Micronutrients

 

The micronutrients are things that our body needs in very small amounts and are made up of vitamins and minerals. While for the most part we don't need to worry about specific micronutrient intakes if we are eating a varied diet, there are a few that it is good to pay attention to as these little things play very important roles!

 

Vitamins

 Carrots on wooden table

Vitamin A

Functions: Eyesight, immune function, skin health, antioxidant activity, regulation of genes,

Sources: Liver, carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach, apricots and squash.

 Roasted chicken on wooden table

B vitamins

Functions: A group of several different vitamins with many functions in the metabolism and red blood cell formation.

Sources: Meat, fish, eggs, dairy and green leafy vegetables.

 Mandarins in bowl on table

Vitamin C

Functions: Collagen synthesis, antioxidant activity, iron absorption, wound healing. 

Sources: Orange, kiwi, guava, papaya, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries and kale.

 Salmon fillets on wooden chopping board

Vitamin D

Function: Calcium absorption and bone health.

Sources: The sun (April-September), oily fish, eggs and mushrooms. 

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Vitamin E

Function: Powerful antioxidant and skin health.

Sources: Nuts (particularly almonds), seeds, sweet potato, avocado and vegetable oils. 

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Vitamin K

Function: Blood clotting and bone health.

Sources: Kale, spinach, broccoli, and cabbage. It is also made by our gut bacteria. 

 

Minerals

 Steak on wooden chopping board

Iron

Function: Oxygen transport, immune function and energy metabolism.

Sources: Red meat, liver, shellfish, spinach, pulses and beans. Note that our body absorbs animal sources, better than it does plant sources.

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Calcium

Function: Bone and dental health, muscle contraction, cell signalling .

Sources: Milk, cheese, dairy products, fortified milk alternatives (shop-bought soy or almond milk), broccoli, cabbage and kale.

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Zinc

Function: Immune health, wound healing and skin health, involved in many reactions to do with the metabolism. 

Sources: Lamb, beef, shellfish, pumpkin seeds and chickpeas. 

 Bananas in wire basket

Potassium

Function: One of the body's major electrolytes, it is essential for cell function and water balance.

Sources: Banana, avocado, squash, sweet potato, spinach, apricots and salmon

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Selenium

Function: Immune function, reproductive function, thyroid hormone production and a component of enzymes.

Sources: Brazil nuts, bread, meat, fish and eggs (depends where the foods are grown/raised).  

 Eggs in wire basket

Iodine

Function: A component of our thyroid hormones which regulate our metabolism.

Sources: Fish, shellfish, seaweed, eggs and milk (varies seasonally). 

 

Want to learn about nutrients that are beneficial for specific systems? Check out my fab five guides: