🥑 Discover Why Micronutrients are Essential to Your Health
You are likely familiar with macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates, and fats – which all food consists of, as mainstream diets generally involve manipulation of one or more of these macronutrients (Atkins, keto, paleo, low-fat). Something you may not be as familiar with are micronutrients, which are essential to your overall health and well-being.
Vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function are known as micronutrients because of the minuscule amount of these substances the body needs. While only small amounts of micronutrients are needed, this does not mean that they are not important as the consequences of not getting enough micronutrients are severe. Micronutrients work in conjunction with macronutrients to keep your body functioning and they are crucial to your mental and physical well-being.
There are approximately 30 essential vitamins and minerals that your body cannot manufacture in sufficient quantities and these must come from food or supplements. Micronutrients help to maintain brain function and development, cellular functioning, boost your immune system, and support the growth, maintenance, and function of muscles, bones, nerves, and skin. Micronutrients help to fend off disease, and failing to get the small quantities can contribute to a number of major illness and diseases, such as osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Vitamins are organic compounds produced by plants and animals that can be broken down where as minerals are inorganic substances that exist in soil or water and cannot be broken down. Eating plants or animals allows your body to consume the vitamins they produced or the minerals they absorbed.
Vitamins and minerals are classified in four categories: water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, microminerals, and trace minerals. Water-soluble vitamins are vitamins that dissolve in water are not easily stored in the body. Examples of water-soluble vitamins are Vitamin C and B’s (B1, B2, B3, B5, etc.). On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins do not dissolve in water and are best absorbed when consumed with a source of fat. The vitamins are stored in the liver or fatty tissue to be used in the future and examples of fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. Microminerals are the minerals that are needed in larger quantities than trace minerals to help the body perform specific functions. Examples of microminerals include: calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium, and sulfur. Trace minerals are need in very small amounts to also support essential bodily functions and examples include: Iron, copper, zinc, manganese, and iodine.
The best way to get an adequate supply of micronutrients is through a well-rounded diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, legumes, healthy fats, and protein. Consuming sufficient micronutrients will help your body function properly, keeping you healthy, happy, and able to fight off diseases.
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