Micronutrients are one of the major groups of nutrients your body needs and they include vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are necessary for energy production, immune function, blood clotting and other functions. Meanwhile, minerals play an important role in growth, bone health, fluid balance and several other processes. Micronutrients can be divided into four groups — water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, macro minerals and trace minerals. The functions, food sources and recommended intakes of each vitamin and mineral vary.
Choosing foods each day that are rich in vitamins and minerals is the best way for your body to get what it needs to be healthy. Not getting the vitamins and minerals can have serious consequences for your health. A general lack of nutrients can lead to malnutrition. This is sometimes easier to recognize and to treat. A lack of even one specific vitamin or mineral is harder to diagnose but can be just as dangerous. Some vitamin deficiencies can even be life-threatening.
For example, an overdose of vitamin A during pregnancy can cause problems with the baby’s development in the womb. This is especially important if you are pregnant or have health conditions, consult a doctor.
The following nutrients come under micronutrients Intake mentioned in brackets:
Water Soluble vitamins
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Whole grains, meat, fish (1.1–1.2 mg)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Organ meats, eggs, milk (1.1–1.3 mg)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): Meat, salmon, leafy greens, beans (14–16 mg)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Organ meats, mushrooms, tuna, avocado (5 mg)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Fish, milk, carrots, potatoes (1.3 mg)
- Vitamin B7 (biotin): Eggs, almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes (30 mcg)
- Vitamin B9 (folate): Beef, liver, black-eyed peas, spinach, asparagus (0.4 mg or 400 mcg)
- Vitamin B12: Clams, fish, meat (2.4 mcg)
Fat soluble Vitamins
- Vitamin A, Retinol: (liver, dairy, fish), carotenoids (sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach) (700–900 mcg)
- Vitamin D: Sunlight, fish oil, milk (600–800 IU)
- Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, wheat germ, almonds (15 mg)
- Vitamin K: Leafy greens, soybeans, pumpkin
Fruits and vegetables naturally are low in fat. They add nutrients, flavor, and variety to your diet. Look for colorful fruits and vegetables, especially orange and dark green.
- Calcium: Low-fat dairy, dairy substitutes, broccoli, dark, leafy greens, and sardines
- Potassium: Bananas, cantaloupe, raisins, nuts, fish, and spinach and other dark greens
- Fiber: Legumes (dried beans and peas), whole-grain foods and brans, seeds, apples, strawberries, carrots, raspberries, and colorful fruit and vegetables
- Magnesium: Spinach, black beans, peas, and almonds
- Vitamin A: Eggs, milk, carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe
- Vitamin C: Oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, kiwi, broccoli, and red and green bell peppers
- Vitamin E: Avocados, nuts, seeds, whole-grain foods, and spinach and other dark leafy greens
Over to you
Since your body requires micronutrients in specific amounts, deficiencies and surpluses of any one nutrient may lead to negative issues. If you’re at risk of a specific deficiency, talk to your doctor before starting supplements.
Balanced diet provides adequate intake of both macronutrients and micronutrients, proper regulation of metabolic processes, and maintenance of an optimal body mass and so is essential for proper growth and development, and to remain active. Balanced diet is a wholesome diet which provides adequate proportions of essential nutrients from all food groups (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water) necessary to maintain good health.