Micronutrients

What are micronutrients? Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals our body needs to stay healthy. They are called micronutrients because they are needed in much smaller amounts than macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats). But even

What are micronutrients?

Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals our body needs to stay healthy. They are called micronutrients because they are needed in much smaller amounts than macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats).

But even if micronutrients are needed only in small amounts, it is vitally important to consume them every day because, with very few exceptions among vitamins, micronutrients cannot be produced by the body.

Given their importance in supporting the normal function of our immune system (Copper / Folate / Selenium / Vitamin A / Vitamin B12 / Zinc / Vitamin C / Iron / Vitamin B6 / Vitamin D) as well as reducing fatigue (Magnesium / Riboflavin / Vitamin B12 / Vitamin C / Folate / Iron / Niacin / Pantothenic Acid / Vitamin B6) and protection against oxidative stress (Copper / Manganese / Riboflavin / Selenium / Vitamin C / Vitamin E / Zinc), it is easy to understand why it is vital to meet the needs daily intake of micronutrients in our modern lifestyle.

Although we combine the terms vitamins and minerals, they are very different from a structural point of view, and their roles in the body also differ.

What are vitamins?

Vitamins are needed to allow the production of hundreds of chemical reactions in the body, which are the core of physiological processes, such as energy metabolism (Riboflavin) or blood clotting (Vitamin K).

There are two types of vitamins:

  • WATER SOLUBLE
    • They are easily absorbed into the aqueous environment of the digestive tract.
    • They are not stored in the body, so we must consume them daily.
  • SOLUBLE IN FAT
    • It requires small amounts of dietary fats to be absorbed.
    • Our body has the ability to store these types of vitamins.

Water soluble vitamins

There are nine water-soluble vitamins.

They are not stored in our body, so we must consume them daily. These vitamins are easily lost when we cook food or just by leaving a food at room temperature, so we must always make sure that we eat fresh seasonal foods and we must try not to cook them too much.

It is recommended to eat raw vegetables when possible or cooked a little, to avoid the loss of soluble vitamins. It is also a good idea to reuse water from vegetables cooked in other dishes, such as soups or sauces.

Fat-soluble vitamins

Among the fat-soluble vitamins we find vitamin A, D, E and K. These vitamins are stored when the amount consumed is not necessary, so we must pay attention to the quantities, so as not to overload.

Vitamin A – is found in products of animal origin (dairy, fish), but we can also take it from vegetarian sources (orange-colored fruits and vegetables). Vitamin A maintains the normal function of the immune system and helps maintain healthy skin and normal vision.

Vitamin D – can be produced by the human body when exposed to sunlight. But there are some good food sources, such as fatty fish, eggs and fortified products, such as breakfast cereals. Vitamin D has the role of maintaining the health of the skeletal system and contributes to the normal absorption of calcium and phosphorus.

Vitamin E – is found mainly in nuts, seeds, avocados and vegetable oils. Contributes to the protection of cells against oxidative stress.

Vitamin K – is found in vegetables, oils and cereals with green leaves. Contributes to normal blood clotting.

micronutrients

What are minerals?

Minerals are needed in minimal quantities for the growth, proper development and physiology of an organism. Minerals are also nutrients needed daily for various functions, such as maintaining healthy bones and teeth (calcium), as well as supporting various processes in the body. Magnesium contributes to normal energy metabolism. Iron contributes to the normal transport of oxygen in the body).

Minerals such as calcium and phosphorus help maintain healthy bones, but minerals also play regulatory roles, contribute to electrolyte balance (magnesium), normal muscle function (calcium, magnesium and potassium) and maintain normal blood pressure (potassium). ).

The human body needs about 20 essential elements to function properly. Essential minerals are divided into two categories: Macroelements and Microelements.

  • Macroelements – which are needed by healthy adults in amounts that usually exceed 100 mg per day – include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur and chloride.
  • Microelements – include – iron, zinc and copper. These are essential, but they are needed in much smaller quantities.

Where do we find micronutrients?

Different foods contain different vitamins and minerals, so it is important to eat a wide range of foods, including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, lean proteins and whole grains.

The human body needs specific amounts of vitamins and minerals to function properly and stay healthy, and needs vary with age and gender.

With today’s hectic lifestyle, we sometimes strive for a balanced diet that provides us with all the vitamins and minerals we need in sufficient quantities. Complementary to a varied and healthy diet, vitamin and mineral supplements or fortified foods can help us get recommended amounts of micronutrients daily.

This article has come to an end, and I hope I have managed to make you understand what micronutrients are and especially why we need them. Let’s move on to find out what proteins are and their importance.

 

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