The Little-Known Secrets of Micronutrients:
- How many micronutrientsdo you take each day? Chances are, you probably don’t even know what micronutrients are—let alone if you’re getting enough of them!
- But there’s no need to feel ashamed, because even health professionals sometimes don’t have a clear understanding of these vitamins and minerals, which only compounds their confusion when they try to explain their importance to patients.
- In this article, we break down the basics of micronutrients, including what they are and what they do in your body to keep you healthy and fit.
Carbs are important in nutrition because they provide your body with energy. There are many different types of carbohydrates (including glucose, fructose, sucrose, lactose, and cellulose), which all break down differently in your body.
The most common carbs you’ll see on food labels are monosaccharides and disaccharides; these include glucose, fructose, sucrose (which is table sugar), galactose (found in milk), and lactose (found in milk).
Complex carbohydrates are chains or branched polysaccharides containing three or more simple sugars linked together.
For example, starch is a complex carbohydrate made up of long chains of glucose molecules. Cellulose—the cell walls that help form plant cells—is another example.
All fats are not created equal. Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, omega-3s, omega-6s—fat has many forms and plenty of specialized roles in your body.
On top of serving as a primary fuel source for most cells in your body (along with carbs), fatty acids also help control inflammation levels throughout your body.
When you’re running low on fat, your body increases its production to keep things moving smoothly. For example, when you go for a run or even bike ride without eating enough fat beforehand, it can cause a decrease in glucose utilization—which helps keep muscles fueled properly so they don’t get fatigued too quickly.
In other words, fat is essential to athletic performance. This is why athletes often use fish oil supplements or other sources of essential fatty acids like flaxseed oil to improve their performance and recovery times between workouts.
Fat is also important for heart health, brain function, and maintaining healthy skin! If you’re looking to add more healthy fats into your diet, try adding some nuts like almonds or walnuts into yogurt parfaits; avocado slices onto salads; or pumpkin seeds onto oatmeal.
You know you need it—but do you really? While your body does need protein to grow, repair itself, fight disease, regulate bodily processes, lose weight and sustain life, most people consume more than they need.
To ensure that your diet is still balanced even if you’re consuming a little more protein than recommended by nutritionists—you should be fine as long as your other foods are healthy.
The key is moderation. If you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle, aim for 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day (0.36 grams per pound).
If you’re sedentary or recovering from an illness, try to get in at least 0.4 grams per kilogram (0.16 grams per pound).
Anything above these levels could cause kidney damage or contribute to osteoporosis over time—two conditions that can lead to poor health and early death.
Protein also plays an important role in brain function, growth and development during childhood and adolescence. So make sure children eat enough protein!
While not directly responsible for protein synthesis, vitamins play an important role in cell metabolism—they’re essentially chemical catalysts that help speed up chemical reactions.
The B vitamins, particularly thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3) and pyridoxine (B6), serve as essential cofactors for many enzymes involved in energy production.
Some vitamins can also help to lower levels of homocysteine, a harmful amino acid that may lead to cardiovascular diseases. Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants that help protect against oxidative stress, which is when our body produces free radicals as byproducts from normal metabolism.
When these free radicals react with other molecules, they damage cells and DNA, causing disease and premature aging. Antioxidants bind to these free radicals before they can cause any damage.
It’s worth noting that while some micronutrients have antioxidant properties, others act as pro-oxidants—meaning they accelerate oxidation rather than slowing it down.
This isn’t necessarily bad; certain compounds like hydrogen peroxide actually have anti-microbial properties because they induce oxidative stress in bacteria or viruses.
There are two types of minerals that need to be present in your body for your body to work as it should. These minerals are called macrominerals (such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc.) and trace minerals (iron, copper, zinc).
The first group is necessary for keeping your bones strong, for blood clotting and for cell growth. Other macrominerals help break down food into energy or act as antioxidants.
Trace minerals are important when it comes to normal brain development during childhood. In addition to vitamins and phytochemicals.
There are certain amounts of water-soluble vitamins that can only be obtained through consumption of foods with these nutrients in them. This means that if you eat a healthy diet, you’ll likely get enough of all micronutrients without having to take any supplements.
Dehydration can negatively affect your energy levels, brain function, performance, concentration and memory. Staying hydrated is crucial to staying healthy while working in an office.
One way to keep yourself hydrated is by drinking pure water instead of sweetened beverages or alcohol. If you need a flavor boost try adding lemon or lime slices to your water. Green tea (without sugar) has been proven to help burn fat.
When choosing tea over coffee it’s best to choose high quality loose leaf green tea for maximum benefits rather than teabags which contain excess amounts of additives.