By Bushra Hassan, MBA, RD, LDN
In order for our body to function optimally, we need a consistent supply of macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are the main nutrients that make up the food we consume: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Micronutrients are found in smaller quantities than macronutrients and include the vitamins and minerals which are necessary for immune health, bone health, growth, energy production and more. All foods contain micronutrients. Vitamins are available in two forms: water-soluble (B vitamins and vitamin C) and fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E and K). The amount or intake we need of macro and micronutrients is dependent on your weight, height, activity level, and gender.
Every single vitamin and mineral has an important role in your health. If our diet falls short in foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals we can become low or deficient. The Food and Nutrition Board published the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) in the 1940s, which is meant to serve as a guide for recommended nutrition intake for nearly all males and females. Striving to obtain the recommended dietary allowance of certain micronutrients is great; however, we suggest to strive for optimal levels in order to live your optimal life!
A personalized approach to nutrition is the best way to ensure that you are receiving enough nutrients to live your best life. What may be adequate intake for one person, may be too little for someone else. It is especially important for pregnant women, infants, elderly and patients to make sure they fulfilling their nutritional needs. If we are depleted in nutrients or even borderline depleted in nutrients, this can adversely affect the way our immune system fights off infection. Aiming for multiple servings of foods rich in vitamins and minerals a day can ensure that you are receiving healthy amounts not just adequate. An example of this is vitamin D, which is essential for bone health and your immune system. The RDA for vitamin D is 20 mcg/daily, however many studies show that a higher intake between 25–100 micrograms, well above the RDA, is necessary to support optimal blood levels of vitamin D.
* Please note, if currently taking blood-thinning medication, it is important to speak to your practitioner before adding foods containing vitamin K into your diet.
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