Micro vs. Macro Nutrients

What Are They? Why Are They Important?

Micronutrients are nutrients required by humans in small quantities to orchestrate a whole range of physiological functions from bone growth to brain function.

It is important that we consume these micronutrients because we are unable to produce them. These dietary requirements are trace minerals in amounts generally less than 100 milligrams/day, as opposed to macrominerals which are required in larger quantities.

Microminerals include iron, cobalt, chromium, copper, iodine, manganese, selenium, zinc and molybdenum. Micronutrients also include vitamins, which are organic compounds required as nutrients in tiny amounts by an organism.

What Micronutrients are and Their Role in Your Health

Micronutrients are what are commonly referred to as “vitamins and minerals.” Micronutrients include such minerals as flouride, selenium, sodium, iodine, copper and zinc. They also include vitamins such as vitamin C, A, D, E and K, as well as the B-complex vitamins.

Micronutrients are vital to the proper functioning of all of your body’s systems. Sodium, for instance, is responsible for maintaining the proper fluid balance in your body; it helps fluids pass through cell walls and helps regulate appropriate pH levels in your blood. Here are some of the ways that other micronutrients help maintain your body’s systems:

•Manganese promotes bone formation and energy production, and helps your body metabolize the macronutrients, protein, carbohydrate and fat.

•Magnesium helps your heart maintain its normal rhythm. It helps your body convert glucose (blood sugar) into energy, and it is necessary for the metabolization of the micronutrients calcium and vitamin C.

•Iron helps your body produce red blood cells and lymphocytes.

•Iodine helps your thyroid gland develop and function. It helps your body to metabolize fats, and promotes energy production and growth.

•Chloride helps regulate water and electrolytes within your cells, as well as helping to maintain appropriate cellular pH.

Micronutrient deficiencies in crops

Micronutrient deficiencies are widespread. 50% of world cereal soils are deficient in zinc and 30% of cultivated soils globally are deficient in iron. Steady growth of crop yields during recent decades (in particular through the Green Revolution) compounded the problem by progressively depleting soil micronutrient pools.

In general, farmers only apply micronutrients when crops show deficiency symptoms, while micronutrient deficiencies decrease yields before symptoms appear. Some common farming practices (such as liming acid soils) contribute to widespread occurrence of micronutrient deficiencies in crops by decreasing the availability of the micronutrients present in the soil. Also, extensive use of glyphosate is increasingly suspected to impair micronutrient uptake by crops, especially with regard to manganese, iron and zinc.

Crops grown organically are rotated in different areas of the farm to ensure that the soil is rich in nutrients. Organic crops are free of liming, pesticides and artificial fertilizers. Their crops contain all natural micronutrients necessary to your dietary requirements.

Getting Enough Vitamins and Minerals in Your Diet

Getting enough micronutrients in your diet isn’t hard. Eat a balanced diet including plenty of nuts, whole grains and green leafy vegetables. Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, like red cherries, purple grapes, yellow bananas and orange carrots. The more organic and colorful your diet, the better.

It’s easy to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Eat fruit salads for dessert instead of sweets. Prepare your own homemade soups and salads, and include two or more vegetable side dishes with each meal.

Common Micronutrient Deficiency Disorders

Micronutrient deficiency can lead to some serious health problems. The World Health Organization feels that micronutrient deficiency presents a huge threat to the health of the world’s population. Some common micronutrient deficiencies include iodine deficiency, vitamin A deficiency and iron deficiency.
Iodine deficiency is the world’s foremost cause of brain damage. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can result in stillbirth, miscarriage and irreversible mental retardation. Fortunately, it’s easily prevented by the use of iodized salt.

Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness in children; in pregnant women it can cause night blindness and increases maternal mortality rates.

Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world, and the only one prevalent in developed countries. Over 30% of the world’s population suffers from iron deficiency anemia.

Macronutrients

A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy. Humans consume and digest the nutrients.

Organic nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins (or their building blocks, amino acids), and vitamins. Inorganic chemical compounds such as dietary minerals, water, and oxygen may also be considered nutrients. A nutrient is said to be “essential” if it must be obtained from an external source, either because the organism cannot synthesize it or produces insufficient quantities.

List of Macronutrients:

Protein: Amino acids
Standard amino acids

Alanine
Arginine
Aspartic acid (aspartate)
Asparagine
Cystine
Glutamic acid (glutamate)
Glutamine
Glycine
Histidine
Isoleucine (branched chain amino acid)
Leucine (branched chain amino acid)
Lysine
Methionine
Phenylalanine
Proline
Serine
Threonine
Tryptophan
Tyrosine
Valine (branched chain amino acid)

Fat:

Saturated fats
Butear assid
Caprioc acid
Caprylic acid
Capric acid
Lauric acid
Myristic acid
Pentadecanoic acid
Palmitic acid
Heptadec acid
Stearic acid
Arachidic acid
Behenate acid
Tetracos acid
Compound acid

Monounsaturated fats
Myristol
Pentadecenoic
Palmitoyl
Heptadecenoic
Oleic acid
Eicosen
Erucic acid
Nervonic acid

Polyunsaturated fats
Linoleic acid
Linolenic acid
Stearidon
Eicosatrienoic
Arachidon
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – an essential fatty acid
DPA
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – an essential fatty acid

Essential fatty acids
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

Other fats
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 6 fatty acids
Trans fatty acids
Cholesterol

Carbohydrates

Starches/Sugars:
Fructose
Galactose
Glucose
Lactose
Maltose

Source: Wikipedia

Healthy Eating Plan For Vegetarians

With cardiovascular diseases and obesity rates soaring in the US and the industrialized world, many are slowly turning to vegetarian diets as a major step towards achieving a healthy lifestyle. Unlike most of us who regularly munch on meat and dairy products, vegetarians don’t have to worry about high cholesterol levels or tans-fat filled food items. Vegetarians however, need to ensure that they get the right amount of nutrition from their diets to maintain good health.

