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

magnesium deficient.

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

another blog.

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.