Have you read any headlines that say, “hit the macros?” It is a popular expression in the fitness industry. But what exactly does it mean? “Macros” is an industry term that refers to macronutrients such as fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Although finding a good balance between the three is important, I am here to tell, you that making sure your “micros” (vitamins and minerals) are in order, is just as important.
The emphasis on “macros” is motivated by everyone’s desire to create a caloric checks and balance system. But it is important to step away from questions like, ‘How many carbs do I need? How many servings of protein should I squeeze into my day? Well, according to my calorie tracker….’ If you have deficiencies in your ‘micros,’ you will not achieve balanced nutrition.
So what are minerals and why are they important to us?
Minerals are substances found in nature that are essential. They are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, eggs and meats. Now this might sound like I am going back to the topic of ‘macros,’ since grains, fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates (and fiber). But viewing your diet from the ‘micro’ perspective is a great way to improve your overall health. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can cause:
- muscle cramping
- numbness / tingling
- slow-thinking / lethargic
- hair loss
The most common deficiencies are:
- Vitamin D
Minerals make up 4% of the body’s total weight. They are found throughout the body in our fluids and tissues. Minerals working in conjunction with vitamins, enzymes and hormones keep important biological functions normal (refer back to the list of symptoms).
According to the USDA, in 1953 a person could get all of the vitamin A needed from eating 2 peaches. Today, you would have to eat 50 peaches! Why such a dramatic difference? The depletion of minerals from our soils has resulted from over farming, overuse of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Fruits, vegetables, and grains grown in these soils are mineral deficient. Therefore, we can no longer rely on receiving sufficient minerals from our food to supply our body with the comprehensive vitamin/mineral panel it needs.
Despite the fact that I eat a lot of vegetables, I have re-addressed my diet. Notwithstanding the lack of sun in Chicago for months, vitamin D, B and calcium have been my personal focus. I have added mineral and vitamin supplements to my diet. Although my diet is well-balanced, I am no longer ignoring the fact that – I can not get to organic foods al the time. I realize that my plate of brussel sprouts mixed with quinoa might be a perfect meal for my training and weight management, but may not offer sufficient micros for optimum health. To resolve this issue, I simply take supplements like Isagenix’s Ionic Supreme, Swanson vitamin D drops and Pro-Argi9+
As you search for ways to improve your nutrition, do not get too caught up with the ‘macro’ view of your diet. To avoid becoming mineral-starved, seek out protein shakes and supplements sources to make your mineral and vitamin intake more robust.
This blog was co-authored by Brennan Cox, Personal Trainer
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