In the modern-day world, we are constantly blasted with often contradicting information about nutrition. It’s time to find out– how important are micronutrients?
Some people swear by the importance of protein and animal products, while others tell us it’s all about the caloric balance.
Now, because fat, protein and carbohydrates are taking the majority of the attention, one thing remains ignored. How important micronutrients are! Let’s go on a deep dive into micronutrients and discuss what they are, what they do in the body and what the best sources are! How important are micronutrients?
First what is the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients?
Macro VS Micro
Macronutrients are the primary nutrients our bodies need in big quantities – protein, fats and carbohydrates.
These nutrients provide caloric value. They are necessary to sustain a healthy body weight and physiological functioning.
Micronutrients do not have a caloric value, but are just as important. The micronutrients take part in a variety of important processes all around the body.
Phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are all micronutrients!
The body needs these nutrients to sustain the production of a variety of enzymes and hormones, which relate to the overall healthy functioning of the organism.
Though the body needs micronutrients in small amounts. Their absence quickly surfaces with a flurry of unwanted side effects.
For example, a lack of magnesium can cause you to:
- Have bad sleep
- Crave sugar
- Be unable to focus on the task at hand
Vitamins and minerals are an important part of human nutrition. They help kids grow healthy and strong. Adults can reap the benefits of sustained health with vitamins.
Lack of micronutrients is easy to diagnose. And a supplement or food change will fix it.
Common Micronutrient Deficiencies
With the abundance of nutrient-poor foods that many people survive on, micronutrient deficiencies are a common thing!
The most common are:
- Vitamin B12
- Iron deficiency
- Vitamin D
Some of these are easy to diagnose and don’t have much risk. Some can cause severe discomfort and if sustained in the long term, even damage.
For instance, B12 deficiencies which are common in vegans and vegetarians, can lead to anemia, memory issues, mood swings, irregular work of the heart and even neurological problems.
Micronutrient supplements are not mandatory. Unless you have a medical issue, deficiencies can be treated with a slight change in your diet.
Let’s have a look at the most vitamin & mineral-abundant foods!
- Fatty fish – Omega-3s, vitamin D
- Citrus fruits – Vitamin C, Folic acid
- Carrots – Vitamin A
- Eggs- Vitamin B, Iron
- Avocados – Vitamins B2, B5, B6 (And tons of healthy fat!)
- Kiwis – Vitamin A, C, E, K, Folate & Choline
Including these foods in your menu regularly will keep you away from deficiencies and maintain a balanced inner chemistry.
Don’t like diversifying your food sources? Try micronutrient supplements!
Your best nutrition plan is a good balance between macronutrients, micronutrients and calories.
Though micronutrients don’t provide caloric value, they are important.
Because their deficiencies will lead to worsened function, it is important to grant sufficient micronutrition through your food.
Finally, don’t track your micronutrients. Consume a variety of foods in decent amounts.