With No Established Vegetarian Diets, The Choice Is All Up To You.

Most nutrition experts agree that with so many versions of vegetarian diets, you are welcome to craft your own that works for you and your family. The only issue that some vegetarians is that the more restricting their veggie diet becomes, the harder it will be for them to meet their body’s daily nutritional requirements. According to nutrition experts, the most commonly deficient nutrients among vegetarians include protein, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and zinc.

Soy protein can be a great protein source for vegetarians. To add more soy to your daily diet, you may prepare soy chicken patties, soy hamburgers or soy cold cuts. The richest sources of iron are animal product like eggs, liver and red meat. Vegetarians can get iron from dried beans, dark green vegetables like spinach, kale and dried fruit.

Major Vegetarian Diet Types

Vegan Diets: This diet does not include fish, eggs, meat, poultry and dairy products.

Lacto-Vegetarian Diets: A lacto-vegetarian diet does not include meat, fish, poultry and eggs. However, it includes dairy products like cheese, yogurt, butter and milk.

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diet: This vegetarian diet does not include fish, poultry and meat, but includes eggs and dairy products like milk, cheese, butter and others.

Pescatarian Diet: Includes all types of seafood, milk, cheese, butter and eggs, but cuts out all poultry and meat.

While a vegetarian diet may not have any negative attributes, they should focus their sights on getting adequate proteins and essential minerals like vitamin B12, calcium and iron.

Regardless of whether you follow a vegetarian diet for ethical, cultural, religious reasons or you simply want to live a healthy and well-rounded life, the key to having a successful vegetarian diet lies in how aware are you of your nutritional needs. Therefore, you need to plan a diet that meets them. For creating the appropriate vegetarian diet, talk to your registered dietitian, doctor, do research and talk to fellow vegetarians.

Recipe- Baked Orzo and Chorizo

I found this delicious recipe on a blog called Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations

Give it a try and let us know how you and your family liked it.

It makes enough for 2 or 3 nights of dinner for 2 adults. And for those of you who would prefer meatless. I made our dish with vegetarian chorizo, you’d never know the difference.

Ingredients

4 cups chicken broth
1 pound orzo pasta
Chorizo; I used 2 links, each was about 6 inches long.
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 cup white wine, I used a dry Chardonnay
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 c shredded cheeses – I used a mix of mozzarella, Parmesan, and asiago
More Parmesan cheese, for the topping, about 1/4 c
6 oz fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
Bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Pour the orzo and the broth into a large bowl. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet.
Crumble the chorizo into the pan and cook until browned, about 8 minutes
Add the onions and garlic, saute 3 minutes
Add the mushrooms, saute 2 minutes
Add the wine, stirring to scrape up all the brown bits. Let simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Add the sausage mixture to the orzo in the large bowl. Stir.
Add the cheeses, stir
Pour in the cream and stir to combine everything
Pour the mixture into your buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered until golden, about 25 minutes. I turned on the broiler for the last minute or two.

Interested in Vegetarian Diets?

With cardiovascular diseases and obesity rates soaring in the US and the industrialized world, many are slowly turning to vegetarian diets as a major step towards achieving a healthy lifestyle. Unlike most of us who regularly munch on meat and dairy products, vegetarians don’t have to worry about high cholesterol levels or trans-fat filled food items. Vegetarians however, need to ensure that they get the right amount of nutrition from their vegan diets, to maintain good health. With careful planning and consideration, a vegetarian diet can certainly be tasty and satisfying.

With No Established Vegetarian Diets, The Choice Is All Up To You

You can choose what you want to exclude from your diet, no need to fit into a ‘diet.’ The only thing you need to watch out for is getting all of your daily nutritional requirements. According to nutrition experts, the most commonly deficient nutrients among vegetarians include protein, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and zinc.

Soy protein can be a great protein source for vegetarians. To add more soy to your daily diet, you may prepare soy chicken patties, soy hamburgers or soy cold cuts. The richest sources of iron are animal product like eggs, liver and red meat. Vegetarians can get iron from dried beans, dark green vegetables like spinach, kale and dried fruit.

Vegetarian diets are generally divided into three major categories, and these are:

* Vegan Diet: This diet does not include fish, eggs, meat, poultry and dairy products.

* Lacto-Vegetarian Diet: A lacto-vegetarian diet does not include meat, fish, poultry and eggs. However, it includes dairy products like cheese, yogurt, butter and milk.

* Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diet: This vegetarian diet does not include fish, poultry and meat, but includes eggs and dairy products like milk, cheese, butter and others.

* Pesctarian Diet: This diet does not include beef, poultry or pork, but does include eggs, dairy and seafood.

While a vegetarian diet may not have any negative attributes, a vegetarian advocate should ensure that he or she is able to cover all nutritional requirements. It is therefore crucial for vegetarians to take vitamin and mineral supplements, which contain 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance, to complement the vegetarian meal plan. True-blooded vegetarians should focus their sights on getting adequate proteins and essential minerals like vitamin B12, calcium and iron.

Regardless of whether you follow a vegetarian diet for ethical, cultural or religious reasons, or you simply want to live a healthy and well-rounded life, the key to having a successful vegetarian diet lies in how aware are you of your nutritional needs. Therefore, you need to plan a diet that meets them. For creating the appropriate vegetarian diet, talk to your registered dietitian or doctor.