A plate of cookies versus chopped chicken and broccoli stir-fry for lunch – which is the ‘healthier’ option? Hint: it’s not really about the calorie count. Wait. Did you say nutrients? You’re on the right track! To be more specific, one of the primary determining factors of a meal’s ‘Health Factor’ is something called ‘micronutrients’ (i.e., your vitamins and minerals). These are nutrients that your body needs in tiny amounts.
Note: this doesn’t mean you can overlook your micronutrients intake. Vitamins and minerals are essential for many functions that maintain optimal health (e.g., metabolism regulation). Plus, there's also the fact that your body isn't capable of producing most micronutrients. Bottom line? You have to make a conscious effort of getting them through the foods you eat. And while they’re all important, there are 5 especially critical micronutrients you need to get more of. Explore which, along with why, below.
This powerful antioxidant has been linked to many impressive health benefits, including fighting inflammation (which, in turn, is associated with many chronic diseases), lowering blood pressure, improving iron absorption, and even boosting immunity. But wait. How much vitamin C does it take to see these health benefits?
Surprisingly, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. While the recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men, recent research suggests that the ideal dosage may be higher than the recommended dietary allowance (DRA): at around 200 mg a day. So. Yes, if you were already struggling to hit the DRA, one thing’s clear. You need to get more vitamin C into your system!
If you’re interested in putting on muscle mass, vitamin B6 is one micronutrient you can’t afford to miss out on. Along with other B vitamins, B6 assists your body in breaking down the proteins you eat into amino acids: the building blocks of muscle fibres. Meaning? Without vitamin B6, you're unlikely to see your muscles grow – no matter how hard you work at the gym. But, of course, helping out with muscle growth isn't the only health benefits vitamin B6 offers. It's also known to foster a healthy immune system; not having enough vitamin B6 can reduce the growth and production of crucial immune players, like lymphocytes (i.e., T cells and B cells) and antibodies.
One of the most important things to note about vitamin B6 is that it's water-soluble. That means your body isn't able to store B6. Therefore, you'd need to consume it daily to avoid deficiency. As for how much you need, the daily reference intake for non-pregnant adults is 1.7 mg. By the way, 85 grams of sirloin steak provides 29% of your RDI for vitamin B6.
Though all micronutrients are essential for good health, there’s perhaps no better mineral to close off this article than with magnesium – because the likelihood of you not getting enough is incredibly high. The Australian Health Survey released in 2015, for instance, highlighted that 33% of Australians aged 2 years and over did not meet their requirements for magnesium. This phenomenon is observed in the United States and Europe too.
Wondering why you should care about increasing your magnesium intake? This might help: magnesium deficiency may cause several health concerns, including fatigue, muscle cramps, mental health conditions, and irregular heartbeat. For optimal health, women should get 310 mg of magnesium daily, while men should get 400 mg.
Nutrient-packed goodness in every sip
Wondering how you’re going to get all those micronutrients into your diet? The answer may lie in your morning coffee. Well, more specifically, in Lean Blend’s Superfood Infused Latte. Formulated with organic Arabic coffee and raw cacao, every sip of our Latte brims with flavour and micronutrients – including B vitamins and the much-needed magnesium. A helping of green tea extract then gives a dose of vitamin C. Tasty and good-for-you: what could be better?