It is true that “you are what you eat”! The nutrients in your food provide your body with all that it needs to grow and survive.
Protein, carbs and fats are the macronutrients that provide us with energy. You require larger amounts of these when compared to micronutrients i.e. vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Whole foods such as fruits and veggies have more amounts of the beneficial nutrients when compared to refined grains, starches, cereals and processed stuff.
Here are the 5 essential micronutrients needed by the body and what are the foods that contain them:
One amongst the 8 types of B vitamins, it is helpful in the formation of red blood cells. It is a water soluble vitamin called vitamin B9. The best way of getting this vitamin is by consuming fruits and vegetables. Legumes such as lentils and beans, spinach are great folate rich foods. Make sure you eat all leafy greens.
Iron is the micronutrient that creates hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a substance rich in red blood cells which carries and delivers oxygen to all the corners of the body. The deficiency of iron is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies. If you have fatigue or a mild shortness of breath along with a tingly feeling in your hands and feet, you might have iron deficiency.
There exist two kinds of iron – heme that comes from animal sources and non-heme which is plant based. Heme iron is more easily absorbed by the body. It is found in beef, lamb, turkey, clams and oysters. Non-heme iron is found in beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, spinach and broccoli.
Are you aware of the fact that consuming sugar, sodas and caffeine will actually make your body lose magnesium? The sugars and phosphates present in these foods bind with magnesium and get excreted before being properly absorbed. This means that even consuming a lots of magnesium won’t help as your body is not absorbing sufficient amounts of it. You may have muscle cramps, anxiety, spasms and tension due to magnesium deficiency.
To consume more magnesium choose dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds like almond, cashew, sesame and pumpkin seeds. You can also eat more of unrefined grains such as brown rice and quinoa. Dark chocolate is also a great source of magnesium.
4) Vitamin A
Vitamin A is essential for vision. It is a fat soluble vitamin. To get enough of this vitamin you need to eat spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots. These are sources of beta-carotene, some of it is converted to vitamin A in the body. The amount of beta-carotene getting converted to vitamin A successfully varies based on the food source. The most bioavailable sources of vitamin A come from animals and are present in eggs, liver and dairy products (grass fed).
5) Vitamin D
People are becoming deficient in vitamin D because of spending more of their time indoors. It is often overlooked but vitamin D is extremely important. The deficiency is one reason why there are rising levels of auto-immune disorders and depression. This lays the foundation for several chronic illnesses. Vitamin D is created when your skin is exposed to UV rays from the sun. But sunscreen hampers that! However, this does not mean that you should not use a sunscreen when you are heading outdoors. Just allow yourself to stay under the midday sun for 10-20 mins everyday.
Hope you liked reading about the micronutrients you require!
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