Nov, 28

What Are Micronutrients?



The tinier companions to macronutrients are just as important.  

Micronutrients are simply all of the nutrients inherent in food that are not protein, fat, carbohydrates or fiber. These include the entire spectrum of nutrients like vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, Vitamin E, and minerals like magnesium, sodium, potassium, etc. While our bodies need macronutrients to burn as fuel, our body requires micronutrients to facilitate the vast array of biological functions that it performs. 


Often, however, our discussion gets stuck on the volume and/or proportions of macronutrients (or, macros), in the diet, and how those contribute to good health. This is important, certainly as it relates to energy levels, insulin production, and weight loss or muscle gain. Certainly, even as it relates to the goal of the Kaufmann Diet––which is the elimination of pathogenic yeasts from the body––macronutrients play an important role; we know that a diet rich in carbohydrates––particularly, sugar and simple, refined carbohydrates––can feed a pathogenic fungal infection. 


Why Are Micronutrients Important?

Micronutrients, however, can play a vital role in the fight against fungi, too. For example, nutrients like vitamin C are potently anti-fungal. Folate (a B vitamin) is anti-mycotic, meaning it helps protect against fungal poisons. Other micronutrients too can play a role in fighting fungi. Largely though, getting the proper amounts of micronutrients assists in facilitating overall health, keeping immunity strong, which is important in fighting fungi, or preventing such infections, in the first place. 



Where Do I Get Micronutrients?

In short, you get micronutrients from food, but all foods are not created equal. Processed foods are often void or low in these types of nutrients. The best source of micronutrients is from a wide array of whole, unprocessed, fresh foods. These include vegetables, fruits, minimally processed meats, nuts, seeds, eggs, and eggs. 


Micronutrients specific to plants are known as phytonutrients (phyto meaning plant), and research continues to affirm that many of the micronutrients found in plants can have a profound anti-disease effect. Many (if not most) of these micronutrients often exhibit some type of anti-fungal activity. 


Some micronutrients, however, such as certain B vitamins, are best gleaned from lean, unprocessed animals proteins. Ultimately, a healthy balance of plant and animal sources can provide a strong foundation of all necessary phytonutrients. 


Should I Take A Multivitamin?

Multivitamins can largely act as an insurance policy; a good multivitamin can ensure that you get the right amounts of micronutrients necessary to enjoy good health. There is the oft-cited fact that our foods are not as nutritious as they were years back because of soil depletion, but if we are honest, most of us simply do not always consume the most balanced and healthy diet. 


Quality and trust are important when shopping for any kind of supplement, and the source of the nutrients contained therein is also important. Food-based multivitamins can ensure that the micronutrients inherent in the supplement are absorbable. It can also be beneficial to take a multivitamin with some type of healthy fat, like a spoonful of almond butter or a slice of avocado, ensuring that any fat-soluble nutrients are properly absorbed, as well.