If you’re trying to stay fit, lose or gain weight, or build muscle, you have probably heard a lot of tips and advice on what you should eat. Mostly these advice are about your calories or protein intake. Macronutrients –carbs, protein and fat- have a huge effect on your body and health, adjusting your intake of them can help you gain weight, lose weight, or gain muscle mass. However, after a while of focusing only on macronutrients you might notice some negative ‘side effects’ like a weakened immune system, disturbed sleep patterns, and also deterioration in your skin and hair health. Sounds familiar? Then, you are probably ignoring the importance of micronutrients in your diet.
Micronutrients are simply the vitamins and minerals which are essential for your body. Although your daily intake of these is just a few milligrams, they are essential for your overall health and well being. We all know the importance of a balanced diet that offers us a wide array of vitamins and minerals along with other nutrients, but do we know what each of these micronutrients is actually good for? Here are a few examples:
You can get your recommended daily intake of Zinc from lamb, oysters, beef, eggs, and nuts. This micronutrient is important for several things, first if you’re trying to build muscle as it is an antioxidant which helps in protein synthesis for muscle building and repair. Zinc also helps boost your white blood cells and therefore immune system.
I think we all already know that, we need calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Add to that the fact it helps regulate blood pressure and prevent kidney stones. You can get the calcium you need from dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese; but you can also find calcium in non-dairy products such as leafy greens, seafood, and legumes.
We –luckily- live in a very sunny part of the earth, which is perfect for your body and its need of vitamin D. About ten minutes in the sun, three times a week can be enough for your body to fulfill its vitamin D needs. However, if you’re indoors most of the day or hardly see the sun, make sure you eat enough fatty fish, liver, or egg yolks. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to depression, immune system malfunction, and has also been linked to cancer cell growth and calcium malabsorption.
These are just a few of these micronutrients and what they can do for your body? Convinced yet?
To make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs make sure to eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, and nuts. And if you’re a meat-eater, remember to eat meat in moderation.