Nutrients come in two forms: micronutrients and macronutrients. Most of us realize that being fit and healthy means getting proper nutrition, but when it comes to applying that to our diets, it’s not always easy. How do we know the difference between the nutrients, and how do we make sure we’re getting what we need?
What Are Micronutrients?
Micronutrients are the nutrients you need in small, almost trace amounts, to sustain healthy life. They produce enzymes, hormones, and other substances you need for critical growth and development (macronutrients are the opposite, requiring larger quantities for optimal body function). All nutrients contribute to healthy cell function, but micronutrients specifically protect against toxic reactions within the body and help optimize digestion.
What Constitutes A Micronutirent?
There are vitamins, amino acids, and minerals that fall into the micronutrient category. Just some of the dietary micronutrient minerals include iron, copper, zinc, chromium, Iodine and usually are needed in amounts less than 100 micrograms a day. Micronutrient vitamins include A, B complex, C, D, E, , Biotin, Caroteoids, and Folate. Of those, A,D, E, and K are fat soluble vitamins that dissolve in fat and are absorbed from the intestines into the body.
How Do You Know You’re Getting Enough Micronutrients?
Micronutrient deficiencies are typically found in low-income countries where diets are poor and lack the essential fruits, vegetables, and whole grains necessary for good nutrition. Eating a “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables, meaning choosing a variety of colors, ensures you’ll get the micronutrients you need. Those fruits, vegetables, and grains will also give you the critical fiber needed to help your body digest and absorb the nutrients, then eliminate unhealthy toxins and waste. If you participate in a low-fat diet, have significantly decreased your fruits and vegetable intake, or are on a strenuous exercise program, you may need to use a dietary supplement to replace the micronutrients your body.