Now that you understand the importance of proper Macronutrient balance, it’s time to learn about the importance of getting proper MICRONUTRIENTS into your diet. Although you will make some major progress in your health life by eliminating excess sugars and carbohydrates, you could very easily fulfill my Macronutrient recommendations by eating a “protein style” burger and diet coke from McDonald’s. This won’t fly with me…sorry. Your McDonald’s meal won’t deliver much in the Micronutrient department. (It WILL deliver many “Anti-Nutrients” as well, which I will cover in a future blog on this series.)
What are Micronutrients? Simply put: vitamins and minerals. Most people understand that they need these things. Almost everyone takes a generic multi-vitamin, and many may even know a bit about certain benefits of a particular vitamin or mineral and prescribe themselves with an isolated supplement of this nutrient. Vitamins are responsible for helping in metabolism by offering co-enzyme activity, are essential for growth and vitality, are helpful in digestion and elimination, and play a major role in supporting the immune system. Minerals have many similar responsibilities, as well as balancing the body’s pH levels, facilitate the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes, contract and relax muscles, regulate growth tissue, and provide structural and functional support, among many other things. Of course, this isn’t the place to go into each individual vitamin and mineral and its purpose. I’d LOVE to spend the time breaking down the importance of individual micronutrients, but I’ll save that for another time. To summarize it, though, I can tell you that you need them…all of them!
Where do you get Micronutrients? The best sources of vitamins and minerals is from properly prepared whole foods, such as organic, pasture-raised or wild animal foods, deap-sea wild fish, raw and/or culture dairy, unrefined and properly prepared grains and legumes, and organic (or better, bio-dynamic) vegetables and fruits. Certain preparation processes like fermenting vegetables or culturing dairy add extra nutritional benefits so that you can absorb as much micronutrient nutrition from food as possible. Many modern, commercially-produced foods today do not have the same amount of micronutrients as they used to, so getting really good quality food and top quality supplements is essential to micronutrient health.
Understanding Micronutrients is actually a very complex and exhaustive study because of something called CO-FACTORS. Sometimes it is difficult for me to explain to people that life isn’t as simple as taking a calcium supplement when your bone density is low, or taking a vitamin C tablet when you feel sick. I also think it is wasteful to take a multi-vitamin, as most jumbo multi-vitamins are full of synthetically formulated vitamins that are either not absorbed by the body, or could actually be damaging in some way. I suggest finding an experienced professional to help you with any supplementation regimen.*
*Nutritional Therapy Practitioners (NTP’s), like Roz Mignogna of Real Food Family, are trained to properly determine what Micronutrient supplemention is needed for a person based on an analysis of the many co-factors relating to a certain issue.