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Articles Fitness Nutrition

5 Micronutrients and Where to Find Them

Nov 21, 2009

Micronutrients are nutrients that the human body requires. However, unlike other nutrients, micronutrients are only needed in small dosages every day. Several micronutrients that you may have heard of include iron, chromium, copper, iodine and zinc. Deficiencies of any one of these micronutrients can negatively impact the human body. Therefore, you need to be sure that you're getting your micronutrients in the right dosages.

 

Micronutrients can be found in many everyday foods. They can also be found in dietary supplements that help you maintain healthy levels of micronutrients inside the body. Here are five micronutrients and the specific foods where you can find them:

1. Iron

Dietary iron is necessary in the body to help your red blood cells move oxygen throughout the body. Cell growth also occurs as a result of your iron levels. However, failure to get enough iron can result in anemia, which can lead to tiredness and a weakened immune system. Therefore, it's imperative that you get enough iron in your daily diet. There are plenty of foods that can deliver iron to your body. Red meat, several types of beans, leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli, whole wheat bread and many soy products like tofu all bring iron into the body.

2. Chromium

Inside the body, chromium helps to regulate your glucose levels. It does this by balancing your blood sugar and making sure it doesn't get too high or too low. It also helps regulate hunger, protects DNA and controls your blood's fat and cholesterol levels. Without it, you could suffer from cold sweats, frequent hunger and a constant desire to eat and drink. Whole wheat bread, peas, oysters, potatoes and rye bread all deliver chromium to the body.

3. Copper

Copper works with iron to keep bones, blood vessels and nerves functioning properly. It also helps form hemoglobin in your blood. A copper deficiency could result in digestive problems, weakness in the body and respiration issues. It can be found in different types of shellfish, nuts, soy beans, poultry and even dark chocolate.

4. Iodine

Though the human body does not need large amounts of iodine, it does help your thyroid gland to function properly. It helps your body feel energized and delivers energy to the body. A lack of iodine could, of course, result in low levels of energy. Table salt is the best source of iodine (but, be careful, you don't want to overdo it) and fruits and vegetables grown in coastal areas that are susceptible to salt water are also good sources of it.

5. Zinc

Unlike iodine, zinc is present in all different parts of the human body. It helps heal wounds, assists the body in keeping skin healthy and also fights off infections. Minus zinc, you could suffer from hair loss and fatigue, and you could see wounds taking longer to heal than normal. In order to keep your zinc levels up, incorporate more dairy products, beans, nuts and whole grain cereals into your diet. Zinc is often cooked away or lost during processing, so make sure you find ways to incorporate it into your diet.

In can be hard to regulate the micronutrient levels in your body. If you're having trouble, speak to your doctor to see how you can get more micronutrients into your diet. You don't need high levels of micronutrients, but they are very important to many of the body's functions. Make sure you're getting your daily dose.

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