What are Micronutrients?
Micronutrient is a term used to describe vitamins and minerals, specifically in nutrition. Micronutrients are taken in via your diet and provide your body with the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to function properly.
Without enough of these vital nutrients, you can become ill and even suffer from long-term health issues. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help keep your body supplied with the nutrients it needs.
Let's dive a bit more into the functions, benefits, and why micronutrients help us live happy and healthy lives!
Vitamins are organic compounds that are easily digestible with either water or fats. Vitamins help your body to break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, as well as regulate other bodily functions.
Vitamins are classified into two groups: fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E, and K) and water-soluble (vitamins C and B). Getting an adequate amount of vitamins from your diet is essential for good health.
The vitamins essential to proper human body function include:
B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate),
These vitamins help the body in various ways, including vision health, helping the body to make energy and use macronutrients, supports your immune system, and even protects cells from damage.
WHERE TO FIND VITAMINS?
Take a peek at the chart below to see the best sources of both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.
Aids vision, skin health, and immunity
Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, pumpkin, apricots, peppers, eggs
Calcium absorption, bone health, and immunity
Fish, oysters, egg yolks, fortified milk/yogurt/orange juice
An antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage
Sunflower seeds, almonds, avocado, spinach, butternut squash, olive oil, mango
Helps blood clotting and bone health
Kale, spinach, collard greens, parsley, broccoli, green tea, soybean oil
Nerve and muscle function, food/energy conversion
Whole grains, meat, fish, artichokes, broccoli, legumes, sunflower seeds, nuts
Growth and red blood cell production, food/energy conversion
Beef liver, eggs, milk, almonds, mushrooms, spinach, kale
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Skin, nerve, and digestive health, food/energy conversion
Tuna, chicken breast, peanuts, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, potatoes, avocado
Mushrooms, yogurt, avocado, eggs, sunflower seeds, broccoli, cauliflower
Bananas, beef liver, tuna, potatoes, sunflower seeds, carrots, spinach
Metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids, and glucose. Supports healthy skin & hair
Yogurt, almonds, eggs, cauliflower, cheese, salmon, mushrooms, sweet potatoes
Production of red blood cells, aid in DNA synthesis
Spinach, asparagus, lentils, beans, avocado, broccoli, beef liver, peanuts
Aids red blood cell creation, helps nerve and mental function
Beef liver, tuna, salmon, trout, cottage cheese, milk, eggs
Wound healing, aids the absorption of iron, helps the production of collagen
Bell peppers, citrus fruits (oranges, strawberries, kiwi), broccoli, tomatoes, brussels sprouts
The human body needs a variety of minerals in order to properly function. These are inorganic, meaning they come from the soil or water, and can be broken into two types, macrominerals, and trace minerals.
Macrominerals are minerals that are needed in large amounts by the body and are required for proper growth and development, healthy bones, and the proper functioning of the body's organs.
The primary macrominerals, their purpose, and primary sources are:
helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth
Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), kale, spinach, salmon, almonds, figs, okra, broccoli
regulates electrolyte balance, aids in proper functioning of cells, nerves, and organs
Dairy products, eggs, olives, soy sauce, celery, cauliflower, tomatoes, legumes, nuts
muscle and nerve function
Spinach, kale, nuts & seeds, avocado, bananas, black & kidney beans, whole grains
important for energy production
Black & kidney beans, soybeans, dairy products, almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, whole grains, potatoes, fish, liver
helps regulate blood pressure
Sweet potatoes, spinach, avocado, white beans, bananas, salmon, mushrooms
helps the body maintain proper fluid balance
Salt, soy sauce, olives, bacon, pickles, cheese, beef jerky
helps create amino acids, aids in metabolism of fats, and provides support to the immune system
Eggs, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, nuts & seeds
Trace minerals are essential elements that are found in small amounts in the body. They are important for the normal functioning of cells and organs, and for overall health.
Aids in connective tissue formation, brain and nervous system function
Seafood, organ meats, nuts and seeds, whole grains, legumes, mushrooms
Development of teeth and bones
Ffluoridated water, tea, seafood, raisins
Iodized salt, seafood, milk, eggs, yogurt
Provides oxygen to muscles, aids in hormone creation
Red meat, poultry, fish, beans, spinach
Aids in the metabolism of carbs, amino acids, cholesterol
Nuts, legumes, whole grains, tea, spinach
Aids in thyroid health, fertility & reproduction, protects cells from oxidative damage
Brazil nuts, seafood, eggs, mushrooms, sunflower seeds
Supports immune health, wound healing, skin/hair/nail health
Shellfish, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, dairy products
It is clear that micronutrients are essential for maintaining good health. Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods will ensure that you are getting the micronutrients your body needs. Additionally, taking a daily multivitamin can help to ensure you are meeting your daily requirements. With the right micronutrient intake, you will be on your way to better health and well-being.
Streit, M. L. S. (2018, September 27). Micronutrients: Types, Functions, Benefits and More. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/micronutrients
Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). (n.d.). https://ods.od.nih.gov/
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