the biggest one is the environmental impact. The reduced environmental footprint of production contributes to a sustainable diet that supports planetary health.

7) Drink enough water! Set up a habit tracker if you need to. Water is involved in everything your body does, making sure the good things get where they need to go in your body and the bad things get out.

8) Bring back as many fruits and vegetables as you possibly can to your menu. They are abundant in vitamins and minerals that support a multitude of bodily functions, high in dietary fiber, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system, and are loaded with antioxidants, which protect you against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and many other diseases.

9) If you crave sweets, choose fruits, honey, or dark chocolate. If your diet is well-balanced and your gut is healthy, these sweets are actually enough to satisfy your cravings. Your body doesn't ask for more. 

If it does, it means you have "unwanted passengers" on board in your digestive system and body, meaning you have candida overgrowth or excessive amount of parasites. They are the ones asking for these cakes and candies that you know are anything but good for you.

10) Remember to add beans, peas, and other legumes to your menu. Legumes are an excellent source of protein, making them an important dietary component, especially for vegetarians and vegans. They are also rich in many vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Their low glycemic index also makes them suitable for individuals managing diabetes.

11) Try to reduce coffee consumption if you can. That one was hard for me, too. But I mixed it up. 

I added yerba mate tea ("green tea on steroids") and mushroom coffee (like Four Sigmatic) to my daily habits. So, no more overconsumption, and hello to significant health benefits from those new drinks.

12) So, one last thing. Though I fully support going vegan, I do not support doing it lightly. 

You must be prepared to really really put in the work and learn deeply about how to make sure you get everything your body needs from your menu. 

Please hire a nutritionist and take regular health check-ups. Especially when children are involved and, at least in the beginning, are unable to voice their own needs and decisions. 

For example, I decided to take the middle road with my family. 

I took the time and studied to become a nutritionist, not to work as one, but to educate myself to make better decisions for my family. 

So, when it comes to meat, I made sure it was always there if someone felt they needed it. Mostly fish and poultry, less red meat. And to be honest, over time, I noticed that my whole family naturally leaned more toward fish and poultry, and meals from red meat became less and less popular. 

Most of my kids are teenagers now, but I still make sure that everyone gets to choose their own path when it comes to food. 

Every human body is unique, and it is more about learning to listen to what your body needs and asks for and provide healthy solutions. 

But that is just my humble opinion. Everybody has to make up their own mind.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it—the most important basics on vitamins, minerals, and dietary suggestions to support you on your journey towards a healthier and happier you.

Remember, quality food first, trustworthy organic supplements if needed, and always chat with a healthcare professional before making any drastic changes to your diet.

To wiser days and enlightened ways,


We encourage you to take charge of your nutritional health and invite you to share your experiences or questions about vitamins and minerals in the comments below.

Whether you've navigated dietary changes or tackled deficiencies, your insights can inspire and inform others on their wellness journeys.

FAQ Section: Common Questions about Vitamin and Mineral Intake

Q1: How do I know if I'm getting enough vitamins and minerals?

A1: Monitoring your health through regular check-ups is the best way to identify any deficiencies. Symptoms like fatigue, a weakened immune system, or brittle bones can indicate a lack of essential nutrients. However, consulting with a healthcare provider for specific tests can provide precise insights.

Q2: Can I get all my vitamins and minerals from food alone?

A2: While it's possible to obtain most vitamins and minerals from a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains, certain circumstances (such as dietary restrictions, age, or health conditions) might require supplementation. Consulting with a dietitian can help tailor a plan to your needs.

Q3: Are there risks associated with taking supplements?

A3: Yes, excessive intake of some vitamins and minerals through supplements can lead to toxicity and adverse health effects. It's vital to follow recommended dosages and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

PS! It is also very important to make sure your vitamins and minerals are organic, high quality, and produced by a trustworthy company. Otherwise, you may end up consuming unhealthy or even toxic substances.

Q4: How can vegetarians and vegans ensure they're getting enough B12 and iron?

A4: B12 is primarily found in animal products, so vegetarians and vegans may need to rely on fortified foods or supplements. Iron can be obtained from plant sources like legumes and leafy greens, though it's less easily absorbed than iron from meat. Consuming vitamin C-rich foods alongside can enhance absorption.

Related Links

For those looking to deepen their understanding of nutrition and dietary wellness, the following resources offer valuable information:

1)  Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics  - Offers comprehensive guides and articles on various aspects of nutrition, including micronutrient intake.

2)  National Institutes of Health - Office of Dietary Supplements  - Provides detailed fact sheets on individual vitamins and minerals, including their benefits, recommended intakes, and potential health risks.

3)  Harvard School of Public Health - The Nutrition Source  - Covers broad nutrition topics, including how to build a healthy diet that incorporates all essential nutrients.

4)  World Health Organization - Nutrition  - Offers global perspectives on nutrition and micronutrient guidelines to support public health.

These resources can serve as a starting point for anyone seeking to expand their knowledge on nutrition and healthy living.

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