Back to School: Micronutrients in Focus

By Ange

Back to School: Micronutrients in Focus

No doubt you have probably heard a lot about the three main macronutrients; protein, carbs and fats. But what about the micronutrients?

These are the important vitamins and minerals you probably learnt something about in year 10 health.

When people are on a diet and caloric restriction, the quality of foods become more important to ensure that you do not risk nutritional deficiencies.

Let’s brush up on some of the important vitamins and minerals that allow us to thrive each day!

Vitamin A

Vitamin is going to help assist with the maintenance of healthy skin, support proper bone growth and healthy eye sight. Found in: whole eggs, oranges, cantaloupes, carrots, and green vegetables.

Vitamin B1(Thiamine)

This B vitamin is important for converting the carbohydrates that you consume to energy and is also going to support healthy nervous system functioning. In addition to that, it will also ensure that your muscles and heart contract optimally and improve the digestion process.

Found in: pork, legumes, bananas, fish, nuts and seeds, potatoes, watermelon, avocado, and whole grains.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 plays an important role in the growth and development of the body, improving the rate of cell

regeneration as well as making sure that you are able to utilize the energy from carbohydrates effectively as well.

This vitamin is also critical for maintenance of the skin, hair, and nails and will help improve the healing process the body goes through.

Found in: eggs, fish, fortified cereals, dairy products, kiwis, avocados, broccoli, turnip greens, asparagus, as well as spinach.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Niacin is important for maintenance of energy levels and is also important for improving the nervous system function as well as for supporting a healthy digestive system. When deficiencies occur, some of the negative side effects can include depression, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, indigestion, insomnia, low blood sugar levels, a feeling of weakness in the body, as well as inflammation.

Found in: beef liver, peanuts, chicken, tuna, salmon, almonds, mushrooms, and lentils.

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Folate is a very essential nutrient for proper growth and development of babies, so anyone who is pregnant will need to be making sure they take it in regularly. It’s also essential for the production of red blood cells and for keeping the nervous system functioning optimally. Vitamin B9 will help to keep the brain healthy.

Found in: dark green vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, some cereals, liver, orange juice, and wheat germ.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is important for producing healthy nerve cells and for keeping your red blood count where it should be. In addition to this, vitamin B12 will also help to manufacture DNA in the body, so is vital for cell replication and may help contribute to optimal energy levels.

Found in: dairy products, eggs, cereals, liver, beef, as well as claims.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a vitamin that most people will easily take in provided they eat enough fresh fruits and vitamins. This vitamin is important for maintaining the level of collagen in the body and for helping to enhance your immune system. Those who fall deficient in vitamin C may notice that they are slow to heal from wounds, injuries, or the common cold, so getting enough is essential for optimum well-being.

Found in: citrus fruits, grapefruits, lemons, berries, melons, tomatoes, potatoes, green peppers, as well as leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and will be produced naturally in the body any time you’re in daylight. This vitamin is important for increasing your ability to absorb the calcium that you consume as well as for helping to maintain strong bones. Found in: liver, fatty fish, whole eggs, as well as from fortified milk. Most people who are going outside on a regular basis will not have to worry about falling deficient in this vitamin.

Vitamin E

Another vitamin that offers antioxidant protection for your body from free radicals is vitamin E. This vitamin is important for warding of disease. Found in: nuts and seeds, peanuts and peanut butter, vegetable oil, wheat germ, as well as whole grains.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is the vitamin that will be primarily responsible for making sure that your blood clots properly. Those who don’t get in enough from their diet may find they bleed almost uncontrollably even when a small cut occurs, so eating enough will help maintain your red blood cell count. Found in: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, leafy green vegetables, as well as soybean and olive oil.

Calcium

Calcium is the main mineral that is going to help promote strong bones and will also be important for assisting with the regulation of the heart beat along with muscular contractions. It’s also vital for maintaining healthy nerves and supports strong teeth. It should also be noted that those who consume more calcium in their diet will also experience a greater rate of fat loss from the abdominal region, proving to make this a very important nutrient to take in when you’re on a fat loss diet plan.

Found in: milk and other dairy products, as well as leafy greens, in the bones of canned salmon, in sardines, almonds, and broccoli.

Chromium

The next mineral that you should consider adding to your diet is chromium. Chromium will be essential for regulation of the metabolism as well as sugar in the blood and is also going to influence the insulin-blood sugar control system. Many of those who do have poor blood sugar control supplement with additional chromium to help improve the state of this condition. Found in: beans, cheese, whole grains, peas, as well as many different animal protein sources.

Copper

Copper is the next mineral that will be essential to include in your diet. This mineral is going to assist with red blood cell formation and can help to improve your uptake of iron through the diet, maintaining adequate energy levels. This mineral also improves your immune system health and can help to promote healthy and strong bones as well.

Found in: beans, raisings, chocolate, nuts, meat, as well as shellfish.

Iodine

Iodine is a mineral that most people will naturally have no problem getting enough as it’s found in table salt.

This mineral is important for proper thyroid gland function so it will help assist with maintaining a strong metabolic rate.

Found in: seafood, seaweed, dairy products, as well as in table salt as mentioned.

Iron

Iron is an essential mineral to support proper energy levels as those who fall short will often suffer from fatigue throughout the day and will not be able to sustain endurance activity very well. Women lose some iron each month with their menstrual cycle, so it’s important for them to be especially careful that they are taking in enough. Iron is going to assist with the carriage of oxygen through the blood, delivering it to all the tissues in the body. Found in: liver, red meat, whole eggs, legumes, as well as in many dark leafy vegetables such as spinach.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral that will assist with proper muscle function and can also improve the metabolic rate and the amount of bone growth that you experience. Those who do not take in enough magnesium in their diet may find they suffer from high levels of fat, poor memory abilities, as well as have a rapid heartbeat.

Found in: whole grains, nuts, legumes, apricots, bananas, and soy beans.

Would you like to learn more? Be sure to get in touch via [email protected] or head across to some of our other blogs on macro nutrients here. 

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Our founder

Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.

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