Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that make up the foods we eat every day. These nutrients are always in the news – “cut sodium to decrease your risk of high blood pressure,” “vitamin E fights against disease,” and “vitamin D can help prevent dementia.” Newspaper editors know that you are likely not to read the entire article, so they often summarize new studies and recommendations into catchy talking points with buzz words.
While many of the claims made about micronutrients have facts behind them, it is important to note that it is usually not the micronutrients itself influencing the disease process, but the combination of micronutrients, phytochemicals, and other food components working together. Many times a link is found between a nutrient or food item and the prevention of a certain disease, but once that item is isolated the beneficial effects are no longer seen (soy and vitamin C are notorious for this).
Over the next few months I am going to feature various micronutrients each week. My hope is that whoever is reading this will gain a better understanding of the importance of the featured micronutrients as well as an better understanding of what foods can be eaten to meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) through diet and not supplements. I will even try to put a little challenge at the end of each week to show you how easy it is to make small changes that can result in big differences!