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Everything You Need to Know
By Barbara Ross

TP 201909 NUTRITION 04 2We have all heard of the term micronutrients before. And we know that our bodies need them. But how much do we really know about these oh so important nutrients? Are we getting enough of those?




Let鈥檚 clear these common questions out.


First of all, micronutrients are nothing but vitamins and minerals. We need these only in small amounts; this is why they are called 鈥渕icro鈥 nutrients. But, they are super important for our overall health and well-being, they allow our organs to function properly, help in blood clotting, contribute to bone health and they also help prevent many diseases.



TP 201909 NUTRITION 03Now, our bodies do produce some of these vitamins and minerals, but most of them are not produced and a lot of them are produced only in small amounts. This makes it essential for us to consume them through food or absorb them from the environment.


For example, sunlight can help us produce Vitamin D ourselves. On the other hand, our body is incapable of producing vitamin C. Hence, we need to absorb it by consuming citrus fruits and green vegetables.


In specific terms, there are 14 types of vitamins and 16 minerals that our bodies need at any cost. All of them are responsible for different functions in our body and, hence, all of them have their own roles to play.

TP 201909 NUTRITION 05Types of micronutrients and their functions

Vitamins and minerals can essentially be divided into 4 types; water-soluble vitamins, fat soluble vitamins, macro-minerals and trace minerals.




TP 201909 NUTRITION 06Water soluble vitamins

As the name suggests, water soluble vitamins are those that dissolve in water. For the same reason, they do not get retained as much as other kinds of nutrients in the body. A lot of it is constantly lost through urine when taken in excess.


Most water soluble vitamins are essentially responsible for the production of energy. Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12 mostly help convert nutrients from food into energy, contribute towards the synthesis of fatty acids and also help in proper cell division. Vitamin C, which is also called ascorbic acid, is mainly responsible for the creation of collagen, which happens to be the most important protein for our skin.


Some common sources of water soluble vitamins include fish, whole grains, milk, eggs, carrots, potatoes, citrus fruits, mushrooms and avocado.








TP 201909 NUTRITION 08Fat soluble vitamins

Fat soluble vitamins do not dissolve in water. They are best absorbed by the body when consumed along with a fat source. Once they are absorbed by the body, they are stored in the liver and the fatty tissues of our body to be used when in need. The important fat soluble vitamins required by our body include Vitamin A; necessary for the proper functioning of organs and contributes to a healthy vision, Vitamin D; necessary for bone health and immunity, Vitamin E; acts as an anti-oxidant to protect cells from damage and diseases and Vitamin K; contributes to blood clotting and bone development.


Common sources of fat soluble vitamins include dairy products, fish, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkins, soy beans and sunlight.






TP 201909 NUTRITION 09Macro-minerals

Macro-minerals include calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulphur, sodium and chloride. They all have specific functions in our body and they are usually needed in comparatively bigger amounts than trace minerals. For example, we all need potassium to help with muscle functioning, as well as nerve transmission. It also acts as an electrolyte that helps in maintaining the fluid consistency in cells. Calcium, as we all know, is important for proper bone health and development. It also helps with muscle functioning. Magnesium contributes towards enzyme reactions and helps regulate blood pressure. Sodium and chloride help maintain cell fluid status.


Common sources of macro-minerals include leafy vegetables, bananas, almonds, cashews, seaweed, lentils, salmon, turkey and yogurt.





TP 201909 NUTRITION 11Trace minerals
Trace minerals are required by the body in lesser amounts than macro-minerals. However, they perform very important functions in our body, too. Iron, for example, helps in producing certain hormones and also helps in providing oxygen to the muscles. Copper is essential for proper functioning of the brain and the nervous system. Iodine is known to regulate the thyroid functions and zinc assists with healthy growth and immunity. Selenium contributes towards thyroid health, as well as reproductive health.


Common sources of trace minerals are oysters, spinach, crabs, cashews, sardines, yams, pineapples, peanuts and fruit juices.






TP 201909 NUTRITION 10It is very important to consume all of these micronutrients in the right amounts, failing there are chances for deficiencies and side effects.



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