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Thursday, September 21, 2023

National Nutrition Week 2023: The Significance of Micronutrients in Your Diet

Micronutrients, despite their diminutive name, play an indispensable role in maintaining our health. These vitamins and minerals are essential for various bodily functions and must be consumed in specified amounts to prevent deficiencies. In this article, we delve into the importance of micronutrients, their significance, and how to ensure they are a part of your diet.

Understanding Micronutrients: Micronutrients encompass vitamins and minerals that the body requires in relatively small quantities but are paramount for overall health. Ruchi Rai, a Dietitian at SRV Hospitals – Goregaon, emphasizes that their impact on health is substantial, and any deficiency can lead to severe consequences.

Roles of Micronutrients: Vedika Premnani, Clinical Dietician at Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai, elucidates that these micronutrients play pivotal roles in our bodies. They enable the production of enzymes, hormones, and substances essential for growth and development, energy production, immune function, blood clotting, bone health, fluid balance, and more.

Importance of a Varied Diet: Premnani stresses the importance of a diverse diet, as the micronutrient content varies among foods. Consuming a variety of foods ensures an adequate intake of each micronutrient.

Key Micronutrients and Their Roles:

  1. Iodine: Regulates hormone levels, particularly thyroid hormones, supporting metabolic balance.
  2. Vitamin A: Vital for enhanced vision and a robust immune system.
  3. Vitamin D: Promotes healthy bone development, reduces bone disease risk, and aids calcium absorption.
  4. Zinc: Boosts the immune system, facilitates protein synthesis, and aids wound healing.
  5. Iron: Essential for maintaining a healthy bloodstream, supports physical and mental development, and plays a crucial role in oxygen transportation during exercise.

Consequences of Micronutrient Deficiencies: Lack of essential micronutrients can lead to severe health issues:

  • Anaemia: Iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies can result in anaemia, particularly risky during pregnancy.
  • Osteoporosis: Insufficient vitamin D or calcium can lead to weakened bones and higher fracture risk.
  • Increased Infections: Vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness, dry skin, and vulnerability to infections.
  • Thyroid Malfunctioning: Iodine deficiency can enlarge the thyroid gland and disrupt hormonal balance.
  • Reduced Immunity: Zinc deficiency may lead to impaired immune function, skin problems, hair loss, and slow wound healing.

Creating a Micronutrient-Rich Diet: To ensure a diet rich in micronutrients, follow these five steps:

  1. Diverse Food Selection: Include a wide range of foods in your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy or dairy alternatives. Leafy greens, for example, are abundant in micronutrients like vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, and magnesium.
  2. Snack on Nuts and Seeds: Opt for healthy nuts and seeds over processed snacks, as they provide heart-protecting nutrients like vitamin E, zinc, and magnesium.
  3. Cooking Methods: Choose cooking methods like steaming, microwaving, and sautéing with minimal oil to retain more vitamins and minerals compared to deep frying or boiling.
  4. Avoid Processed Foods: Minimize the consumption of highly processed foods, as they often lack essential micronutrients due to extensive refining and additives.
  5. Supplements: Consult healthcare professionals to identify specific micronutrient deficiencies. If necessary, consider supplements to meet your vitamin and mineral requirements.

Incorporating these practices into your daily life ensures that your diet is replete with the vital micronutrients essential for your health and well-being.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

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