What Are Micronutrients? – Definition, Types, Foods

What Are Micronutrients? – Definition, Types, Foods


Vitamins and minerals don’t provide energythey help your body perform functions.

We need only tiny amounts of vitamins and minerals. That’s why these nutrients are called micronutrients. (Micro basically means mini.)

With guidance from research scientists, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences has established how much we need of each vitamin and mineral. You can get all the vitamins and minerals you need by following a healthy eating plan that includes a wide variety of foods (see here).

But some vitamins and minerals can be hard to scout out in foodespecially for busy people who eat and snack on the run. So certain key vitamins and minerals are routinely added to some foods to make sure the general population gets enough of them. Foods with added nutrients are called “enriched” or “fortified.” Milk, juice, bread, cereal, pasta, and other grain foods are commonly fortified/enriched. (Check the ingredients label on the packaging.)

What Are Micronutrients? – Definition, Types, Foods Photo Gallery

IF YOUR DOCTOR RECOMMENDS IT… you can take one daily (complete) multivitamin/multimineral supplement for kids as a nutritional backup. But it won’t make up for an unhealthy eating pattern.

Only one should be taken each day. It should be taken after a meal. Fat from food is needed for certain vitamins (fat-soluble) to be absorbed in your body (see here).

Fat-soluble vitamins accumulate in the body and build up: like vitamins A and D. Chronically high doses of certain vitamins are toxic. Please do NOT take more than one daily (complete) multivitamin/multimineral supplement for kids and please do NOT take doses of single vitamins or minerals separatelyunless prescribed by your doctor.

If you have young children in the house, make sure the bottle has a childproof cap. And keep the supplements out of their reach. They contain iron. Accidental overdose of products containing iron is the leading cause of fatal (causing death) poisoning in children under age six. FYI: Poison Control Hotline, 1-800-222-1222. Call free, day or night, anywhere in the United States.

For more about the function and sources of vitamins and minerals, see here.

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