Without the necessary micronutrients, your body will never function at its optimum
level and you will potentially be missing out on the results that you are after. If you
are not very familiar with micronutrients, then read on, as the latest FFA blog
discovers the important role they play in your performance and how to ensure you
are giving your body enough of what it needs.
So what are micronutrients?
Macronutrients are the more commonly discussed carbohydrates, proteins and fats
that make up the energy and building blocks for our bodies metabolism. In essence
micronutrients are the vitamins, minerals, omega 3’s and amino acids that everyone
needs for a healthy body that performs the way you want it to. With the vast amount
of micronutrients out there (40 to be precise), it can be a minefield to decipher where
to even begin. It is often the symptoms of deficiency that lead people to think more
carefully about how to incorporate the most important ones in their diet. We have
covered the basics of in our view the main 5 micronutrients to get you started:
Potassium: You have no doubt heard of it, but do you really know what this
micronutrient is for? It is an indispensable mineral your body needs every day. It is
known best for being an electrolyte, with the task of controlling the flow of fluids and
nutrients in and out of the body’s cells, regulating your blood pressure and keeping
your brain, nerves and muscles functioning normally. Pretty important stuff hey?
You could be lacking in potassium if you often feel tired and weak, experience
cramps and have high blood pressure.
Where to find it: One of the best sources are white beans, avocado, mushrooms,
sweet potatoes and, of course, bananas.
Magnesium: This is an important micronutrient that shouldn’t be neglected.
Magnesium is required by the body to strengthen bones, maintain muscle and nerve
function and also control blood glucose levels. More than 50% of our population is
In many ways similar to potassium, you could be lacking magnesium if you often feel
tired and weak, experience cramps, have high blood pressure but in addition suffer
from insomnia or migraines.
Where to find it: The good news is, magnesium can be found in several foods
including spinach, green beans, peas and broccoli seafood like salmon mackerel and
tuna, nuts, figs and seeds.
Vitamin A: Essential for good vision, organ function, strengthening the immune
system and for healthy skin and hair. It is a powerful antioxidant and also acts as a
hormone in the body.
You could be lacking vitamin A if you have dry hair, nails and skin, a weak immune
system and night-blindness.
Where to find it: Liver, sweet potato, carrots, leafy green vegetables, some cheeses,
mango and salmon are all foods high in vitamin A.
Zinc: This trace element is required for a properly functioning immune system, to
breakdown carbohydrates into energy and to support wound healing.
You could be lacking zinc if you have a weak immune system, experience hair loss,
have a poor healing process and unexplained weight loss.
Where to find it: Mushrooms, meat (mainly red meat), whole grains and chickpeas.
Oysters actually contain more zinc than any other food if you are feeling fancy!
Calcium: This mineral is necessary for life and mainly known to enable and maintain
good bone strength. It allows our blood to clot, our muscles to contract and our
heart to beat. As we age we need up to 20% more of it. Too much of it can make you
constipated. Supplementation may increase the risk of kidney stones. Most of it we
get from the sun
You could be lacking calcium if you experience muscle cramps and spasms, have
numbness and or tingling in the hands, feet and face. Also if you easily fracture
bones, are confused, depressed or even suffer from memory loss.
Where to find it: Sunlight! From foods, (chia) seeds, cheese and other diary such as
natural yogurt and milk, almonds, figs, oily fish such as sardines, beans and lentils,
tofu and dark green leafy vegetables.
Even whey protein supplementation would help with most of the above but Fit For
Anything recommends natural sources from normal foods as this is more sustainable
in the scheme of things. Generally the absorption of natural foods and sources
appears to be better than most supplements available. More about this topic in
Remember that to achieve a body that’s truly fit you need to combine your healthy
nutrition with a regular exercise routine, ideally when the body is safe and aligned
enough to then also include high-intensity interval training, resistance training and
full-body workouts suited to your fitness goals.