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November 30, 2021
By: TA Editorial Team

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Tracy Anderson Magazine, available now on newsstands and for digital download.

To keep our body running at its best means fueling it with the best. To do so, we must focus on mindfully consuming high-quality real food and a variety of it. High quality means that we get nutrients in their purest form, and a variety ensures we’re getting all the nutrients needed. When we think about nutrients, we need both macronutrients (i.e. protein, fat, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals). Micronutrients are important for so many elements of peak health, such as energy levels, immunity, blood clotting, brain development, bone health, aging, and fluid balance. However, micronutrients cannot be made by our body, so they must be consumed. Therefore, we’ve compiled some of the key micronutrients, why they’re important for optimal health, and how to include them in your diet.

VITAMINS

Water-Soluble Vitamins

These are not stored in the body.

Vitamin B

Benefits: Important for energy production and nervous system

B1 (thiamine) found in: Whole grains, meat, and fish

B2 (riboflavin) found in: Eggs and milk

B3 (niacin) found in: Meat, salmon, leafy greens, and beans

B5 (pantothenic acid) found in: Mushrooms, tuna, and avocado

B6 (pyridoxine) found in: Fish, milk, carrots, and potatoes

B7 (biotin) found in: Eggs, almonds, spinach, and sweet potatoes

B9 (folate) found in: Beef, spinach, and asparagus

B12 (cobalamin) found in: Clams, fish, meat, spirulina, nutritional yeast, and chlorella

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Benefits: Important for collagen production

Found in: Citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomato, broccoli, and brussels sprouts

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

These are stored in the body.

Vitamin A

Benefits: Important for eye and organ function, healthy skin, and immunity

Found in: Dairy, fish, sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach

Vitamin D

Benefits: Important for immunity and bone health

Found in: Sunlight, fish oil, and milk

Vitamin E

Benefits: Important for immunity, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage

Found in: Sunflower seeds, wheat germ, almonds, and avocado

Vitamin K

Benefits: Important for blood clotting and bone health

Found in: Leafy greens, soybeans, and pumpkin

MINERALS

Microminerals

You need more of these than trace minerals

Calcium

Benefits: Important for bone health and muscle function

Found in: Milk products, leafy greens, fortified nondairy milks, and chickpeas

Phosphorus

Benefits: Important for bone health and cell membranes

Found in: Salmon, yogurt, turkey

Magnesium

Benefits: Important for body’s reactions, important for nerve transmission, muscle health, and bone and teeth health

Found in: Legumes, nuts, seeds, and black beans

Sodium

Benefits: Important for fluid balance and blood pressure

Found in: Salt, processed foods, and canned soup

Chloride

Benefits: Important for fluid balance

Found in: Seaweed and salt

Potassium

Benefits: Important for nerve impulses and muscle function

Found in: Lentils, acorn squash, and bananas

Trace Minerals

You need less of these than microminerals

Iron

Benefits: Important to oxygenate the body

Found in: Oysters, white beans, spinach, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, and tofu

*Note: foods with vitamin C help your body absorb iron, especially iron from non-meat sources

Copper

Benefits: Important for tissue health and brain health

Found in: Crab and cashews

Zinc

Benefits: Important for immunity and wound healing

Found in: Beans, nuts, oysters, crab, and chickpeas

Selenium

Benefits: Important for thyroid health and reproduction

Found in: Brazil nuts, sardines, and ham

Iodine

Benefits: Important for hormones, thyroid health, and metabolism

Found in: Salt

A complete diet of fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins and grains, usually means you’ll be getting all the right vitamins and minerals necessary. That’s why dieting, eliminating entire food groups, or eating the same foods all the time can accelerate deficiencies, which can be linked to many diseases. Those following plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan diets can still maintain proper levels of their micronutrients with just a little extra attention and care. Vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and zinc are all micronutrients that are easier to get from animal-based products. However, with proper planning and healthy choices, these micronutrients can be obtained from other sources, such as mushrooms, fortified cereals, tofu, edamame, calcium-fortified dairy beverages, and leafy greens.

While we always opt for a food-first philosophy, meaning we try to get all our nutrients from real foods the way our ancestors have for centuries, vitamin and mineral supplements can also be used. These work by providing your body with a synthetic version of a vitamin or nutrient if you’re deficient and struggling to include it. We recommend the advice of a professional alongside a blood test to determine which micronutrients you could use more of and how to supplement to meet your body’s requirements.

tracy anderson magazine fall issue

For more articles like this, pick up the latest issue of Tracy Anderson Magazine, available on newsstands now and on tracyanderson.com.

Categorized under Wellness