Basic fact about Micronutrients

It is important that we consume a broad amount of minerals and vitamins in our diet. The word micro stands for ‘small’ and that gives us a clue that we still need them as much as Macronutrients, but in smaller quantities. Micronutrients can be put into 3 categories: water soluble-vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins and minerals.

Water-soluble vitamins are absorbed directly into the bloodstream as food is digested. They benefit our bodies by producing energy, building protein and cells, supporting blood vessel walls, as well as forming a base for teeth and bones – just to mention a few.

Fat-soluble vitamins enter via the lymph channels in the intestinal wall and that requires fat in our diet to be properly absorbed. Benefits of these vitamins include building bones, protecting vision, supporting other vitamin absorption, and protecting the body.

Minerals can be divided into two categories: major minerals and trace minerals. The difference between these groups is that the body stores more or less of them. However, they are both equally important for the body. Major minerals include: Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium and Sulphur. These are stored in larger quantities in our bodies and they all play a different role. Trace minerals include: Chromium, Copper, Fluoride, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, and Zinc. The trace minerals are stored in smaller quantities but are still just as important.

Fibre is also important to include in your diet but it doesn’t count as a nutrient because it is not digested in the gut, absorbed by the body or utilised for energy. However, fibre helps our digestive system and helps the absorption of other nutrients.

To be sure you get all the vitamins and minerals, focus on a balanced diet with good sources of protein, carbohydrates, fat and greens. Try to build your plate with different colours from vegetables and also include fruit in your diet. You can also get necessary micronutrients from supplements but always consult with your doctor beforehand. Consuming too many vitamins can have a negative effect, such as slow down the intake of the natural source of that vitamin or mineral that you are eating in tablet form. Also some vitamins needs other vitamins to be absorbed and stored properly, for example vitamin A needs vitamin E. You should be able to get all these by maintaining a well-balanced diet.


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