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The Skinny on: Vitamins vs. Minerals

We all know we should be consuming enough vitamins and minerals. We need them in order to stay healthy, but did you ever think about what the difference between the two is? Vitamins come from the plants and meat we eat. They are essential nutrients that fall into one of two categories: water soluble or fat soluble. Vitamin C and all eight B vitamins are water-soluble, which means water is required for their absorption. These nine vitamins are found mostly in fruits, veggies, and grains. You need water-soluble vitamins every day, and the extra is flushed out when you go to the bathroom. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, and are mostly found in fatty foods such as meat, dairy, vegetable oils, and oily fish. They require fat for absorption and are stored in fat tissue for later use. If you eat excessive amounts of fat-soluble vitamins, they can be harmful to your body so pay close attention to your diet.

To hear all about minerals and find out if taking supplements is necessary


Minerals fall into one of two categories as well: macro or micro. The ones needed in quantities of 100 mg or more are considered macro such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfur. The ones needed in much smaller, trace amounts are considered micro. Iron, iodine, zinc, chromium, selenium, fluoride, molybdenum, copper, and manganese are micro minerals. There are 16 essential minerals needed by the body, and you can obtain them from a variety of foods including meat, cereals, bread, fish, milk, vegetables, fruit (especially dried fruit), nuts, and also from water.

Fit's Tip: The best way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs is from your diet. As long as you're eating a variety of foods, vitamin supplements aren't necessary.

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