Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are known as micronutrients as they are required in smaller amounts. They are found in different concentrations in different foods. They are most common in vegetables and fruits, and depending on the colour of the vegetable or fruit, they are higher in certain vitamins and/or minerals than others.


There are two different types of vitamins –
1. Fat Soluble
2. Water Soluble

Fat Soluble Vitamins

These vitamins can only be absorbed when in the presence of fat and can also be stored in the body. Because of this fact, they are at higher risk for toxicity when taken in very large doses. They are Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.

Most common sources and functions of these vitamins are:

LiverKidneyFortified milk & margarineEgg yolkYellow & dark green leafy vegetables:Sweet PotatoSpinachButternutCarrotsApricotsPeachesBroccoliMaintains eyesight Healthy growth Healthy skin & eyes (prevents drying)Boosts immune system
LiverEgg yolkFish oilsSalmonTunaSardinesNeeded for absorption of calcium and phosphorus to keep our bones & teeth healthy
Vegetable oilsGreen leafy vegetablesEgg yolkNutsStrong antioxidantProtects & prevents breakdown of Vitamin AProtects red blood cells
Green leafy vegetablesLiverSoybean oilNeeded to assist with blood clotting

Water Soluble Vitamins

These vitamins are soluble in water, which means they will be excreted in the urine if taken in amounts beyond what the body requires. Water Soluble Vitamins are vitamin B and vitamin C.

Most common sources and functions of these vitamins are:

VITAMIN B – There are many different versions of vitamin B.  Below is a small summary of the many sources and functions
MeatsWhole grain cerealsEnriched cerealsDried beansEggsOrgan MeatsNeeded for healthy growthAssists the body to use carbohydratesPlays a role in nerve functionImportant factor in the production of DNAMaintains the health of red blood cells
Citrus fruitsStrawberriesBroccoliTomatoMelonPeppersGreensRaw cabbageGuavaPineapplePotatoKiwi fruitAids in the production of hormonesImportant for:ImmunityWound healingAllergic reactionsHelps absorb Iron


Minerals are also micronutrients, and are required in small amounts. It is beyond the scope of this course for you to have an understanding and know all the minerals that are in food and required by the body.

Beetroot juice with spinach

One of the main minerals, important in the body is Iron. Its chemical representation is “Fe”. It has three main functions. Iron is responsible for the production of haemoglobin which is used to transport oxygen around the body. Iron is found in meats, poultry and dark green leafy vegetables and a deficiency of this mineral can result in Iron Deficiency aneamia whereby an individual would have to take supplementation of the mineral to replenish stores. The absorption of iron is enhanced by a diet high in vitamin C and is decreased by tannins found in tea. Eating a diet high in iron would also be important. Individuals who often suffer from iron deficiency aneamia are vegetarians or people who do not eat red meat.