If you’re starting to pay more attention to nutrition, the terminology can be one of the biggest initial hurdles. Antioxidants, free radicals, juice detox diets – you sometimes feel like you need to be a chemist just to keep up
However, it’s not all as confusing as it might sound. Today, we’ll go over one of the most important concepts – micronutrients. Don’t let the name fool you. Micronutrients can have a gigantic impact on your overall health and are a big part of why juice diets and 21-day cleanses work.
Okay, So What’s a Micronutrient Already?
Nutrients are good. We get that. A reason why juice diets are so popular is that people are looking out for those valuable nutrients. A nutrient is, in essence, anything that an organism needs to grow and live. Us humans have a particular set of nutrients that we require. When talking about the nutrients that people need, most nutritionists divide them into two categories. These are macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are the raw fuel that we need for energy. Think of your body as a car. In this metaphor, macronutrients are the gas in your tank. They include things like proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Micronutrients are things you need in smaller amounts for very specific tasks in your body. Going back to the car analogy, they would be the things like oil, antifreeze, and windshield wiper fluid. Not as immediate a concern as gas. But you wouldn’t want to drive without them!
Generally, micronutrients are divided into two categories, vitamins, and minerals. If you’re curious, the main difference between the two is that vitamins are purely organic. They can be broken down by acid or heat. Minerals, meanwhile, are inorganic and indivisible. As far as nutrition goes, they work close to the same way.
Why Micronutrients Matter
Just because your body needs something in a small amount doesn’t mean it’s not essential. Every vitamin and mineral has a particular role in your body. If you’re lacking even just one micronutrient, you’ll start to suffer from serious health consequences. Don’t believe us? Following is a quick list of some of the most vital micronutrients and what happens when you miss out on them.
Calcium: Calcium is a necessity for healthy bones and teeth. If you’re missing out on calcium, you can develop osteoporosis or cataracts.
Iodine: This mineral helps with thyroid function. Missing out on it can cause swelling, weight gain, weakness, hair loss, skin conditions, and even memory loss.
Iron: Your muscles need iron in order to get the oxygen they need. Without it, you’ll be anemic and short of breath.
Phosphorus: You need Phosphorus for healthy cells. Deficiency in phosphorus results in stiffness, fatigue, and anxiety.
Potassium: This mineral helps regulate fluid in your cells and your nerves and muscles. Without it, you’ll be cramping, aching, and have blood pressure issues.
Magnesium: Magnesium helps with managing your blood pressure. Signs you’re lacking include tremors and twitches.
Sodium: Like Potassium, you need sodium to manage the fluid levels of your cells, plus for handling blood pressure. Without enough sodium, you’ll end up lethargic and confused.
Zinc: This mineral is vital for proper growth and immune function – super essential for kids! Without it, you can expect a weakened immune system and stunted growth.
Vitamin A: You need plenty of Vitamin A for your eyes and organs to work correctly. Night blindness and a weakened immune system follow if you’re lacking it.
Vitamin B1: Known as thiamine, this vitamin is necessary for turning other nutrients into actual energy. A deficiency in vitamin B1 can lead to nerve damage, anorexia, and even memory loss.
Vitamin B2: Also known as riboflavin, you need B2 in order to produce energy and for your cells to function. A deficiency in B2 can do some nasty things to your appearance, including giving you skin disorders and hair loss.
Vitamin B3: Niacin (B3) helps us get energy from our food. Not getting enough B3? Enjoy a nasty combination of dementia and diarrhea.
Vitamin B5: Pantothenic acid (B5) is used to help your body break down fatty acids. Deficiency is rare but unpleasant, including vomiting, stomach pains, and fatigue.
Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine, or vitamin B6, is needed to help turn carbohydrates into sugar and create new red blood cells. Without enough of it, you’ll suffer from anemia, depression, and a weakened immune system.
Vitamin B7: Biotin (B7) is needed to metabolize your body’s fatty acids, amino acids, and glucose. Signs you’re missing out include hair loss and rashes.
Vitamin B9: Folate (B9) is used to help form actual DNA and metabolizes protein. If you lack B9, signs include anemia, fatigue, and hair loss.
Vitamin B12: Cobalamin (B12) is needed for the proper function of red blood cells, your nervous system, and your brain. A deficiency in it will result in loss of muscle coordination and chronic nausea.
Vitamin C: Technically known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is critical in helping build up the collagen in your skin and boosting your immune system. You’ll find that wounds heal slower without it, and you’ll get nasty issues with your gums. A good juice diet is critical to avoiding getting as scurvy as a pirate!
Vitamin D: You need Vitamin D for your bones to properly absorb calcium. Without it, your bones will become brittle, and you’ll have issues with insulin levels.
Vitamin E: This Vitamin is necessary for your immune system to work. Without it, you will suffer damage to your nerves and muscle.
Vitamin K: You need Vitamin K for proper blood clotting and bone growth. Without enough vitamin K, your wounds won’t heal properly.
Avoiding Micronutrient Deficiencies
That’s a pretty impressive list, isn’t it? As you can see, micronutrients are essential for every part of our lives. And deficiencies in them can be nasty, to say the least. Thankfully, a lot of these deficiencies are pretty rare. By eating a regular balanced diet, you can end up with most of them.
But that’s not always the case. Deficiencies in Vitamins D, B6, and B12, as well as iron and calcium, are more common than you may realize.
Why these ones in particular? Well, these micronutrients can all be found in leafy greens. And that’s something that many of us lack, given our diets are filled with processed foods and animal products.
This is why a green juice diet can be one of the best short-term steps for your long-term health. By going on a juice detox diet, you can make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
Of course, some juice diets end up causing as much harm as good because while they add in some micronutrients, they’re lacking in others.
Not with Chef V. Our 21 day cleanse comes complete not just with green drink but with detox soup and detox smoothies as well. You can lose weight with a juice diet and get all the health benefits of a wide range of nutritious fruits and vegetables. Like micronutrients, a small juice cleanse can have huge health benefits.