Micronutrients – the importance of vitamins and minerals
Micronutrients – the importance of vitamins and minerals

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he winter-spring transition is when I suffer spring fever. It’s not an illness but “rather a phenomenon thought to be initiated by a change in the season.” In my case it means weariness, low energy levels and lack of drive. This year I will rely on micronutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals to fight spring fever.

Those of you who have me in their Google+ circles know all about my last order or its delivery to be precise. I ordered a whole load of vitamins and minerals to boost my micronutrients intake.

I decided to address the symptoms of my spring fever and see if generous helpings of micronutrients will make any difference. It’s still early days for a review but here’s what I take:

VITAMIN B

Vitamin B is actually the umbrella of the eight vitamins referred to as Vitamin B complex. Together, these vitamins have a whole bunch of roles that ensure the smooth running of your system. They aid your immune system, nervous system, metabolic rate and your cell growth.

Vitamin B also helps to reduce the risk of cardio vascular disease. It also works towards the prevention of depression. If you are on a high protein diet, you need to ensure you take enough Vitamin B6. It helps to break down the protein and amino acids.

Natural sources of Vitamin B are fish, chicken breasts, nuts, potatoes, bananas, bread, cereals etc.

VITAMIN C

Vitamin C is probably the only vitamin that I remember growing up with. That’s probably because I used to get colds in the winters. Vitamin C fights colds and infections. It also aids the healing process of wounds and reducing the damage from pollutants such as cigarette smoke.

Green leafy vegetables and most fruits are rich in Vitamin C.

VITAMIN D

Technically speaking, Vitamin D isn’t a vitamin because the human body can produce it in response to UV exposure. Its most important function is to regulate calcium absorption and metabolism. It’s vital for your immune health and neuromuscular functioning.

Vitamin D is also linked to fat infiltration of muscle tissue which affects your strength and power. Low levels of Vitamin D increase the risk of fatty muscles. Sufficient levels of Vitamin D reduce your muscles’ fat infiltration.

Natural sources of Vitamin D are fatty fish (such as haddock, mackerel, trout, herring, salmon, sardines), fish liver oil, beef liver, egg yolks and diary products.

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E is actually a generic term for a group of chemicals. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. It lessens the severity of inflammatory disorders. It slows down smooth muscle cells’ growth, involved in the development of arthrosclerosis.

Vitamin E can be found in spinach, tropical fruits, broccoli, oils, nuts, wheat.

OMEGA 3

I still remember my mother taking Omega 3 when I was a kid. I remember it because the tablets looked like very smooth Jelly beans. The list of Omega 3’s health benefits is endless: from improving blood pressure and cholesterol to decreasing inflammation and enhancing fat loss. It also helps build new muscle tissue faster while preserving existing gains.

Leafy green vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, fish, eggs are all Omega 3 rich foods sources.

ZINC AND MAGNESIUM

Zinc and Magnesium are the two most talked about minerals. The reason for that is a study published in October 2000’s issue of the Journal of Exercise Physiology. The study suggests that supplement containing zinc and magnesium may increase muscle strength and the levels of testosterone and insulin. Both of these hormones are involved in the muscle building process.

Zinc and Magnesium can be found in legumes, grains, yoghurt, nuts, seeds and shelfish.

BCAA

BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are the “building blocks” of your body, making 35% of your muscle mass.

Your body is capable of producing most of the 20 amino acids it needs. There are, however, 8-10 of them that it obtains through diet and/or supplementation.

BCAAs can be found in many food sources: meat, fish, vegetables, diary products, whey and whole grains, soy products etc.

Please remember that any change in your diet should be consulted with your General Practitioner or a dietician. You shouldn’t take more than the recommended daily intake, especially if you are taking your vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients from supplements.

[quote_box_center]Remember to drink plenty of water to help your body process the supplements.[/quote_box_center]