Micronutrients: The Vital Nutrients

From an early age you have probably been bombarded with the fact that the intake of vitamins and minerals in your organism is of the utmost importance and has a beneficial effect on your health. When we were kids, in order to please our parents who were convinced that we should eat ridiculous amounts of fruit and vegetables every day, we obeyed, some of us with frustrated face. But we were young and we did not know that insufficient intake of vitamins could affect our health. Today we are older and hopefully wiser, and we should be able to acknowledge the importance of fruit and vegetables for our health and also how important it is to include fibre in our diet, keeping our immune system in equilibrium and therefore successfully fighting against cold and other diseases.

The name “micronutrients” actually stems from the fact that these nutrients are needed in a relatively small amount compared to the macronutrients - carbohydrates, fats, protein and water. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals, substances that are essential to our body. Altogether there are 35 and each and every one of them has an important role to play in our body. Based on several researches, experts have delivered an agreed opinion on the Recommended Daily Allowance - RDA, which is indicated on the packaging on the majority of food products.

When introducing micronutrients to our body it is important to know the difference between fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, D, E and K, meanwhile water–soluble vitamins are B group vitamins, vitamin C, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamine. Much less caution needs to be practiced with vitamins that are soluble in water than those soluble in fat, as they may be deposited in tissues, while the excess of water-soluble ones is excreted into urine. Also, each of the vitamins is crucial for certain body functions therefore its deficit can cause serious problems in our organism. On the other hand, we must realize that excessive intake can also be extremely dangerous and that we can never be too cautious when including vitamin supplements into our diet.

When we talk about vitamin supplements and their daily intake, we mustn’t forget that many of these vitamins also contain the necessary antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system and prevent the emergence of certain diseases, including cancer. Antioxidants can be introduced into the body with food rich in vitamins C and E, β-carotene and selenium. Apart from cancer, vitamins play an important role also in preventing many other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, infections, metabolic disorders, etc.

Vitamins are invisible, tasteless and odourless, but for the human body they are as important as air. They take care of the immune system, strong bones and joints, better use of energy, regulation of metabolism, regulation of fat and sugar in the blood, proper functioning of the nervous, respiratory, digestive and cardiovascular system, and all other systems in the human body. In addition to prevention, they also help in the treatment of diseases that already emerged in the body. Beside vitamins, minerals are also crucial for the normal functioning of the human organism. The body itself cannot synthesize them; therefore they need to be, same as vitamins, introduced with food or food supplements. For example, calcium is very important for healthy bones, teeth and the nervous and circulatory system. Zinc plays an important role in the development of muscles, healthy immune system, maintaining the integrity of cells, in the synthesis of DNA, protein and insulin, wound healing and the removal of toxic substances from the organism (heavy metals, etc.).

Also many other micronutrients are important in maintaining health. For example: Alpha linoleic acid (found in flaxseed, soybeans and nuts) has an anti-inflammatory effect, lowers blood cholesterol levels, protects against breast cancer and improves the immune system. Lycopene (found in tomatoes, watermelon and red grapefruit) is an extremely important antioxidant that reduces the risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

It’s difficult (almost impossible) for a man to meet the daily needs for vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients with ordinary diet, because of:

- low food quality, which contains hardlz any micronutrients,
- thermal processing, preservation, freezing-thawing and storing of food
- general environmental pollution
- poor soil, depleted of minerals and elements, such as selenium
- genetically modified food
- stressful way of life, resulting in the significantly increased micronutrient requirements.

To prevent disease, or when you notice first signs of the disease, a quality food and micronutrient supplement in the form of tablets or capsules is especially recommended. It is particularly important that vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients in a form of supplements are consumed in the correct proportions, making certain we don’t take them in too great, or too little amount.


Category: Tips

Published: 27.11.2015 08:52

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