The best thing about running or exercising regularly is how it makes you connect with your body. One slowly starts looking for healthy alternatives to unhealthy food. Sure, it takes more work, but the results are certainly worth it. As I have mostly started eating clean, I realised that my taste has changed over time too and I find myself craving for healthier options. This also means that I end up reading a lot more about what is going in to my son’s and my body. I also find myself reading labels of everything I buy and my grocery basket looks way different than it used to even two years back. While most of the time I ensure that I’m balancing carbohydrate, protein and fat intake, I recently started paying attention to micronutrients too. These are nutrients required by the body in micro doses.
The lack of these micro-nutrients could cause “hidden hunger”. A recent study shows that 9 of 10 kids are at risk. A study conducted in Bangalore with kids from different backgrounds showed that over 90% of kids could be at risk with deficiencies in vitamin A, folate, vitamin b12 and iron. This could lead to low energy levels, stunted growth, impaired cognitive function and other adverse effects. Parents need the right information to tackle this situation. You can read this article on the study for more details.
What are Micro-nutrients?
Micronutrients include such minerals as flouride, selenium, sodium, iodine, copper and zinc. They also include vitamins such as vitamin C, A, D, E and K, as well as the B-complex vitamins. Most micronutrients are essential, which means that they cannot be produced by the human body, but have to be consumed through nutrition. These are vital to the proper functioning of all of your body’s systems and physical and mental growth. So, a balanced diet rich in all nutrients is imperative specially for children.
Why are these important –
The combination of the micronutrients is important in order to provide support for the immune system and energy metabolism.
- Magnesium and calcium contribute to the maintenance of normal muscle function.
- Iron contributes to normal formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin and also, to the normal oxygen transport in the body.
- Antioxidant micronutrients such as vitamin C, selenium and zinc are needed for the immune system.
- Vitamin C contributes to normal functioning of the immune system during and after intensive physical training.
- Certain vitamins and minerals are important for energy provision. B-complex vitamins, vitamin C and calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and iodine contribute to a normal energy metabolism.
Now comes the tougher bit. I have been trying to find all possible natural sources of micro nutrients but one might have to take supplements like in case of Vitamin D.
Where to get them from –
- Vitamin A – Milk, cheese, eggs (yolk), orange and yellow fruits and vegetables
- Vitamin B – Legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables
- Vitamin C – Citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberry, parsley, cabbage
- Vitamin D – Citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberry, parsley, cabbage
- Vitamin E – Olives and olive oil, avocado, wholegrain cereals
- Iron – Lean meat, green leafy vegetables, legumes, chia seeds
- Calcium – Dairy products, almonds, tahini, green leafy vegetables, chia seeds
- Magnesium – Nuts, seeds, wholegrains, legumes, green leafy vegetables
- Zinc – Lean meat, chicken, fish, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds
- Selenium – Brazil nuts, wheatgerm, sunflower seeds, oats, Hemp seeds
- Phosphorous – Hemp seeds, almonds, beans, garlic, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts
The tougher deal is to get the kids to eat healthy but then that’s a topic for another day 😊
Featured Image courtesy – Shivam Thapliyal (graphic designer)