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Nutrition

Here's Why Micronutrients Are So Important

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Here's a big reason it's important to pay attention to what you eat.

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Modern life isn't always conducive to good health. If you're anything like the clients that nutritionist and certified personal trainer Kim Mazzella-Garrity works with, then you're probably dealing with some combination of a hectic lifestyle, excess stress, and lack of sleep. Maybe all of the above, because, let’s be real, life can be crazy like that.

When it comes to meeting your health and fitness goals, getting the right nutrition matters. Micronutrients—that is, the vitamins and minerals required by the body—are "really important for every single body function, from energy levels to muscle contraction to the metabolizing of your food," Mazzella-Garrity says. Since most micronutrients aren't made by the body and need to be ingested, the food we eat is where we get those crucial vitamins and minerals.

But you might not even be thinking about whether you're getting enough nutrients for your body to function properly. You likely do what you've always done: You eat when you're hungry. The problem is, eating for most people might mean picking up some food on the go, grabbing a protein bar to quickly refuel after the gym, or cooking up a quick pasta dish to get something on the table in a hurry. Those processed foods aren't known for being nutrient-rich, which is why Mazzella-Garrity advises her clients to avoid processed foods whenever possible.

"The best way to feed your body, which is made up of trillions of cells, is to pay attention to what you eat," Mazzella-Garrity says. "The majority of foods that people should be eating that are high in those vitamins are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.” This becomes all the more important when you’re under stress. Stress increases the need for micronutrients, Mazzella-Garrity says. “We're expecting our bodies to perform at a higher level under higher stress levels. The need for those nutrients becomes even higher but we have less time to do it properly."

Your body will start to tell you when it's not getting enough vitamins and minerals, Mazzella-Garrity says. You might start to feel low on energy or tired. Over time, a lack of proper nutrition could impact muscle growth and contraction, fluid balance in the body, and even disease.

While eating a completely whole-food diet is aspirational, it's not always possible with the time you have. That's where a multivitamin like Centrum comes in. "It's kind of an ally to your healthy, balanced diet, and a proactive step," Mazzella-Garrity says. “Eating healthy and taking Centrum every day will support your active lifestyle, and ensure your cells are happy and fed.”

In the end, what's important is coming up with a routine that works for you. "We could give all the advice, they could pull a different book every day with a different meal plan, and the bottom line is, if it's not going to work with that person's lifestyle, then they're not going to sustain it," Mazzella-Garrity says about her clients. Whether it's by swapping processed foods for more whole foods, adding a multivitamin, or both, whatever you do to put more vitamins and minerals in your body will circle back to you by supporting your health, both now and in the future.

Find other great health and wellness stories at Shape.com/Strive