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We all need macronutrients and micronutrients in our diets. Macronutrients are essential – they give us energy, and they are needed for the growth and maintenance of our body. Macronutrients (or macros for short) are made up of carbohydrate, protein and fat.
Those who are training, have a specific goal or body type may tweak the percentage of each macronutrient in their day-to-day diet. Or look to supplements to increase their protein intake, and therefore muscle growth and repair.
I usually aim to keep my protein around 2g per kg body weight so at 115kg this is around 230g for me. As I lean down and start to drop body fat I tend to increase my protein intake slightly to preserve muscle and can go to 250g or even 280g per day. As well as maintaining and growing muscle, protein is great for keeping you full when dieting!
Emil Hodzovic, Reflex Ambassador, Doctor and Bodybuilder
Given that ‘macro’ is the Greek for large and makes up a high proportion of our diet, it can be easy to focus on them and forget about the small, yet equally important, micronutrients.
With this in mind, we wanted to give a little time to the micronutrients. Here we discuss what they are, why they are in important and where can you get them from.
What are micronutrients?
While macros help our bodies to function in a big way – think general energy, growth and maintenance, micronutrients help the more intricate parts of our body – the workings of our organs, nervous system, cells, joints, ligaments and metabolism to name a few.
They also help with the efficient metabolism of macronutrients, which can maximise all your efforts in the gym. Despite being needed in tiny amounts, micronutrients are essential to our diets.
Where can I get micronutrients from?
Cheese, eggs, oily fish, liver, milk and yoghurt are some examples of where you can get a good source of vitamin A. You can also eat food with beta-carotene, which your body can change into vitamin A – foods with beta-carotene include yellow, red and leafy green vegetables and yellow fruit like mango or apricots.
B vitamins and folic acid
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
Good sources include fresh and dried fruit, eggs, peas, wholegrain breads, some fortified breakfast cereals and liver.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Milk, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals and rice are good sources of vitamin B2, although these foods should be kept out of direct sunlight because UV light can destroy vitamin B2.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Vitamin B3 can be found in meat, fish, wheat flour, eggs and milk.
Vitamin B6 is present in lots of food – some examples are pork, poultry, fish, wholegrain cereals, eggs, vegetables and milk.
Biotin (Vitamin B7)
Vitamin B7 can be found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains. It’s also made by the bacteria that lives naturally in our bowel.
This is found in meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs and some fortified breakfast cereals.
Leafy greens like broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, asparagus and peas contain folic acid. It’s also found in chickpeas and fortified breakfast cereals.
Oranges are known as being an excellent source of vitamin C. You can also get this vitamin from peppers, strawberries, broccoli and potatoes.
Sunlight is the primary way of getting vitamin D but you can also get it from red meat, oily fish, liver and egg yolks.
Nuts, seeds, avocados, wholegrains and plant oils like olive oil are a good source of vitamin E.
Leafy greens appear again – this time as a source of vitamin K.
Iron can be found in meat, beans, nuts, wholegrain and kale.
Calcium is usually associated with dairy products but this mineral can also be found in leafy greens and nuts.
Again, this mineral can be found in nuts, leafy greens and dairy. Wholegrains and meat are also a good source of magnesium.
Famously found in bananas, you can also get potassium from nuts, seeds, pulses, meat and fish.
Meat, dairy, bread and cereal products are good sources of zinc.
Selenium can be found in meat, fish, eggs, brazil nuts and oats. Also, along with vitamin C and zinc, selenium can be found in our Beauty Bar.
To find more out about the sources of these vitamins and minerals, the recommended amounts and what their functions are, take a look at the NHS guide.
While micronutrients can be found in food, those with vitamin deficiencies, specific dietary requirements or wanting to ensure they’re getting their daily quota may turn to multivitamins. For your vitamin top up, shop Nexgen Pro.
What our ambassadors say about supplements
Alex Crockford, Reflex Ambassador and PT
Gauri Chopra, Reflex Ambassador and PT