Understanding Micronutrients

Introduction And Background
The term micronutrients might be confusing you a bit but by the end of this article, you will know what micronutrients are as well as what macronutrients are! You must have already figured by the name that micronutrients must be some sort of small nutritional elements present in food. But just because they are termed micro does not mean that they are insignificant to our health. In fact, they are entirely too significant and so much so that a lot of people actually take supplements to fulfill their needs of these micronutrients, they are that important! Read the article further and figure out what micronutrients are, where they can be found, what they actually do and how they can be compared with macronutrients. Have fun!

What Are Micronutrients?
Micronutrients are the small nutrients present in food which do not count as part of the food pyramid. They are the vitamins, the minerals and the antioxidants and trace elements that are present in whatever you eat. They are referred to as micronutrients. However, even if they are micro, they are quite important for the body. If you do not get enough of them, it can lead to small diseases, things such as hair fall and stunted growth and with the deficiency of vitamin A a person can even be liable to getting night blindness. Thus, they are as essential to our body as macronutrients in performing small functions and getting the body to work.

The Types of Micronutrients
Now this can be a little confusing but you are going to have to try and understand it. It is written for you in the simplest of forms, especially if you are not a science student and have never studied anything like it. Now, everyone knows about vitamins and minerals, correct? Well, there are types of vitamins and types of minerals as well. First we’ll try and understand the vitamins.

There are water soluble vitamins that are soluble in water only, as the name clearly indicates. And then there are lipid soluble vitamins which are, again as the name indicates, soluble only in lipids. The lipid soluble vitamins are vitamin A, D, E and vitamin K and they can be stored in the body. They are not needed on a daily basis because whenever you get these specific vitamins, you can store them and then utilize them on need. But that is not the case with water soluble vitamins. You need them on a daily basis and they are the vitamin B complex vitamins. They are easily washed out of the body too if not used and one has to have a daily dose of them. Now that we have gotten clear of vitamins, time to concentrate on the minerals.

The minerals are of two types as well. There are microminerals and there are macrominerals. The macrominerals is not according to the size but that which are needed in a large quantity. This consists of calcium first of all, probably the most important macromineral there is. Along with calcium, you need phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and potassium. They are required daily since they are needed in larger amounts. Microminerals are required in trace amounts and are often referred to as trace elements too in some articles and books. They are iron, copper, zinc and fluoride to name a few. You don’t need these daily and even if you do get them daily, you won’t need them in very large amounts so that’s okay then.

Foods Where You Can Find Them
Here is a list of some of the foods which you should eat because they contain a good amount of important vitamins and minerals, especially those that you need on a daily basis or those that you require in larger amounts for the proper functioning and well-being of the body.

  • Calcium is found in great amounts in milk and yoghurt. Even cheese has a lot of calcium. Basically, dairy products should be on your list of things that you need to eat to enhance your calcium levels.
  • Potassium, a pretty important mineral, is found in bananas and potatoes. Even spinach and some fruits such as apricots contain potassium.
  • The fact that vitamin C is present and in quite a large number in oranges is known by everyone mostly.
  • Vitamin B12, a water soluble vitamin, can be found in meat such as beef and fish.
  • Zinc is present in beef, turkey and some lentils.

Now that you have understood micronutrients, know that they are pretty important. You eat macronutrients daily such as protein, carbohydrates and fats and often ignore micronutrients unless you face some problem such as hair-fall or condition such as scurvy. It is best if you pay attention to getting all the micronutrients before any condition or disease arises!