We are constantly fed with contradicting nutrition information in today’s modern world.
Some people live by the importance of protein and animal products, while others tell us it’s all about calories and balance.
Now, fat, protein and carbohydrates are usually taking the majority of the attention; one thing remains ignored…
The importance of micronutrients is our topic of discussion for today!
So without further ado, let’s go in deep and discuss micronutrients, what they are, what they do and what the best sources are!
Macro VS Micro
What is the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients?
As its name suggests, macronutrients are the primary nutrients our bodies need in ample proportions – Proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
These nutrients give caloric value, and we need them to sustain a healthy body weight and physiological function.
Micronutrients don’t have a caloric value; however, they are just as valuable due to the essential and varied processes all around the body.
Micronutrients include phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!
The body needs these nutrients to help with the production of a variety of enzymes and hormones, which contribute to the overall healthy functioning of the organism.
Though the body needs micronutrients in smaller amounts, we can suffer unwanted side effects if they are absent from the body.
For example, a magnesium deficiency can cause:
- Poor sleep
- Crave sugar
- Unable to focus
Vitamins and minerals are, of course, an essential part of our nutrition; they help kids grow healthy and robust, while adults can reap the benefits of sustained health.
Fortunately, micronutrient deficiencies are easy to diagnose and quickly treated with various supplements and foods.
Common Micronutrient Deficiencies
The abundance of foods that are poor in nutrients that many people survive on makes micronutrient deficiencies a pretty common thing!
Here are the most common micronutrient deficiencies:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Iron deficiency
Some of these are less difficult to diagnose and don’t hold many risks, whereas others can cause much discomfort and sometimes damage if sustained in the long term.
For example, B12 deficiencies, which is commonly recognised in vegans and vegetarians, could lead to anaemia, mood swings, memory issues, irregular work of the heart and sometimes even neurological problems.
Unless you have severe deficiencies, micronutrient supplements are not mandatory, as most deficiencies can be treated with a slight change in your nutrition intake.
Let’s take a look at the highest vitamin & mineral abundant foods.
- Omega-3s, vitamin D (Fatty Fish)
- Vitamin A (Carrots)
- Vitamin B, Iron (Eggs)
- Vitamins B2, B5, B6 (And tons of healthy fat!) Avocados
- Vitamin A, C, E, K, Folate & Choline (Kiwis)
- Vitamin C, Folic acid (Citrus Fruits)
If you include these foods in your meals regularly, it will keep you away from deficiencies and help to maintain balanced chemistry within.
Don’t like diversifying your food sources? Shoot for micronutrient supplements!
The best nutrition plan is a good balance between macronutrients, micronutrients and calories.
Although micronutrients do not provide caloric value, they still play essential roles in a variety of our bodily functions.
Because their deficiencies will lead to weaker function, including sufficient micronutrition in your food is crucial.
Lastly, micronutrients don’t need to be tracked as long as you consume a variety of foods in reasonable amounts.