Micro-nutrients are different from macro-nutrients because they are necessary only in very tiny amounts. However, micro-nutrients are essential for good health, and micro-nutrient deficiencies can cause serious health problems. Micro-nutrients are necessary for the healthy functioning of all your body's systems, from bone growth to brain function.
Micro-nutrients and their role
Micro-nutrients are what are commonly referred to as "vitamins and minerals." Micro-nutrients include such minerals as flouride, selenium, sodium, iodine, copper and zinc. They also include vitamins such as vitamin C, A, D, E and K, as well as the B-complex vitamins.
As mentioned, micronutrients are different from macronutrients as your body needs only very small quantities of them for survival. However, if your body doesn't get the small quantities of micronutrients that it requires, serious health problems can result.
Micronutrients are vital to the proper functioning of all of your body's systems. Sodium, for example, is responsible for maintaining the proper fluid balance in your body; it helps fluids pass through cell walls and helps regulate appropriate pH levels in your blood. Here are some of the ways that other micronutrients help maintain your body's systems:
- Manganese promotes bone formation and energy production, and helps your body metabolize the macronutrients, protein, carbohydrate and fat.
- Magnesium helps your heart maintain its normal rhythm. It helps your body convert glucose (blood sugar) into energy, and it is necessary for the metabolisation of the micronutrients calcium and vitamin C.
- Iron helps your body produce red blood cells and lymphocytes.
- Iodine helps your thyroid gland develop and function. It helps your body to metabolize fats, and promotes energy production and growth.
- Chloride helps regulate water and electrolytes within your cells, as well as helping to maintain appropriate cellular pH.
Getting Enough Vitamins and Minerals
Getting enough micronutrients in your diet isn't hard. Eat a balanced diet including plenty of nuts, whole grains and green leafy vegetables. Eat plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables, like red cherries, purple grapes, yellow bananas and orange carrots. The more colourful your diet is the better.
It's easy to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Eat fruit salads for dessert instead of sweets. Prepare your own homemade soups and salads, and include two or more vegetable side dishes with each meal.
Micronutrient Deficiency Disorders
Micronutrient deficiency can lead to some serious health problems. Here are some of the most common micronutrient deficiencies:
- · Iodine deficiency is the world's foremost cause of brain damage. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can result in stillbirth, miscarriage and irreversible mental retardation. Fortunately, it's easily prevented by the use of iodized salt.
- · Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness in children; in pregnant women it can cause night blindness and increases maternal mortality rates.
- · Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world. Over 30% of the world's population suffers from iron deficiency anemia.
Remember, try to ingest the proper amount of micronutrients to ensure optimal health and prevent deficiency disorders!
Look out for my next blog: 10 Ways to raise your Metabolism
Rich Palmer PT
Personal Trainer Services Sutton Coldfield
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