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What Are Micronutrients and Why Do I Need Them?

There is so much information about nutrition available to us that it can become overwhelming. Every time you turn around, there is new guidance to follow. Fat is bad, fat is good. Carbs are bad, carbs are good. Paleo, Keto, Vegan, Pescatarian…what works? The important thing is to find a healthy program you are willing to follow and FOLLOW it! 

Let’s talk about some of the important components of a healthy eating program. The key is to make sure you have the macro and micro-nutrients required to keep your body functioning optimally. 

Macronutrients are proteins, fats and carbohydrates and most people have at least some level of understanding of what comprises them. 

Micronutrients are mostly vitamins and minerals. They are considered essential nutrients because they must be obtained from outside sources because the human body cannot make them. Minerals are inorganic and found in soil or water. These substances cannot be broken down. Vitamins, however, are produced by plants or animals and are able to be broken down by heat, acid or air. It is important to eat a variety of foods containing micronutrients because each vitamin or mineral has a specific function in the body. 

Vitamins and minerals fall into one of four categories:

Micronutrients are needed for optimal performance and should be consumed in adequate amounts and variety to meet the body’s requirements. Micronutrients are needed in some amount for nearly every bodily process. Many vitamins are also antioxidants that protect cells from the damage that causes diseases like cancer, Alzheimers and heart disease. Many minerals also help in disease prevention.

It’s important to consume adequate amounts of micronutrients without overdoing it. Eating the rainbow in fruits and vegetables will likely get you the coverage you need in this area or at least close to it. A good quality multi-vitamin will help complete the job.


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  1. Lily Leung on January 31, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Hi Karen: Have enjoyed your posts. They are informative and helpful. I have read some of the same authors and books – Wayne Dyer, The Four Agreements.
    Maybe we will meet again on the next challenge.

  2. Karen on February 1, 2019 at 12:45 am

    Thanks Lily…I have also enjoyed your posts. Keep up the good work and I'll see you next quarter.

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