Micronutrients - The Spark Plugs & Oil

Micronutrients are the ‘spark plugs’ and ‘oil’ of your body.  Without them you just won’t function the way you should or can!  In a nutshell micronutrients are essential for the healthy function of all your body's systems, from bone growth to brain function.

Micronutrients are commonly referred to as "vitamins and minerals” and include such minerals as flouride, selenium, sodium, iodine, copper and zinc. They also include vitamins like vitamin C, A, D, E and K, as well as the B-complex vitamins.  If your body doesn't get the quantities of micronutrients it needs, you simply won’t operate at your best and in some instances serious health problems can occur.  Sodium, for instance, is responsible for maintaining the proper fluid balance in your body; it helps fluids pass through cell walls and helps regulate proper pH levels in your blood.

Getting enough micronutrients in your diet isn't hard.  Eat plenty (I suggest 6-9 palm sized serves a day) of colourful non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, capsicum, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, carrot & tomato, plus have a few some citrus fruit and/or berries.  Other sources of valuable micronutrients include nuts & seeds, fish, eggs, dairy and poultry.

Here are some micronutrients, how they help maintain your body's systems and foods they are found in:

• Manganese promotes bone formation and energy production and helps support the help of your nervous system.  Examples of foods rich in Manganese a spinach, almonds,  pineapple, legumes & dark chocolate

• Magnesium, among other things it helps you convert glucose into energy, and is necessary for the metabolisation of the micronutrients calcium and vitamin C.  Examples of foods rich in Mangnesium are spinach, almonds,  pineapple, black beans, dark chocolate & avocado.

• Iron helps your body produce red blood cells and transport oxygen pretty important when it comes to training hard!  Examples of foods rich in Iron are spinach, shelfish,  legumes, organ meats, pumpkin seeds & quinoa.

• Iodine helps your thyroid gland develop and function, helps your body to metabolise fats, and promotes energy production and growth.  Examples of foods rich in Iodine are seaweed, dairy,  shrimp, tuna & eggs.

• Chloride helps maintain cellular fluid balance, as well as maintaining appropriate cellular pH.  Examples of foods rich in Chloride are sea salt, olives, tomatoes & celery.

Paul Cadman