Micronutrients play an important role in overall health. They work with macronutrients, and on their own to support optimal functioning of the body.
Most people get sufficient macronutrients in their diet, that is CHO, protein and fat.
However, micronutrient deficiencies (vitamins and minerals) are all too common.
Some health experts even suggest that every symptom, illness and disease stems from one or other micronutrient deficiency.
Whats more, you may need more micronutrients in your diet than you think. In fact, studies show that more than 40% of adults are deficient in calcium, magnesium, as well as Vitamins A, C, D and K.
Older men tend to be at higher risk for micronutrient deficiencies. The main reason is that their dietary habits tend to change as they age. Their appetite diminishes, or they develop gastrointestinal symptoms/sensitivities from some types of foods, and often, they focus only on foods that are easy to prepare. All this can lead to deficiencies in some key micronutrients, resulting in a multitude of symptoms including overall low energy and vitality.
Micronutrients can be divided into four categories: water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, microminerals, and trace minerals.
Water-soluble vitamins. These vitamins, which dissolve in water, include the B vitamins and vitamin C. Other than vitamin B12, most are not stored in the body and any amounts not used get flushed out in the urine. That means they must be replenished regularly. Their main job is to produce energy, but they also help prevent cell damage from metabolic stress and are needed to create red blood cells.
Good food sources: Whole grains, eggs, leafy greens (such as spinach), fish, lean meat, citrus fruits, and bell peppers.
Fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat, but not water, and can be stored in your liver and fatty tissue for future use. These include vitamins A, D, E, and K. They help protect vision, strengthen the immune system, support blood clotting, and provide antioxidants to fight inflammation.
Good food sources: Leafy greens, almonds, sweet potatoes, and soy products.
Microminerals. Microminerals are common minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. They are necessary for many bodily functions, such as maintaining muscle and bone strength and controlling blood pressure.
Good food sources: Leafy greens, black beans, lentils, bananas, and fish (such as salmon).
Trace minerals. These include iron, manganese, copper, zinc, and selenium. They are needed in smaller amounts than microminerals and help with feeding oxygen to muscles, supporting nervous system function, healing wounds, and defending cells against damage from stress.
Good food sources: Oysters, spinach, pecans, walnuts and cashews. You can also try this Micronutrient & fibre rich smoothie recipe below.
So how can you make sure you get sufficient micronutrients from your diet?
First and foremost, optimize your gut or digestive health. After all, it is the gut/digestive tract that is solely responsible for extracting and absorbing micronutrients from food. Even if you eat a healthy diverse diet, a compromised gut is unable to efficiently extract the vitamins and minerals the body requires. For gut health coaching, contact Chantal Du Chenne: Chantal@healthtrac.global
It is unrealistic to break down your daily meals into quantities of macronutrients and micronutrients. So, a great way to get the right balance of both macros and micros is to follow a plant-based diet and to vary your intake of different foods.
A plant-based diet serves up a range of foods, such as whole fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and plant sources of protein, along with healthy fats from sources like nuts, seeds and olives.
Instead of routinely buying the same foods and rotating through a stable of dishes, focus on “eating a rainbow”: add more deeply colorful foods in red, green, orange, and yellow to almost every daily meal.
Challenge yourself to try a different color each day. If you can keep your choices interesting and varied, you are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, and in the process increase your intake of micronutrients.
Try this delicious and nutritious Micronutrient & fibre rich smoothie.
Combine all ingredients in a blender or nutri-bullet until well blended.
Serve and enjoy 🙂
BIO: Chantal is a B.Sc.Hons Allied Health with an international diploma in Nutrition and Sports Nutrition. Chantal is a passionate Gut Health advocate & holistic Lifestyle Coach, specialising in the improvement and management of the chronic diseases of lifestyle, the illnesses and diseases associated with dietary excess and their relationship to leaky gut and dysbiosis (imbalance) of the gut microbiome. These conditions include IBS, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, overweight, obesity, acne, eczema, depression, anxiety, auto-immune, hormone imbalance, cognitive decline etc.
Over her 25 year career, Chantal has held various positions within the health and wellness industry – including 10 years as the Executive Head of Vodacom’s corporate wellness & mobile health programs. Chantal is the owner/ founder of the DripBar which offers vitamin and mineral drip therapy in improving micronutrient deficiencies. She is also the founder/owner of a Kombucha brewery which produces the brand of organic green tea ‘booch’ called theFarmacy.
Chantal is a competitive cyclist, a plant strong vegan and mom to two grown up girls.
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This blog post contains information that is not designed to take the place of,
substitute, or replace any form and method of professional or medical advice
and treatment or medicine. All content is the author’s opinion and is not
intended to diagnose and remedy. The facts and figures contained in this
document are presented solely for informational and educational purposes