Mighty Micronutrients: Part 3

Mighty Micronutrients: Part 3

Here are some more of the Mighty Micronutrients your body requires to keep all systems in harmony and you at the top of your game, physically, mentally and emotionally (yes, the benefits you get from these can also serve to elevate your mood and general sense of well-being, just as not getting enough can put you into a funk).

Vitamin K

Where it’s found: Cabbage, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, watercress, green beans and peas, whole wheat, oats.  (Vitamin K2 is also found in natto, a fermented food made from soybeans, and other fermented commodities.)

Why it’s mighty: This fat-soluble, often “forgotten vitamin,” as I noted a few months ago, helps protect your heart, benefits your brain and helps regulate blood-sugar levels.

But it’s especially important for bone health, research from Japan having shown that vitamin K can both reverse bone loss and increase bone density (and is a far safer way of doing that than the osteoporosis drugs advertised on TV). It also is essential to the clotting of blood and may help prevent hardening of the arteries and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, Vitamin K offers protection against various cancers (and is used in some anti-cancer therapies), and K2, which is found in natto, has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Vitamin B12

Where it’s found: Meat, poultry, eggs, shellfish and milk.

Why it’s mighty: Vitamin B12 helps support the central nervous system and assists in red blood-cell production, Because strict vegetarians are not likely to get enough from dietary sources, they may need to take a B12 supplement (or better yet, a B complex supplement that provides other B vitamins as well, including B1, or thiamin, and B2, or riboflavin, which needs to be replenished daily.) B12 deficiencies can result in symptoms ranging from numbness and tingling of the limbs to dementia.

Phosphorous

Where it’s found: Dairy products, poultry, beef, fish (salmon, halibut) and eggs.

Why it’s mighty:  Phosphorous is an essential component of our bones and teeth and plays a vital role in our ability to store energy. Its functions also include helping red blood cells to deliver oxygen, regulating our heartbeat, helping our muscles and kidneys to work properly, and storing and transmitting genetic information.

Selenium

Where it’s found: Brazil nuts, pasta, canned tuna,cod, eggs, bread and meat.

Why it’s mighty: Needed by the body only in very small amounts, selenium produces antioxidant enzymes that help to prevent damage from free radicals and are also believed to support immune systems and thyroid functions. Studies have also indicated selenium may reduce the risk of prostate, lung, colorectal and skin cancer, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, and may offer protection against cognitive decline in the elderly.

It’s obvious that the food we eat can do a lot more than just fill us up.

And that cliché “you are what you eat” is truer than you ever imagined.

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