Micronutrients: The Importance Of Vitamins + Minerals


Vitamin commercials on TV might have you thinking that only the elderly should be concerned about getting enough nutrients to stay healthy through their golden years. And while it is important to maintain your daily vitamin and mineral intake as you advance in years, it’s also a critical part of your youth and adulthood. 

From the developmental stages of childhood, to the demands and responsibilities of your adult life, our bodies not only rely on specific nutrients, they thrive on them. You know that your body needs fuel (also known as food) to function. But it’s what’s inside the food that counts. 

Knowing what your body needs at the cellular level, and where you can find what it needs is vital to elevating the way your body functions throughout your days, and years. 


Macro vs. Micro: What’s the difference?

You’ve probably heard the distinction between macronutrients and micronutrients. If you’re a little fuzzy on the difference, the easiest way to remember is thinking of macronutrients as different types of food (protein, fats, and carbohydrates), and micronutrients as vitamins and minerals found within your food. 

Micronutrients are nutrients that your body doesn’t produce on its own. Yet these are the very substances on which our bodies thrive. The micronutrients that we as humans need are found in animals or in soil, and then absorbed by plants. Humans have to ingest nutrient rich foods to supply our bodies with the micronutrients they need to function well. 

The Four Types of Micronutrients


trace minerals


Trace minerals act in the supporting roles for other micronutrients. Of the four categories, you need less of these nutrients in general. Here you’ll find some familiar minerals along with their functions within your body.

Copper: helps form the connective tissue between your bones, and helps with nervous system and brain function. Copper food sources include:
  • Beef, cashews, crab, liver, potatoes, and oysters1 

Fluoride: fortifies your bones and teeth. You can find fluoride in:
  • Crab, fruit juice, shrimp, and water2

Iodine: ensures proper thyroid function. Consume more iodine by eating more:
  • Cod, seaweed, oysters, wheat bread, and yogurt3

Iron: helps produce certain hormones and carries oxygen to your muscles.
  • Oysters, spinach, and white beans4

Manganese: helps metabolize amino acids, carbohydrates, and cholesterol. Manganese is found in:
  • Chickpeas, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, and pineapple5

Selenium: defends your body against oxidative stress, and lends a hand in your reproductive health, and thyroid health. Selenium food sources are:
  • Brazil nuts, ham, sardines, and tuna6 

Zinc: helps your body heal wounds and supports your immune function. Get more zinc by consuming:
  • Beef, chickpeas, crab, and pumpkin seeds7





Macrominerals play a larger role in your bodily functions, meaning you need a higher amount in your daily consumption. Most of the time, you’ll find that getting a sufficient amount of these minerals will elevate your daily living experience, helping your body function at a higher level.

Calcium: we need this for proper bone and teeth development, of course. But calcium also helps with blood vessel contraction and muscle function. Good food sources for calcium include:
  • Broccoli, leafy greens, milk products, orange juice, and sardines8 

Chloride: this is an electrolyte that is found in conjunction with sodium, which helps maintain your fluid balance. It’s also a key ingredient in producing digestive liquids. Foods that contain chloride are:
  • Celery, seaweed, and salt

Magnesium: a mineral important for regulating blood pressure along with hundreds of other enzyme reactions within your body. You can find plenty of magnesium in:
  • Almonds, black beans, cashews, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds9 

Phosphorus: necessary for the formation of cell membranes and the construction of your bones. Phosphorus is best found in foods like:
  • Chicken, lentils, salmon, turkey, and yogurt10

Potassium: another electrolyte that keeps your bodily fluids balanced and helps with muscle function through aiding nerve transmissions. To add more potassium to your diet look for the following foods:
  • Acorn squash, apricots, lentils, prunes, and bananas11 

Sodium: the electrolyte commonly combined with chloride, helping to maintain healthy blood pressure levels and fluid balance. The healthiest source to consume more sodium is salt. 

Sulfur: this mineral is necessary for the formation of every single tissue in your body. You can find a good dose of sulfur in foods like:
  • Eggs, garlic, onions, Brussel sprouts, and most mineral waters12 


    fat soluble vitamins


    Fat soluble vitamins stay in your body longer than water soluble vitamins. This is because they get stored in your fatty tissues and liver. Your body can later use them for various functions throughout. These vitamins are absorbed best when you consume them along with fatty foods.  This is why it’s important for you to eat plenty of healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, eggs, and fish. 

