We talk a lot about macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats), especially with regard to a weight loss diet. But micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are important, too. In fact, some are essential to some vital bodily processes!
For example, sodium and potassium contribute to healthy blood pressure and keep our hearts beating steadily. Other micronutrients contribute to healthy gums and teeth, strong bones, resilient skin, immune system function, and so on. Micronutrients actually contribute to some of our most critical anti-aging processes, such as:
- Turning nutrients into energy
- Growing new tissues
- Neutralizing free radical damage
- Turning genes on or off
- Maintaining organ systems
As you work to improve your health, it makes sense to take a second look at micronutrients.
Fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are stored in fat cells. That’s good, because your body can stockpile them for later use. But that also makes these vitamins potentially toxic in high doses, because they are stored rather than excreted when you consume high amounts. You can’t really overdose on fat soluble vitamins from food sources, but take care not to go overboard if you decide to supplement.
Water-soluble vitamins. These are excreted through urine, rather than stored in the body, so you need to pay close attention to water-soluble vitamins. You could easily become deficient in:
- Vitamin C
- B vitamins
- Pantothenic acid
Minerals. Essential minerals include:
Although you only need trace amounts of some minerals, each plays a role in the body’s critical functions.
Okay, that’s overwhelming! But don’t worry; we don’t actually expect you to monitor your levels of all of these vitamins and minerals, and drive yourself crazy trying to consume enough of each one daily. The best way to ensure that your body is getting all of the micronutrients it needs is to simply eat a varied, balanced diet. We consume each food group for a reason! And with regard to fruits and vegetables, remember to “eat the rainbow” by including foods of each color in your diet.
If you’re particularly worried, you might be interested to know that vitamin D, calcium, and choline are some of the more common deficiencies. And if you don’t eat animal products, you should take care to supplement with B12, iron, zinc, calcium, and sodium.
For more information on micronutrients and how they contribute to your overall health, let’s discuss your diet at our next appointment. We will help you identify any potential weaknesses in your eating plan, and help you learn how to obtain these vital nutrients.