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Why You Only Need Micro Amounts of Micronutrients
by Alan Joel

Nutrients fall into two categories: micronutrients and macronutrients. Macronutrients are the carbohydrates, fats and proteins that we get calories from. Micronutrients do not have calories, include vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, bioflavonoids and antioxidants and our bodies need them to operate properly. Macronutrients and micronutrients are created by the body breaking foods down into its chemical parts. The amount of these nutrients you get depends on the type of food you eat and the quality of the food you eat. For example, eating processed foods gives you many more macronutrients than micronutrients because vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals are destroyed through processing. This means you get a lot of calories without getting many vitamins and minerals. Processed foods and fast foods are not the only culprits these days in not providing micronutrients. Crops grown in mineral depleted soil, as much of our food is today, also does not provide the proper amount of micronutrients or macronutrients. The best defense against this is to eat locally grown fruits and vegetables raised through organic farming techniques and meat from grass fed animals.

Amounts of Macronutrients and Micronutrients

Our bodies need many more macronutrients than micronutrients because they provide the calories from carbs, proteins and fats that our bodies need for energy and good health. The amount of macronutrients we need a day are measured in grams. We need much smaller amounts of micronutrients and measure out daily intake in milligrams or micrograms. While there can be health problems from not getting enough micronutrients, there can also be risks or side effects from getting too much of them.

Some of the examples of risks of getting too much of a micronutrient are niacin which too much of can cause itching, and heat on the upper parts of the body and vitamin B6 which is a fat soluble vitamin that can be stored and become toxic. Too much vitamin A can result in hip fractures in elder women and birth defects if pregnant women get too much. Too much vitamin D can lead to high levels of calcium appearing in the blood, bone loss, kidney stones, and negative impacts on the heart, lungs, nervous system, kidneys and blood vessels. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine sets UL levels that recommend the highest level of micronutrients per day that can be consumed from food, water and supplements without health risks. It is important because of risks that can occur from too little or too many micronutrients to get enough of them but not exceed the UL. The UL can vary according to age and sometimes by sex so consulting your healthcare provider or finding out the recommended amount for your age group is important. If you are supplementing your diet with vitamins, it is also important to read the labels to make sure they fall within the level recommended for you. It is especially important for children to get enough of the right nutrients to support their physical growth and cognitive development without taking so much that physical risks occur.

The best way to get all the nutrition we need is of course from fresh healthy food and avoiding processed and fast foods. The healthiest, freshest foods are going to come from locally grown, sustainable farming methods. Then supplementing that diet with high quality AFA bluegreen algae will provide the essential fatty acids, plant-based proteins, complex sugars, vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and phytonutrients your body needs for good health.

Sources:
http://bonfirehealth.com/micronutrients-macronutrients-food-breakdown/
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/lifestages/children/
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/lifestages/adolescents/
http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/micronutrients-for-the-endurance-athlete
http://www.mindandbodyheartandsoul.com/sites/default/files/Micronutrients.pdf
http://www.innerbody.com/nutrition/micronutrients

 

 

 

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