The Importance of Micronutrients.

**This is a synopsis of an article published in Harvard Health Publications

In order for our bodies to function properly, we require a steady supply of raw materials known as macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients come from proteins, fats and carbohydrates in our food sources. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals we absorb from the foods we eat, and are essential for keeping our immune system healthy and preventing disease.

Essential micronutrients are comprised of 30 vitamins and minerals that our bodies cannot produce on their own. Due to our supply of fortified foods in the U.S., vitamin and mineral deficiencies are uncommon. However, a diet void or deficient in vital micronutrients is shown to contribute to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis. 

How can you ensure you are getting enough micronutrients in your diet?

 “You should ideally try to meet your vitamin and mineral needs through your diet rather than supplements,” says Dr. Howard D. Sesso, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Medical Editor of the Special Health Report Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals: Choosing the foods and nutrients you need to stay healthy.

Most supplements on the market contain excessive dosages of micronutrients, therefore, it is best to focus on eating a balanced diet filled with an array of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean sources of protein and healthy fats found in nuts and olive oil.

Here is a list of micronutrients and foods to add to your diet:

  • Vitamin B6 — Chicken, cereals, bananas, pork loin and potatoes (with skin). 
  • Vitamin C  — Tomatoes, citrus fruit, sweet peppers, broccoli and kiwi. 
  • Vitamin E — Sunflower seeds and oil, almonds, safflower oil and peanut butter. 
  • Magnesium — Whole wheat, legumes, nuts and seeds. 
  • Zinc — Oysters, beef shank, Alaskan king crab and turkey (dark meat)

If you are a vegetarian, Mayo Clinic provides a list of micronutrient food sources here.  

Continue reading the full article here.

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