What are micronutrients and how many do I need per day?
In the context of a healthy diet one often hears and reads the term micronutrients. Surely you too have read or heard this word a few times. But what exactly is it about? And why do they seem to be such an important part of a balanced diet?
We will answer these and many other questions on the subject of micronutrients in this article. We will not only cover the different types of micronutrients, but also explain their importance for the body inmore detail. Last but not least, we will discuss where to find these nutrients and how much we need. In this way, you will be well informed about micronutrients and will be able to do something good for your body.
The human diet can basically be roughly divided into two types of nutrients – macronutrients and micronutrients. While macronutrients provide energy in the form of calories, micronutrients are defined as non-energy providing components of the diet.
Vitamins (A, D, E, K, etc.)
Minerals (zinc, iron, magnesium, etc.)
So, the body does not gain energy from these nutrients – but what do we need them for? This is explained quite simply: the human organism needs micronutrients for just about all vital functions.
What micronutrients are there and what are their effects on our body?
Micronutrients can in principle be divided into two types – vitamins and minerals. Both types belong to the essential food components and must therefore be supplied to the body through food.
Although the human organism is able to produce some vitamins itself, they are not available in sufficient quantities to meet the body’s needs, so the majority must be provided through diet. However, not all vitamins are the same – there is one more detail to consider: on the one hand there are vitamins that are water-soluble, and on the other hand there are also vitamins that are considered fat-soluble.
This is particularly important to know, because water-soluble vitamins, in contrast to fat-soluble vitamins, can hardly or not at all be stored in the body. Therefore, a regular supply is extremely important.
Minerals, on the other hand, are exclusively absorbed through food. They can be further divided into quantity and trace elements.
The bulk elements include sodium, calcium and magnesium. While bulk elements occur in the body in increased concentrations, the body stores trace elements only in small amounts. Trace elements therefore include iron, copper and zinc.
What functions do vitamins and minerals have?
Vitamins support the body in countless metabolic reactions. Their task is largely to regulate the utilization of the energy-supplying macronutrients. Thus they are directly and indirectly involved in a multitude of vital processes of the body.
Put 50 grams of the Verival Porridge Smoothie Bowl in a bowl.
Next, add 120 ml of water, cold milk or plant drink and mix the liquid well with the base.
Leave the mixture to steep for 1 minute and then add toppings of your choice to your Porridge Smoothie Bowl.
Fresh fruit goes perfectly with this Smoothie Bowl. That's why we topped it with mango, passion fruit and coconut flakes.
Minerals also fulfil a considerable number of functions in the organism. They are not only important components of body structures such as bones, but also help to activate enzymes or maintain the water balance.
How many nutrients do I need per day?
The daily requirements of the individual micronutrients vary greatly. One reason for this is that not all nutrients can be stored in the body; on the other hand, different population groups have different requirements. For example, the requirements of many nutrients are higher in young people during growth.
You can see the requirements of some exemplary nutrients in the table below. The values are based on the recommendations of the DGE (German Society for Nutrition).
These foods are particularly nutritious
In order to cover the need for the different micronutrients, you should pay attention to a balanced diet. This theoretically means that the food should have a high nutrient density.
From a practical point of view, for the sake of simplicity, you can orientate yourself to the intake of a wide variety of foods. The recommendations are based on the Austrian food pyramid – for vegetarian or vegan diets you can of course also use appropriately adapted food pyramids.
Fruits, vegetables and legumes are at the bottom of the pyramid along with a sufficient supply of liquid and thus form the basis. Accordingly, you should ensure that you consume five portions of plant foods per day. This is mainly because this group of foods provides you with plenty of vitamins, minerals, fibre and secondary plant substances.
Directly above and thus another important part of the diet are cereals and potatoes. The intake of these foods should be daily and approximately four servings. Wholemeal cereals are particularly suitable for this purpose, as they not only contain plenty of carbohydrates, but also a large number of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
60g(about 2 tbsp) soya yogurtor any other plant-based alternative
100mlsoya drinkor any other plant-based alternative
1/2bananacut into slices
possibly agave syrup or maple syrupas much as you please
1/2bananacut into slices
peanut butteras much as you please
fresh strawberriesas much as you please
Fill up the jar with about 60g Verival Strawberry-Chia Porridge (about 6 tbsp) and 3 tsp cocoa powder. Blend it well.
Cut the banana into thin slices and mix about half of it with the porridge.
Fill up the jar with 2 tbsp of soya yogurt and 100 ml soya drink and again, blend it well.
Seal the jar well and put it in the fridge overnight or at least for half an hour.
(In the morning) before enjoying it, add peanut butter, the second half of the banana and fresh strawberries as toppings – and you’re done!
Other important sources of nutrients are fats and oils, milk and dairy products, and products of animal origin, if they have a place in your diet. Vegetable oils should be highlighted as they contain healthy unsaturated fatty acids and some fat-soluble vitamins.
Micronutrients can thus be divided into two groups – vitamins and minerals. Both of these groups supply the body with essential nutrients, which is why they play such an important role in a balanced diet. In order to keep an overview, you can rely on the food pyramids, as they illustrate which foods are particularly rich in nutrients and should therefore form the basis of every form of nutrition.
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