We often hear a lot about macronutrients. A lot of fitness programs and professionals recommend “counting your macros” as an effective way to achieve your weight goals. A while back I wrote about macros, what they are and their role in our bodies. If you want a refresher, make sure you go and take a look at those blogs. Today, however, I want to talk about another type of nutrients that are extremely important to our body’s function but are not talked about as often. I’m talking about micronutrients: aka vitamins, mineral and other chemical compounds. These micronutrients are involved in almost all of our biological processes and therefore keep us healthy.
Where can we find them?
You will typically find micronutrients in whole, unprocessed food. This is very important because eating whole foods will guarantee that we are getting the nutrients our body needs. When I say whole unprocessed food, I mean food that is as closed as its origin as possible. This mean eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, raw fish, or a chicken drum. It’s easy to recognize whole foods because they typically don’t require ingredient labels, excessive packaging and they go bad fairly quickly.
Eating whole, unprocessed foods enhances our health because they have an abundance of vitamins and minerals in forms that our body can use efficiently. Have you ever read a multi-vitamin label? It often says to take the pill with food. This is because most vitamins and minerals need another substance in order to be digested by the body. If you take a vitamin in isolation, it will most likely just pass through your system and be discarded without having been used. This is not a problem when you eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods. Often the same food will have different vitamins and minerals in it so they will get absorbed or digested together. It is a win-win situation and you won’t have to add alarms to remember to take your pills.
Why do we need them?
Even though micronutrients are not a source of energy for the body, if we don’t eat enough of them our body won’t function properly. Vitamins and minerals are involved in processes like energy production (vitamin B1), protein synthesis (vitamin A and B6), muscle contraction (calcium), blood pressure regulation (sodium) and the list goes on and on. There are a lot of different minerals and vitamins and each is equally important to our health.
It is very important to provide our bodies with the right number of micronutrients. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as taking too many vitamins. That is why the best way to get our micronutrients is through our diet. This way, we won’t have an excess of any vitamin or mineral. If you are unsure if how to start adding more whole, unprocessed foods to your diet dot this: start by adding colorful and fresh fruits and vegetables; eat whole grains, beans and legumes. You can also ask any of the coaches at Celebration CrossFit. We can talk more about micronutrients and their effect on your health and your training. We are always here to help.
by coach Keren