Micronutrients…Are You Getting Your Daily Dose?

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micro7Nutrients are chemical compounds that are found in all the foods we eat. All the functions of your body systems like breathing, thinking and even your heart beating requires energy and this energy comes from nutrients.

Nutrients can be broken down into micronutrients and macro-nutrients.

The body does not require large doses of micronutrients…they are considered trace elements because they are found in smaller concentrations as opposed to macro-nutrients.  Manganese, zinc, iron, copper, molybdenum chlorine, nickel and boron are all micronutrients. They are used in the body to facilitate certain functions like essential metabolic and chemical reactions or providing antioxidant effects.

Micronutrients are the secret to incredible health and even have the power to restore health in later years. Although seemingly small and insignificant outside the body they become super power houses against disease inside the body.

Vitamins and minerals are the main players in the micro nutrient world and these can be broken down into 4 different classifications of micro nutrients:

Water-soluble vitamins: The body cannot store water-soluble vitamins so they must be included in your daily diet. Vegetables, fruits, different types of protein and whole grains all contain water-soluble vitamins. Any excess of these vitamins is excreted in the urine. Examples are the antioxidant Vitamin C, folic acid, and some of the B – complex vitamins such as Vitamin B 6 and B12.

Fat-soluble: These vitamins are critical players and support bone health, proper functioning of the nervous system, heart health, cellular development and immunity. You can find these vitamins in a variety of carbohydrates, fats and foods that are rich with protein. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, the body does store fat-soluble vitamins in the liver and body fat so you do not have to consume these daily (of course you always want to make sure you are getting the proper amount of nutrition into your body daily).

Examples of this type of vitamin are: Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. Although Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin studies indicate that levels of this vitamin can be low in the body even though it is stored in fat and the best way to supplement your Vitamin D is to get your daily dose of sunshine.

Different sources of fat-soluble vitamins are leafy green veggies like spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, seeds, nuts and vegetable oils. Naturally occurring Vitamin D is only found in a few places such as fatty fish like salmon and tuna, egg yolks and mushrooms.

Trace Minerals: Trace minerals are minerals that the body requires but in small amounts. There are many micro-minerals that are essential for good health. Examples are iron, copper, chromium, manganese, fluoride, iodine, molybdenum, selenium and zinc. Three of these, zinc, selenium and copper are sole antioxidants and critical players in maintaining good health. You can find these types of minerals in meats of all kinds, eggs, whole grains, soy produce and seafood.

Macro-minerals or major minerals: The last of the 4 kinds of micronutrients these minerals are needed by the body in much larger quantities of 100 milligrams daily. Sodium, chloride, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sulfur and magnesium are all macro-nutrients. Some of these minerals such as calcium contribute to the structural component of the body (calcium in bones) while others are key electrolytes, mandatory for the proper functioning of nerves, heart and other major organs. They can be found in dairy products, cabbage, kale, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and potatoes.

It’s a sad but true fact that 1/10 of the disease burden the population suffers can be traced back to a deficiency of micronutrients. Because you cannot store many of these vital minerals and vitamins it is imperative that you pay diligent attention to your daily diet to assure that you are getting what your body requires for maximum health and vitality.

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