    Vitamin A: for vision support and proper organ function13

    Vitamin D: helps calcium absorption to support bone growth and boosts your immune function14

    Vitamin E:
    also helps with proper immune function and protects damage to  your cells, acting as an antioxidant15

    Vitamin K:
    a vital element of your bone development and proper blood clotting16


    Since your body doesn’t produce these vitamins on its own, the best way to get these important nutrients is through food. 

    The foods richest in vitamin A include:
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Carrots
    • Spinach
    • Fish
    • Dairy products
    Find vitamin D in the following:
    • Fish oil
    • Milk products
    • Mushrooms 
    • Sunlight
    Good sources of vitamin E:
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Almonds
    • Wheat germ
    Vitamin K comes in foods such as:
    • Leafy greens
    • Pumpkin/pumpkin seeds
    • Broccoli 


      Water Soluble VitaminsWATER SOLUBLE VITAMINS 

      We’ve heard about the all-important B vitamins. These are the vitamins responsible for keeping us on our toes and maintaining a clear, sharp mind17


      B1 - converts nutrients to energy for your body to use

      B2 - helps with cell function, fat metabolism, and energy production

      B3 - takes energy from food and converts it to fuel

      B5 - synthesises fatty acids

      B6 - converts the sugars from stored carbohydrates into energy

      B7 - helps your body metabolize amino acid, glucose, and fatty acids

      B9 - important for proper cell division

      B12 - assists your nervous system and brain function; also important in the formation of your red blood cells

      Vitamin C is a tricky nutrient. It’s something that we need bunches of to support our immune system and create the collagen that supports our joint and skin health18. But vitamin C and the B vitamins being water soluble, don’t say inside our bodies for very long. They get flushed out with the water that passes through our bodies and need to be replenished frequently. 


      Lucky for us, there are many tasty sources abundant in these vitamins. You can find B1, B2, and B3 in foods like:

      • Whole grains, black beans, fish
      • Organ meats, eggs, milk
      • Salmon, leafy greens, pumpkin seeds 

      You’ll find B5, B6, and B7 in:

      • Organ meats, mushrooms, tuna, avocado
      • Fish, chickpeas, liver, chicken, squash, potatoes
      • Eggs, almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes

      And you can get plenty of B9 and B12 in foods like:

      • Beef, liver, black eyed peas, spinach, asparagus
      • Clams, fish, meat

      Vitamin C, we all know, comes in the form of citrus fruits, but also bell peppers and Brussel sprouts. Just think of the meals you can make with all of these yummy ingredients!

      Food is Medicine

      Food Is Your Medicine

      A large portion of  your health status is determined by what you put into your body. The earth is abundant with what your body needs, and she provides so many choices from where you can get nourishing, whole foods. Take advantage of nature's apothecary to keep your body strong and vibrant.


      1. Copper - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      2. Fluoride - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      3. Iodine - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      4. Iron - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      5. Manganese - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      6. Selenium - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      7. Zinc - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      8. Calcium - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      9. Magnesium - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      10. Phosphorus - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      11. Potassium - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      12. Are we getting enough sulfur in our diet? (nih.gov)
      13. Vitamin A - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      14. Vitamin D - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      15. Vitamin E - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      16. Vitamin K - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
      17. Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Fact Sheets (nih.gov)
      18. Vitamin C - Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)

      Julie Weller

      Julie is a self-made writer on a forever journey of fitness and health. As a high school music teacher, she has seen and experienced the challenges of maintaining good health while simultaneously balancing a career and healthy relationships.

      Julie has always lived a healthy and active lifestyle. She loves the outdoors, hiking, and camping. Over the years she has continued to learn smarter and better ways to take care of her body while continuing to do the things that make her smile. Naturally, all of her teacher friends wanted to know how she did it - what was her secret?

      Julie found herself explaining over and over everything she'd learned in her research, and sharing her experiences through trial and error. Her friends would take her advice, try some new things, and then come back to ask how to take it to the next level.

      "You should charge for this kind of information!" Became a constant phrase, and so began her career of writing to share her knowledge with the world through health and wellness companies looking to spread healing and healthy habits within their communities. Now Julie gets to combine two of the things she enjoys most - writing and wellness - and use them to affect change in a real way.

      When not making music with her kiddos, or writing wellness tips for a higher quality of life, you can find her reading, hiking, drumming, and fitnessing