Why care for Micro-nutrients: Vitamins and Minerals?

The food we eat supplies our body with both macro and micro nutrients. Micro nutrients are required in comparatively smaller quantities as opposed to macro nutrients.

Vitamins (organic) and Minerals (inorganic) together comprise the micro nutrients needed to sustain various bodily functions.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins include the fat-soluble one's i.e. A,D,E and K and the water-soluble's i.e. all B's and C.

Minerals may be further classified based on their quantity needed as macro minerals like calcium, phosphorous, sodium, potassium, etc. and trace minerals like iron, copper, zinc, iodine, etc.

One misconception about vitamins is that they provide energy.

While they do assist proteins, carbohydrates and fats to be efficiently metabolized for energy they directly do not provide any energy. Some functions of vitamins include building and maintenance of red blood cells, bones and muscle.

While following a bodyweight management program the amount of food consumed varies with respect to the goal (to be achieved), e.g. on a fat loss program the amount of food consumed is usually less than that consumed while maintaining body weight.

As less food is consumed the amount of nutrients supplied by it also gets limited. In these cases where either food consumption is reduced or energy expenditure is increased (through regular exercise), micro nutrient deficiencies may occur.

Care should be taken to include micro nutrient dense whole foods on a bodyweight management program. In cases where certain foods cause distress or you may be intolerant to, supplementing with micro nutrient (either single or multi) may be helpful.

Some common deficiencies of micro nutrients during a fat loss program may include deficiencies of vitamin d, zinc, magnesium, iron, vitamin b12, vitamin c, etc.

While these are certainly not going to affect everyone, it is better to include sufficient vitamin and mineral rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, high fiber foods, etc. that supply sufficient nutrients so that a deficiency can be avoided and controlled. 

A good range to start with when it comes to consuming sufficient vitamins and minerals in the diet is 2 - 4 servings of fruits and 4 - 6 servings of vegetables each day. These servings can be further modified by increasing or decreasing them based on individual requirements. 

Whole grains, eggs, dairy (if well tolerated), beans, nuts and legumes are also great sources of micro-nutrients along with being slightly higher in calories than vegetables and fruits. 

While supplementing with micro nutrients (multivitamin and multi mineral supplements) care should be taken, to not over consume it as it may lead to over dosing and thus toxicity which may be dangerous in certain situations.

Following is a list of Vitamins and Minerals and some of their respective food sources. Keep in mind that the foods mentioned below are not exhaustive and as such for overall well being, consume a variety of foods and food groups.


1. Vitamin A: Carrots, Tomatoes, Green Leafy Vegetables, Eggs

2. Vitamin B1: Spinach, Peas, Tomatoes, Lentils

3. Vitamin B2: Spinach, Green Leafy Vegetables, Almonds, Eggs

4. Vitamin B3: Mushrooms, Whole Grains, Lentils, Sea Vegetables

5. Vitamin B5: Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Lentils, Eggs, Cauliflower

6. Vitamin B7: Green Leafy Vegetables, Carrots, Almonds, Eggs

7. Vitamin B9: Green Leafy Vegetables, Cauliflower, Beans

8. Vitamin B6: Banana, Oats, Walnuts, Beans

9. Vitamin B12: Eggs, Tuna Fish, B12 Fortified Foods, Dairy

10. Vitamin C: Green Leafy Vegetables, Lemon, Peas, Cauliflower

11. Vitamin D: Egg Yolk, Salmon, Vitamin D Fortified Foods

12. Vitamin E: Green Leafy Vegetables, Tomatoes, Apples, Carrots

13. Vitamin K: Green Leafy Vegetables, Peas, Lentils


1. Calcium: Beans, Green Leafy Vegetables, Dairy

2. Fluorine: Water, Tea, Canned Fish

3. Phosphorus: Chickpeas, Banana, Lentils, Dairy, Almonds

4. Magnesium: Almonds, Green Leafy Vegetables, Banana, Apple

5. Sodium: Whole Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Lean Meats, Salt

6. Potassium: Banana, Spinach, Tomatoes, Almonds, Lentils

7. Chloride: Whole Fruit, Vegetables, Legumes, Nuts

8. Iron: Lentils, Kidney Beans, Tuna Fish, Spinach

9. Zinc: Poultry, Chickpeas, Almonds, Peas

10. Copper: Lentils, Almonds, Chocolate, Cocoa Powder

11. Chromium: Apple, Green Beans, Banana, Onion, Tomatoes

12. Molybdenum: Beans, Lentils, Peas, Nuts

13. Selenium: Brown Rice, Whole Wheat, Walnuts, Milk

14. Manganese: Oats, Almonds, Green Tea, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes

15. Iodine: Potatoes, Iodized Salt, Eggs, Milk

Have you ever experienced any deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, feel free to share it in the comments below.
Clinical Dietitian Keshav || MSc Dietetics (DFSM), PGND, CNCC

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