Micronutrient Deficiency & the Benefits of Vitamins
by Mira Dessy, The Ingredient Guru
Micronutrient deficiency is a common health issue and can impact a wide range of body systems. When looking to modify the diet to help improve micronutrient status it is important to remember that you don’t want to rely on just one food for nutrient repletion.
For example, don’t only eat sweet potatoes to replenish Vitamin A. The reason for eating a broad variety of foods to replenish nutritional status is two fold. One, eating the same foods over and over can create a hypersensitivity to those foods, causing inflammation and gut health disruption. The other is that foods have a synergistic balance of nutrients and by eating lots of different foods you get the benefit of the other phyto and micronutrients in the variety of foods.
Vitamin A is both a retinoid and a carotenoid. The carotenoid forms can be converted by the body into the retinoid form. The retinoid form is especially useful for night vision, red blood cell production, and can help boost our immune system. Carotenoids have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Two forms of carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, are specifically supportive for eye health. The best food sources of vitamin A are: sweet potato, carrots, dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards, dandelion, mustard, turnip), winter squash
When it comes to vitamin B12, this is necessary for the nervous system as well as supporting the creation of blood cells. It also supports cardiovascular health and the digestive system. Because it’s found primarily in animal products, B12 deficiency can be problematic for vegetarians and vegans. It is found in sardines, salmon, tuna steak, cod, lamb, scallops, shrimp, beef. It is, however, difficult to get enough through food alone. If there is a nutritional deficiency, both supplementation and dietary modification are recommended.
A highly antioxidant micronutrient, vitamin C is supportive for collagen production, hormone production, and helps protect against heart disease. Many people can be deficient in vitamin C. Food based sources include papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy, grapefruit.
Because we have a tendency to spend more time indoors, and when we do go outdoors we are slathered in sunscreen, a significant percentage of the population tends to be deficient in Vitamin D3. This micronutrient regulates calcium and helps to balance insulin. It can be found in salmon, sardines, tuna steak, milk (organic, whole), eggs, shiitake mushrooms.
About me: Mira Dessy, The Ingredient Guru, is a nutrition educator and the author of The Pantry Principle: how to read the label and understand what’s really in your food. She is a professional member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, the Society for Nutrition Educator and Behavior, the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Dessy sits on the Board of Directors for the American Holistic Health Association and is a member of the Professional Advisory Board for the Turner Syndrome Society of the United States. She can be found online at https://theingredientguru.com