We often hear about the importance of consuming our daily servings of different vitamins and minerals. We see them (hopefully) on the labels of the food we buy, and know that doctors and dietitians recommend we get so much of certain ones. But what is the basic science behind all of the labels and recommendations? Why do parents everywhere battle over fruits and veggies at every meal? Why are they so important?

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients – they perform hundreds of roles within the body.  Vitamins produce energy, protect cells from damage and regulate cell and tissue growth; while minerals build strong bones and teeth, transmit nerve impulses and help cells function properly. Together they help the body develop, regulate, grow, and heal.

Many of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need cannot be produced on their own in sufficient enough amounts – meaning our bodies need to receive them from sources other than itself. People often look for nutrient-rich foods or supplements to help reach their daily intake goals or to help with any deficiencies.

Like most things in life, it is best to receive these nutrients through natural means.  When we go about getting our vitamins and minerals from natural sources, we are ensuring that we receive them in the purest form possible. Many synthetic vitamins and minerals (like supplements) have been found to be less potent and unable to perform the same functions in your body as those that come from natural sources. In some cases, a natural version of a vitamin significantly out performs its synthetic counterpart.

Shameless plug! Aloe is a great, natural source of vitamins and minerals. Aloe Arborescens contains a higher concentration of active principles – at least three times higher than Aloe Vera. It contains vitamin A, C, E, and B-12; as well as the minerals zinc, magnesium, chromium, potassium. And that’s just naming a few. These high levels of a wide variety of essential nutrients is one of the reasons why it helps our bodies so much.

A healthy, well balanced diet – a diet filled with fruits, dark green vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes- is a good sign that you are probably receiving enough vitamins and minerals each day. If you feel you diet is lacking these things, you may want to do some additional research, and find ways to increase your nutrient intake each day.