As these names indicate, macronutrients are the group of nutrients that human body requires in large amounts (grams or more). On the other hand, micronutrients are only required in milligrams and micrograms. Nevertheless, their small amounts don’t imply that our bodies can remain healthy if we don’t take care of those fractions of grams.
Micronutrients: Eclipsed by the Brouhaha Over Macronutrients
The flood of information due to a better understanding of food science has benefitted us in many ways but with some caveats attached. While we are now aware of macronutrient and micronutrients, continuous coverage highlighting the importance of one group over the other has resulted in skewed diet patterns and routines. It is important to understand what we mean here.
Majority of Diet Plans are Only Focused on Macronutrients
Modern Lifestyle Also Signifies Macronutrients More
Obesity is now a worldwide issue and modern lifestyle with limited physical activity is one of the major reasons. Carbohydrates in different forms are also very much responsible for obesity. Similarly, fat is another macronutrient that is very much discussed in connection with weight loss.
In addition, different fitness regimens emphasizing lean and sturdy bodies are the advocates of increased protein consumption. So, with these three macronutrients taking all the limelight, it is only natural that people are less aware of their micronutrient needs.
How Has Less Awareness Regarding Micronutrients Turned Out?
As per the statistics of World Food Programme, a food-assistance subdivision of the United Nations, nearly two billion people globally are suffering from different kinds of micronutrient deficiencies.
Vitamins: Life-Sustaining Organic Compounds
Let’s have a look at vitamins, their sources and how their deficiencies can affect us.
Sources: Animal source foods are the main source of Vitamin A. Whole milk, egg yolks, and liver are rich in this vitamin.
Deficiency: Night blindness and weak immune system particularly against infections are the major consequences of Vitamin A deficiency.
Luckily, deficiency of Vitamin B1 is very rare because we can get a sufficient amount from most types of common diets.
Vitamin B3 deficiency is common among demographics where corn is the major source of dietary needs. There is a scientific reason for that. After getting broken down in the body, the corn particles react with Niacin thus making it unavailable for cellular functions.
Severe deficiency of Vitamin B3 can result in a deadly medical condition called Pellagra, which is characterized by dementia and dermatitis. There are treated corns available on the market that don’t eat up the essential amount of Niacin required by the body.
Vitamin C is known for its role in various critical functions in the body. It helps mechanisms that are responsible for the synthesis of different hormones and neurotransmitters. It also facilitates the production of genetic material in the body. Moreover, it strengthens the musculoskeletal system by catalyzing the synthesis of collagen. Its sufficient intake also plays its part in fighting anemia by increasing the rate of iron absorption in the body.
Plants, particularly citrus fruits and green vegetables, are good sources of Vitamin C. Prolonged deficiency of this vitamin leads to scurvy, a health condition characterized by anemia, oral diseases, and skin hemorrhages.
However, small traces of Vitamin D can be found in some fish, egg yolks, and mushrooms. Researchers are now also studying Vitamin D for its preventive role against autoimmune diseases. Deficiency of Vitamin D makes bones more vulnerable to fractures.
Vegetables such as kale and broccoli contain a good amount of Vitamin K. Adding them to your regular diet will easily fulfill your Vitamin K needs.
All those minerals required by the body in amounts lower than 100 milligrams are called trace minerals.
Animal flesh is the major source of iron that our body uses to bind oxygen to the blood cells. You can also get a sufficient amount of iron from different plant-based foods such as legumes, raisins, and spinach. Anemia, a leading world health problem, is mainly caused by iron deficiency in the body.
Aside from iron, zinc, iodine, chromium, manganese, copper, selenium, fluoride, and molybdenum are also important trace minerals responsible for the healthy growth and function of a person.
Should Micronutrients be Taken Through Supplements?
If you are healthy and not suffering from any vital medical complication then it is better to continue to fulfill your micronutrient needs through daily dietary routines. However, if you are facing a health issue linked to the deficiency of any micronutrient, then the use of pertinent nutrient supplements with physician’s supervision can be justified. Remember that the consumption of micronutrients in excess also is not good for health
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