While macronutrients provide the body with energy and building blocks, micronutrients are substances that help optimise body’s metabolism, growth and overall function.
Humans need large amounts of macronutrients and smaller amounts of micronutrients – hence BIG macro and SMALL micro.
You’ve heard of the two types of micronutrients – vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins are ‘organic’ substances, meaning that they are made by plants or animals. They can be fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E and K) or water-soluble (vitamins C and B-groups).
|A||Immune system function.
Vision and skin repair
|Fruits and Vegetables (yellow & green). Oily fish. Milk, cheese, yoghurt. Eggs. Liver|
Growth and development
|Variety of foods including whole grains, vegetables, meat, eggs, milk, cheese, and yoghurt.|
|C||Immune system functioning.
Enhance iron absorption
|Fruits and vegetables.|
|D||Immune system function.
|Oily fish. Eggs. Mushrooms|
|E||Immune system function.
|Nuts and seeds (and their oils). Wheat germ|
|Vegetables (dark green). Olive oil|
Minerals are ‘inorganic’ substances, meaning that they originally come from the soil and water.
|Iron||Help transport oxygen around the body by forming haemoglobin and myoglobin.
Immune system function.
|Red meat. Eggs. Whole grain cereals. Vegetables (green). Pulses.|
|Milk, cheese, yoghurt. Soy products (fortified). Vegetables (green). Nuts and seeds. Dried fruits.|
|Grains and cereals. Milk, cheese, yoghurt. Meat. Nuts. Vegetables (green).|
|Potassium||Muscle and nerve functioning.
Maintain water balance.
Regulate blood pressure.
|Fruits and vegetables. Nuts. Cereals. Meat. Milk. Chocolate. Coffee.|
|Magnesium||Muscle and nerve functioning.
|Vegetables (green). Meat. Dairy. Cereals.|
Immune system functioning.
Prevent low mood.
|Meat,Seafood. Vegetables (green). Seeds.|
|Chromium||Glucose and insulin metabolism.||Wholegrain cereals. Beans and lentils. Nuts. Dairy. Eggs.|
|Copper||Enzyme formation.||Shellfish. Meat (organ). Nuts. Pulses. Cocoa.|
|Manganese||Enzyme formation.||Cereals. Nuts. Dried fruits. Tea.|
|Fluoride||Tooth structure and strength.||Water. Tea. Seafood.|
|Iodine||Thyroid function.||Seafood. Eggs. Dairy.|
|Selenium||Antioxidant.||Grains. Fish. Meat, offal. Eggs. Nuts.|
The minerals in bold (iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium) are often found in less than adequate amounts in dancers so you may want to take extra care in getting enough.
You’d now see that vitamins and minerals are found across a variety of foods and food groups. That’s why eating a variety of foods from grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans and pulses), nuts and seeds, meat, fish, poultry, dairy and non-dairy is essential.
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Brown D.D. Nutrition, Bone Health, and the Young Dancer. In: Solomon R., Solomon J., Micheli L. (eds) Prevention of Injuries in the Young Dancer. Contemporary Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine. 2017.
Brown D and Challis J. Optimal Nutrition for Dancers. Dancer Wellness. IADMS.
Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009;109;509-527.