is in your food? The nutrients in our food fall into two categories – macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are what we need in large amounts, mainly protein, carbohydrates (vegetables, fruit, grains), and fats.
Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, and other compounds the body requires in small amounts for normal function.
Taking steps to balance the macronutrients in your food is important. Next, look at providing the 40 micronutrients that your body requires. Maximizing nutrient density should be the primary goal of our food choices because deficiencies can contribute to dis-ease:
- Vitamin C deficiency increases risk factors for chronic disease, including inflammation, larger waist circumference, and hypertension.
- Vitamin D deficiency is associated with poor immune response and a higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Magnesium deficiency contributes to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked to cognitive issues, tremors, neuropathy, and low energy.
- Folate deficiency increases the risk of birth defects and can lead to damaged blood vessels, altered gene expression, and a higher cancer risk.
In the past, micronutrients were thought to be vital for protection against severe disease and survival. Now they are recognized as critical for optimal function and longevity.
Most Aren’t Aware They Are Deficient
Most people aren’t aware that they have nutrient deficiencies for several reasons. First, symptoms alone may not clearly point to a lack of nutrients. So many people experience low energy, brain fog, poor sleep, and digestive or skin issues that it seems “normal.”
Second, healthcare providers don’t routinely test for nutrient levels beyond iron or Vitamin D. They are also not trained to look for potential deficiencies in the common Complete Blood Count and Comprehensive Metabolic Panel labs.
Has your doctor tested levels of Vitamin A, B6, Folate, B12, or Magnesium, Zinc, or Copper? Sadly, insurance doesn’t cover these deeper tests, though they would guide in providing more effective support.
Lastly, we’ve been led to believe that nutrient deficiencies only affect people in developing nations. The reality is that if you were to go into a grocery store and see people of all body types, the most likely thing they would have in common is that they are malnourished.
Well-Fed But Under-Nourished
The daily intake of calories in the U.S. has increased by 28% since I was born. What’s worse is that nearly 60% of the daily calories most American eat come from ultra-processed foods like pizza, bread, soda, desserts, or fast foods. This is why we are undernourished.
Sadly, if you are one of the small percentages of Americans who eat a lot of fresh vegetables, you may still not get the nutrients your body needs. USDA data from 1999 found significant declines in vitamins and minerals in 43 vegetables and fruits. It’s not likely to have improved since then.
Agricultural practices in recent decades have damaged the microbiome of the soil with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These interfere with plants’ ability to draw nutrients from the soil. The toxins from fertilizers and pesticides, such as glyphosate (RoundUp), also interfere with our absorption of the nutrients that do come into our bodies.
What’s A Body to Do?
Choose your food carefully, choosing organic for the produce that is on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list. That is the produce that retains the highest levels of pesticides.
When seeking to supplement the gaps in your nutrients, consider whole food formulas that are more easily absorbed and used in your body. I have found a brand that I trust and would be glad to tell you more.
Everybody requires a wide array of nutrients – macro, and micro. What you choose to eat can contribute to your body function or clog the process. Eat produce with the colors of the rainbow for a variety of nutrients and balance the macros on your plate.