This month, we’re focusing on the unsung heroes of your journey. Today, we’re talking micronutrients and their vital role for your overall health. Let’s get nerdy.


Micronutrients, often referred to as vitamins and minerals, are vital to healthy development, disease prevention, and wellbeing. With the exception of vitamin D, micronutrients are not produced in the body and must be derived from the diet

  1. Though people only need small amounts of micronutrients, consuming the recommended amount is important. Micronutrient deficiencies can have devastating consequences. At least half of children worldwide younger than 5 years of age suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The World Health Organization recommends multiple types of interventions to address nutrition deficiencies
  2. There are nearly 30 vitamins and minerals that your body cannot make on its own in adequate amounts that are considered essential.  Eating less than optimal amounts of important vitamins, minerals, and other compounds can still contribute to a number of major illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis 
  3. Unfortunately, a there are fuckload of conflicting studies which has led to general confusion, and a lot of these studies have lent to marketing claims that may or may not be upheld by research. 
  4. The best way to get vitamins and minerals is from a well-rounded diet, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. If you are in search of lists of any of these things, we’ve gone into depth on previous episodes, and there are notes on our website meathead test kitchen dot com.
  5. Micronutrients play a part in metabolism, maintenance of tissue function, energy production, immune function, and blood clotting to name a few things.
    • Micronutrients are part of nearly every process in your body. Some vitamins and minerals can act as antioxidants
    • Antioxidants may protect against cell damage that has been associated with certain diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease
    • research has linked an adequate dietary intake of vitamins A and C with a lower risk of some types of cancer
    • Getting enough of some vitamins may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. A review of seven studies found that adequate dietary intake of vitamins E, C and A is associated with a 24%, 17% and 12% reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s, respectively
    • These are just SOME of the benefits of micronutrients and the obvious role they play in your every day life


There are a butt load of  micronutrients, and each of them play vastly different roles in your body and within your biology, we’ll cover 10 in this episode, and have linked an article with a very comprehensive list of more, their function, and what foods contain them.

  1. Iron
    • Iron is critical for motor and cognitive development. Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the consequences of iron deficiency.
    • Iron deficiency is a leading cause of anemia which is defined as low hemoglobin concentration.
      • Oysters, white beans, spinach
  2. Vitamin A
    • Vitamin A supports healthy eyesight and immune system functions.
      • Can be found in Retinol (liver, dairy, fish), carotenoids (sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach.
  3. Vitamin D
    • Vitamin D builds strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium. This helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.
    • Helps the immune system resist bacteria and virsues.
    • Is required for muscle and nerve functions.
    • Bodies make vitamin D from sunlight, this is why we always say to go outside and touch grass… among other reasons.
      • Can also be found in fish oil, milk.
  4. Folate
    • Everyone needs folate (vitamin B9) to make new cells every day.
      • Beef, liver, black-eyed peas, spinach, asparagus.
  5. Zinc
    • Zinc promotes immune functions and helps people resist infectious diseases including diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, and also is necessary for normal growth, and wound healing.
      • Oysters, crab, chickpeas.
  6. Selenium
    • Important for thyroid health, reproduction and defense against oxidative damage
      • Brazil nuts, sardines, ham
  7. Manganese
    • Assists in carbohydrate, amino acid and cholesterol metabolism.
      • Pineapple, pecans, peanuts.
  8. Calcium
    • Necessary for proper structure and function of bones and teeth. Assists in muscle function and blood vessel contraction.
      • Milk products, leafy greens, broccoli.
  9. Sulfur
    • Part of every living tissue and contained in the amino acids methionine and cysteine.
      • Garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, eggs, mineral water.
  10. Vitamin B6
    • Helps your body release sugar from stored carbohydrates for energy and create red blood cells.
      • Fish, milk, carrots, potatoes.

These are just a few examples of micronutrients, we have linked a lengthy article in the show notes with a very comprehensive list of other micronutrients, what they do for the body and foods that contain them.


This goes without saying,  but drink your water you beautiful, but dehydrated bitch (or whatever that meme says) You hear everywhere that you need to be drinking water, but no one really goes into the details of why. So, you’re welcome in advance

  1. Your body is is a lot of water, so it only makes sense that you’d need to replenish the substance that makes up most of your weight on this earth. Water also flushes waste from the body, helps regulate body temperature and assists with brain function.
    • Water also protects your spinal cord, tissues and your joints by providing lubrication and cushion for those pretty important items we just mentioned.
  2. Water helps flush waste via urination, sweat, and that poop we mention every episode, this waste elimination lessens burden on the kidneys and liver 
  3. Did you know that water also helps with peak athletic performance? Athletes may perspire up to 6 to 10 percent of body weight during physical activity. Hydration also affects your strength, power, and endurance. You may be more susceptible to the effects of dehydration if you’re participating in endurance training or high-intensity sports.
    • Negative effects of exercise in the heat without enough water can include serious medical conditions, like decreased blood pressure and hyperthermia. Extreme dehydration can cause seizures and even death.
  4. In addition to helping with food breakdown, water also helps dissolve vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from your food. It then delivers these vitamin components to the rest of your body for use. Water also delivers oxygen to your entire body. Reaching your daily water intake will improve your circulation 
  5. Water assists cognitive function. There are studies linking dehydration with negative impacts on focus, short-term memory and alertness.
  6. Ok, I think we’ve proven the point on why water is important, but how much water should you be drinking every day? 
    • According to the Mayo Clinic: Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
      • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
      • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
  7. These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20% of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.
    • Like most recommendations, it’s going to depend on other factors, including exercise, environment, overall health and even pregnancy and breast feeding. 
  8. Exercise typically causes you to sweat, which means you’re losing water. Which also means that you would need to replenish that loss of hydration.
  9. Environment: Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid.
  10. Overall health: Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow a doctor’s recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.

Eat food, drink water, be merry. 



No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.