What Are Micronutrients and Why Are They So Important

Post by Kristie Santana (certified life coach)

Did you take your micronutrients today? If you’re eating a well-balanced diet, chances are you’re getting most of what you need, but maybe not all. 

Did you know that our bodies are unable to produce more than 30 vitamins and minerals in the amounts that are necessary for us to thrive? These vitamins and minerals make up the essential micronutrients that we need to maintain things like good blood circulation, healthy skin, and robust brain function, and to make sure our immune system is doing what it should be doing. Despite the fact that our bodies only require small amounts of these micronutrients, a deficiency can lead to some pretty serious conditions, like chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, and stunted growth in children.

Let’s Get into the Science

Micronutrients break down into four categories: fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins, microminerals, and trace minerals. Water-soluble vitamins need to be replaced daily, which is why we take things like vitamin C and B-complex vitamins every day. Fat-soluble vitamins would be vitamins A, D, E and K. These accumulate and remain in the body much longer and don’t require a daily dosage. Next, we have our micronutrients, the five most important being vitamins B6, C, and E, magnesium, and zinc. These are critical for maintaining immune function.

Finally, our bodies require micro-minerals or trace minerals. There are nine in total including copper, chromium, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc. You probably recognize most of those and understand what their function is, but just for fun, molybdenum is essential for removing dangerous toxins from your body; selenium helps to reduce inflammation by reducing the oxidative stress in your blood; and manganese aids in the formation of connective tissue and bones, and contributes to the manufacturing of sex hormones. The absence of any of these trace minerals can wreak havoc on our bodies and cause life-threatening conditions but are only required to be consumed in very small amounts.

What Are Some Important Micronutrient Sources

Most of us are able to get our recommended daily and weekly doses of vitamins and minerals just by eating a balanced diet, but for others, finding those nutrient-dense foods can be challenging. Getting what we need in pill form is more efficient. If you’re looking to bolster your essential vitamin and mineral intake, here are a few of the most important micronutrients and where you can find them:

  • Calcium: Dairy, plant milks (almond, cashew), leafy greens, salmon, fortified orange juice.
  • Chromium: Potatoes, apples, bananas, green beans, turkey and dairy
  • Magnesium: Broccoli, spinach, pumpkin seeds, whole wheat bread, legumes
  • Manganese: Nuts, whole grains, tea leafy greens
  • Molybdenum: Lentils, beans, green beans, cheese, yogurt, almonds
  • Selenium: Seafood, walnuts and organ meats
  • Copper: Nuts, seeds, shellfish, prunes, whole grains
  • Phosphorus: Soy, nuts, quinoa, lentils, meat, dairy
  • Potassium: Whole grains, beans, legumes, bananas, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes

Now, before you load up on those micronutrients, you need to remember that some vitamins and minerals are not best friends. That is, they can either complement or counteract each other. For example, if you’re eating a particular food to help you with the absorption of minerals like iron, you will want to eat something that’s high in vitamin C at the same time. But if you take vitamin C either in pill form or a vitamin C-rich food, and then eat a copper-rich food, the vitamin C is going to slow the copper absorption. You want to make sure your body is getting the most out of every food you consume.

Every nanosecond, our body is host to millions of biochemical collisions, each one responsible for a vital function. And in each of these reactions, essential vitamins and minerals play a role. Everything from our heartbeat, expansion and deflation of our lungs, tissue maintenance and bone growth, to immune function and the filtration of toxins from our organs.

We may only require trace amounts of these micronutrients, but the slightest deficiency can start a devastating chain reaction. If at any point you feel like your health isn’t where it should be, it’s always advisable to check in with your doctor, nutritionist or dietician to get a baseline. Through some very simple blood tests and an analysis of your diet, they will be able to determine where you’re at and whether you need to add any supplements to your diet to correct any deficiencies.

Post Author : Kristie Santana is a certified life coach with 15 years of experience in the coaching field. She is the founder of the National Coach Academy and a co-founder of Life Coach Path, an online educational resource that provides guidance for aspiring coaches looking to find the best coaching certification.

Foodies100 Index of UK Food Blogs
Foodies100

Implementing a Healthy Diet and Exercise Into Your Lifestyle

Your health and wellbeing is of the utmost importance. Without your health, you can experience pain, discomfort and all sorts of other problems that can reduce your overall quality of life. The good news is that there are certain ways that you can help to improve your health. The main two areas of your lifestyle that you could improve upon? Diet and exercise. Here’s some more information on these two areas!

