What Are Micronutrients?
When it comes to nutrition, you hear a lot about “marcos” or macronutrients. But do you know what micronutrients are?
▶ All food contains macronutrients and micronutrients.
▶ The term micronutrient refers to the vitamins and minerals in the foods you eat.
▶ Macronutrients refer to the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in the foods you eat.
▶ Think of micronutrients as a way to describe the beneficial compounds found in food and macronutrients as a way to describe how your body will get the calories from your food.
▶ Micronutrients are just as important as macronutrients but are required in much smaller amounts, which is why the terms micro (small) and macro (large) are used.
▶ There are two primary types of micronutrients: vitamins and minerals.
▶ Vitamins can be defined as the organic compounds made by plants and animals. They can be broken down by heat, acid, or air and come in two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble.
▶ Minerals are inorganic and can be found in soil or water. They cannot be broken down and come in two categories: macrominerals (required in larger amounts such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium) and microminerals (AKA trace minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, manganese).
▶ Your body can’t create or obtain micronutrients on its own, so it’s important to make sure your diet provides them. They’re used for a multitude of processes in your body such as energy production, fat metabolism, skin health, blood cell formation, healthy vision, bone structure, fluid regulation, and many others.
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