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Minerals Vitamins and Micronutrients from food
Nutrition

Are Micronutrients the Secret to a Healthier Lifestyle?

Including Micronutrients in your diet for a healthier lifestyle

The World Health Organization described micronutrients as “magic wands.” With only small amounts, these substances allow our bodies to generate enzymes, hormones and other essential elements needed for proper metabolism, growth, and development.

Eating less than the optimal quantity of essential vitamins, minerals and compounds could lead to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. How essential are micronutrients that lack of a single nutrient can directly cause an ailment? 

What are Micronutrients?

Based on the prefix “micro-” — that means little — we only need a minuscule amount of micronutrients in our body compared to macronutrients, according to Harvard Medical School.

While our bodies need an only tiny amount of micronutrients, every vitamin and mineral plays a specific essential role in one’s wellbeing and development. Both are related to humans’ regulation of heartbeat,  cellular pH, bone density, metabolism and other functions that support one’s optimal health.

Healthy Recipes to Boost Micronutrient Intake

Ultimate Micronutrient Smoothie

by Whitney E. RD

microutrients smoothie recipe

This tasty “micronutrient smoothie” is packed with about 50% of your daily needs — essential vitamins, minerals and bioactive phytochemicals. It’s also vegan.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 medium carrot
  • ¼ of a red beet, raw
  • ½ a medium tomato
  • ½ a medium orange
  • ⅓ cup blueberries*
  • ½ cup strawberries*
  • ½ cup mango*
  • ½ cup cooked sweet potato
  • ¼ of an avocado
  • 1 brazil nut
  • 2 cups cold filtered water
  • ice*

Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender. Serves: 1-2

Micronutrients found in each Ingredient

Vitamins

Minerals

Hemp Seeds

Vitamin B1 and E

Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Phosphorus, Zinc

Kale

Vitamins A, B6, C, and  K

Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Calcium, Potassium

Spinach

Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B9, E, C, and K

Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc

Carrot

Vitamins A, B1, B3, B6, B9, C and K

Manganese, Potassium

Red Beet

Vitamins B9 and C

Manganese, Potassium, Iron

Tomatoes

Vitamin A, B1, B3, B6, C, E, and K

Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Potassium, Phosphorus

Oranges

Vitamin B1, B6, C

Potassium

Blueberries

Vitamins A, B6, C, and K

Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Iron, Sodium

Strawberries

Vitamins B6, B9, C, E, and K

Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Potassium,  Phosphorus, Iron

Mangoes

Vitamins A, B6, C and E

Potassium, Zinc

Potatoes

Vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C

Magnesium, Potassium,  Phosphorus, Iron

Avocadoes

Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E and K

Magnesium, Potassium, Iron

Brazil Nuts

Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and B6

Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Iron,  Sodium, and Selenium

Benefits from the Micronutrients

As you notice from the table, this Ultimate Micronutrient Smoothie is truly one of the most nutrient-dense beverages you’ll try!

Most of the ingredients are rich in vitamins that are great for one’s:

  • Vision and collagen synthesis (Vitamin A/Retinol)
  • Cellular energy production and nervous system function (Vitamins B1/Thiamine, B2/Riboflavin, B5/Pantothenic acid, & B6/Pyridoxine)
  • Immune system, growth and development (Vitamin C/Ascorbic Acid)
  • DNA repair (Vitamin B3/Niacin)
  • Skin health (Vitamin E)
  • Bone health and wound healing (Vitamin K)

What’s more, this smoothie is also packed with various minerals! The smoothie contains brazil nuts in the mix that provide a hefty dose of selenium, which is essential in making antioxidant enzymes and regulating metabolism. Most of the minerals are found in the ingredients so basically everything would support your bones, muscles, heart and brain health.

Baked Greek Chicken on Ribbon Salad

By President’s Choice

Baked Greek Chicken on Ribbon Salad is a main course salad consisting of yogurt that serves as both the marinade and salad dressing.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tub (500 mL) 0% Greek Yogurt- Plain
  • 2 tsp (10 mL)  finely minced garlic
  • 1 tsp (5 mL)  finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL)  fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp (5 mL)  dried oregano
  • 4  chilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 900 g
  • 1 cup (250 mL)  drained and rinsed chickpeas
  • 1 cup (250 mL)  multi-coloured cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL)  thinly sliced celery
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL)  thinly sliced red onion
  • 4  mini cucumbers, thinly sliced lengthwise. (To make thin ribbons of cucumber-use a vegetable peeler to pull along the length of the cucumber.)
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL)  fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL)  fresh Italian parsley leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a bowl, stir together yogurt, garlic and lemon rind.
  2. Transfer ¾ cup or 175 mL of the mixture to a small bowl, then whisk in lemon juice.
  3. Cover the mixture and set aside in the refrigerator.
  4. Add oregano to remaining yogurt mixture. Stir carefully to mix well.
  5. Transfer the remaining mixture with oregano to a resealable plastic bag.
  6. Add chicken. Before sealing the bag, massage well to completely coat chicken with the marinade. Set aside in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Transfer chicken in marinade to prepared baking sheet; discard remaining marinade.
  9. Bake in center of the oven for 15 minutes; increase oven to broil. Cook chicken 5 to 10 minutes longer or until lightly colored and cooked through. Transfer to dinner plates.
  10. After which, in a large bowl, gently toss chickpeas, tomatoes, celery, onions and cucumbers together.
  11. Divide salad onto plates alongside the chicken. Garnish it with mint and parsley leaves.
  12. Drizzle reserved yogurt dressing over chicken and salad.
  13. Serve it on the side in small individual bowls.

Micronutrients found in each Ingredient

Vitamins

Minerals

Greek Yogurt- Plain

Vitamins A, B1, B5, B12 and D

Calcium, Potassium, Zinc, Iodine, Phosphorus, Magnesium

Garlic

Vitamin C

Phosphorous, Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Copper

Lemon

Vitamins B9 and C

Potassium,

Dried Oregano

Vitamins A, C and K

Manganese

Chicken

Vitamins B3, B5, B6, B12

Selenium, Phosphorus, Choline

Chickpeas

Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, amd C

Folate, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Magnesium, Choline, Iron and Selenium

Tomatoes

Vitamins A, C and K

Potassium

Celery

Vitamins A, C and K

Potassium

Red Onion

Vitamins B1, B6 and C

Copper, Manganese Phosphorus

Cucumbers

Vitamin B1, C and K

Copper, Potassium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium

Mint Leaves

Vitamins A and C

Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron

Parsley

Vitamins A, B1, B3, C and K

Magnesium, Potassium, Folate, Iron, and Calcium

Benefits from the micronutrients in the dish

Yogurt and other dairy products are one of the only marinades that truly tenderize poultry and meat. This is because the calcium in dairy products activates enzymes that break down proteins, making this chicken very tender.

Aside from calcium, this recipe is packed with a few vitamins and even more minerals. Like vitamins, minerals support one’s body growth, development and overall health. Our bodies utilize minerals to do various functions, including strong bone growth and nerve impulse transmission. We also need minerals for hormone production and maintaining a normal heartbeat.

Also, this salad contains zinc. Zinc promotes proper growth, immunity to resist infections, nervous system development and healthy pregnancy outcomes. You can get zinc from meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds and nuts, eggs, whole grains, vegetables and even from a list of whey protein powders.

Takeaway

In a 2019 special health report entitled “Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals: Choosing the foods and nutrients you need to stay healthy,” Dr. Howard D. Sesso, an associate professor at HMS, added that we should meet our micronutrient needs through having a well-rounded diet with plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats, instead of taking them from supplements. 

>READ: MEDICAL NUTRITION THERAPY: WILL IT KEEP GENETIC DISPOSITION AT BAY?

>READ: NUTRITION AFTER 50: WHAT’S THE 411 ON RDA? 

>READ: DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S IN YOUR PROTEIN POWDER?

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