Diet

Let’s start out by looking at diet. We all know that a healthy, balanced diet is essential for overall health and wellbeing. But right now, all too many of us still eat excess levels of junk food, takeaways, fast food and other options that contain high levels of saturated fat, salt and sugar. Instead, we should be planning our diets more carefully, ensuring that they meet our recommended calorie count and that they contain all of the food groups and nutrients that we need to thrive. To maintain a healthy balanced diet, you should start out by making sure that you are eating your recommended calories each day. Put simply, calories are a unit of measurement for the energy that different foods provide us with. Different individuals will require different amounts of calories, as factors such as age, sex and activity levels can all impact the number you can consume. If you are a healthy weight, the guide below should give you some good insight into how many calories you should be consuming on a daily basis.

  • Children aged 2 to 8 – 1000 to 1400 calories
  • Girls aged 9 to 13 – 1400 to 1600 calories
  • Boys aged 9 to 13 – 1600 to 2000 calories
  • Active women aged 14 to 30 – 2400 calories
  • Sedentary women aged 14 to 30 – 1800 to 2000 calories
  • Active men aged 14 to 30 – 2800 to 3200 calories
  • Sedentary men aged 14 to 30 – 2000 to 2600 calories
  • Active adults over 30 – 2000 to 3000 calories
  • Sedentary adults over 30 – 1600 to 2400 calories

If you are not a healthy weight, you may want to consult a doctor. They may want to take your BMI. You can see how bmi is calculated here. However, be aware that BMI isn’t always the best way of determining overall health. In some cases, individuals with a lot of muscle mass may show as obese when they are actually in good shape. Your doctor will be able to discuss this further with you. You also need to make sure that your calorie consumption is made up of healthy foods, including fruit and vegetables, whole grains, protein, healthy fats and oils and more.

Exercise

The average adult should get one hundred and fifty minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week, or seventy five minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week. But not too many people actually achieve this goal. Why? Well, many people try to force themselves to do forms of exercise that they don’t find fun or enjoyable and end up giving up as a result. Instead, find exercise that you enjoy. This could be a sports team, a fitness class, the gym, personal training sessions, dance, yoga, pilates or anything else!

As you can see, there are a number of positive changes that you can make to your lifestyle to help improve your health and wellbeing. Hopefully, the above information will help to inspire you to get started!

Foodies100 Index of UK Food Blogs
Foodies100

3 Things That Have Been Proven To Relax Us

pixabay

We would all like to have a magic wand to wave and make ourselves, calm in moments of stress and anguish. Yet, the only thing that comes close to this is the power meditating monks might possess. Not everyone can attain their level of zen, but we can achieve something that’s quite close. There are some ways we can slow our mind down and speed up our healing process to soothe our nerves and relax. We have explored 3 different ways you can elevate your mind and decrease your stress. All of these strategies have been proven to work!

Ambient music

You may have noticed that ambient music has made a comeback on video-sharing websites such as YouTube. Something about a single tone, held for a long time, quietly relaxes the mind. It’s because our mind tries to find the pitch and tone of this note, and also, because we expect a note to follow this note. It’s all because we have become accustomed to modern, fast-paced music. Our mind puts the handbrake on, searching for ‘what happens next’. It’s also due to minimal melodies which are simple to follow, easy to predict and they are also neutral in their emotive response. We don’t feel a sense of heightened dread or angst, nor elation and pleasantness.

A pop-culture method

Perhaps an old but gold method is more effective for you. There are some classic ‘herbal’ ways like these that you could explore. The green stuff is known to make us feel a lot more relaxed as it seeps into our muscles and releases a chemical that slows down our motor-neuron activity. It’s quite common for our muscles to actually be supplied with more blood as the tension that would otherwise restrict red blood cells to enter into our system is no longer prohibiting this. It’s also going to slow down the injury process. So if you have had a long day in which you have suffered a force impact, such as the type in football, then bruising will slow down and healing will begin sooner.

ASMR revolution 

You may have noticed there are thousands of ASMR videos online. But why? What is ASMR? It’s an acronym for Autonomous sensory meridian response. Tingling, scratching, patting, or massaging sounds are soothing and relaxing for a number of reasons. They are non-threatening sounds, which are also enjoyable because of how subtle and simple they are. This causes our brain to release endorphins which obviously, makes us feel splendid!

Many people choose to listen and watch ASMR videos to help them sleep. This is a double-edged sword as if the action in the video is complex it will draw your attention. But if the sound is consistent and clear, you will be put to sleep in no time. Use with caution but it has been proven to relax.

Everyone needs a way to just relax at the end of the day. Instead of experimenting, you can rely on these 3 methods to help you nod off to sleep or slow your mind down.

Foodies100 Index of UK Food Blogs
Foodies100