When it comes to fitness and nutrition you constantly hear about “macros” or macro-nutrients. Just in case you have not heard the term macros, macros are another way of saying proteins, carbs, and fats. While there are many many theories on how to utilize macros for a specific goal or way of life, it all comes down to dividing the use of proteins, carbs, and fats. What does not however get enough attention is the use and management of micros. What are micros? Well micros are nutrients that our bodies need for survival but in much smaller amounts. When you are thinking micro-nutrients just think vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins are compounds needed by living things in very small amounts for survival. Living things can not produce them on their own and have to obtain them through food. Vitamins include Vitamin A, The 8 B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.
Micro-Minerals are elemental compounds that living things need in small amounts in their bodies. Examples of micro-minerals would be the elements calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. Important “trace” or minor dietary elements, necessary for mammalian life, include iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, iodine, bromine, and selenium.
Now that we know vitamins and minerals are important and are needed for survival, I’m guessing your next question would be which vitamins and minerals would be considered some of the most important?
Here is a list of 6 vitamins and minerals that should be in mostly everyone’s diet on a routine basis.
Okay so this is sort of a cheat answer but if you want a strong house you need a good foundation. A great way to make sure you are at least reaching out to get a well rounded balanced amount of micro-nutrients is to take a multi vitamin and mineral. The one thing you should understand is that although you can get a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals from a multi vitamin/mineral sometimes it will not cover all of your vitamin and mineral needs. Make sure that whatever multi vitamin/mineral you take it comes from a whole food source. Synthetic source vitamins and minerals do not always process in the body and will not get properly used.
A B-Complex will give a one shot hits all for your B vitamins. B Vitamins are important because they play a role in everything from metabolism, nervous system function, cardiovascular system function, brain, mood, and energy production. A B vitamin deficiency can wear on a body physically and emotionally. This can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, depression, anxiety, moodiness, confusion, poor memory and concentration, constipation, poor digestion, heart problems, , poor skin, hair and nails.
Vitamin D is probably one of the most useful of the vitamins not only for the benefits it offers but also how it helps absorb minerals. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium and calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies. Along with calcium absorption, vitamin D also helps gut absorption of iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. Vitamin D has been shown to have benefits relating to bone health and strengthening, cancer fighting ability, hormone boosting, depression, and physical strength.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, so making sure you get enough is pretty important. The most common known benefit of calcium is its bone strengthening ability. Strong healthy bones means a good supply of calcium. Besides bone strengthening though, calcium is also beneficial for your heart and other muscles. Some studies have shown a relationship between calcium intake and body fat loss.
Magnesium is a greatly underrated mineral. The benefits of magnesium will do wonders for the average person but if you are an athlete the benefits are even more abundant. Magnesium helps improve muscle strength, protein synthesis, sleep quality, bone density, insulin sensitivity, reduces body fat, and lowers stress hormones. That’s a lot of overall improvement from one mineral.
When talking important minerals to take, you can not leave Zinc off the list. Zinc aids in countless bodily functions. Some of these functions include hormone boosting, wound healing, skin health, depression, macular degeneration, and fertility. Most importantly zinc aids in growth and immune system boosting.