The Role Of Micronutrients In Our Daily Diet

Marie France Bodyline
Supplements, Vitamins

If you have attended any nutritional talk or seminar, you may have heard that Malaysians love taking supplements. We love buying bottles of supplements for vitamins and minerals, and tablet sizes or tastes have never really hampered that habit either.

Micronutrients

Also known as micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, are undeniably important for maintaining good health. Our bodies cannot produce vitamins and minerals, thus we must obtain micronutrients from the outside.

Essentially, vitamins are necessary for energy production, immune function, blood clotting and other functions. Minerals, on the other hand, play an important role in growth, bone health, fluid balance and several other processes.

Vitamins and minerals can be divided into four categories, the first being Water-Soluble Vitamins (such as Vitamin B, C), the second being Fat-Soluble Vitamins (such as Vitamin A, D, E, K), the third being Macrominerals (such as Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Salt) and the final one being Trace Minerals (including Iron, Zinc, Copper and many more).

But did you know that you can get all these micronutrients from just the food you eat daily? There is really no need to spend hundreds of ringgits every month.

Food Micronutrients

Let’s break the Vitamins down to see how they help with our health:

Vitamin A is also called retinol. It is necessary for healthy vision and also helps create strong bones and teeth, as well as a strong immune system. Vitamin B is a group of vitamins that help the body turn food into energy. They are also needed to make red blood cells and the genetic materials DNA and RNA.

The Vitamin B group includes:

  • B1 (thiamin)
  • B2 (ribovlavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (panthothenic acid)
  • B6 (pyridoxine)
  • B9 (folic acid)
  • B12 (cabalamin)
  • Biotin
Vitamin D is made by the body when it is exposed to the sun. The vitamin is also found in certain foods. Vitamin D helps the body absorb the mineral calcium. It also helps build strong bones and teeth. Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is necessary for making collagen, which holds body cells together. It also aids in the healing of wounds and burns and helps build strong teeth and bones.
Vitamin E helps maintain healthy red blood cells and muscle tissue. Vitamin K is necessary for blood to clot when you get a cut. Half of the vitamin comes from the food you eat; the other half is manufactured by bacteria in your intestines.

Now for the minerals:

Type and Function Sign of Deficiency Natural source
Calcium
Bone & teeth formation
Bone fracture, stunted growth, and nervous system problem

Broccoli

Brocolli

Milk

Milk

Cheese

Cheese

Avocado

Avocado

Iron
Red blood cell formation
Iron deficiency anemia (fatigue, concave nails, and fast heart beat)

Red Meat

Red Meat

Fish

Fish

Legumes

Legumes

Zinc
Immune health, growth & development and fertility
Skin inflammation, hair loss, sore throat, and diarrhea

Oyster

Oyster

Spinach

Spinach

Salmon

Salmon

Iodine
Growth & thyroid function
Goiter (enlarge thyroid gland and decrease heart beat)

Dried seaweed

Dried Seaweed

Cod fish

Cod Fish

Yogurt

Yogurt

Chromium
Glucose function
Weight loss & glucose intolerance

Broccoli

Broccoli

Potatoes

Potatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

These foodstuffs are evidently more colourful and livelier than supplement tablets, aren’t they?

Just as our parents used to say, you are what you eat. So if we eat right, our body, our skin, our hair and everything else would unquestionably be healthy. So start by taking care of what you eat. You don’t really have to go hunting for these nutrients at supplement stores or pharmacies, they can be easily found in your kitchen and refrigerator. Whether you’re a meat lover or even a vegetarian, all of them have these necessary nutrients alike that go a long way for your daily needs and general well-being.

By now, you would have understood that micronutrients, just like macronutrients that form building blocks of your body cells, is as important to keep you going. Whilst vitamins are vital for warding off disease and staying healthy, minerals help support the body by building strong bones and teeth, regulating your metabolism, and staying properly hydrated. Vitamins, for instance, may lower the risk of lung and prostate cancer, and of course, they’re powerful antioxidants. Minerals, such as calcium, helps with nerve signal transmission, maintaining healthy blood pressure, and muscle contraction and relaxation.

Above all, there is one important thing we often overlook from these healthy foodstuffs. Unlike supplement tablets, vegetables and fruits also contain water and healthy fats which help to distribute and dissolve the vitamins and minerals for better absorption of these micronutrients.

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*As causes for being overweight vary from person to person, weight loss results will also vary from person to person, dependant on various genetic or environmental factors such as food intake, individual rate of metabolism, level of exercise, etc. No individual result should be seen as typical.