What are Micronutrients, and How Can They Help Improve Your Performance and Focus?

An expert explains the importance of micronutrients and how they can help boost your overall health and fitness
Staff Writer

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Nadia Tarazi—Exercise is supposed to clear your mind and energize your body, right? But if you’re reaching for sugar and caffeine to fuel your day, you know all too well how feeling overwhelmed and stressed can disrupt your workout — from making it hard to find your center on your yoga matt, and even to preventing you from getting those sneakers on at all.

Related: Stress-Busting Yoga Moves You Can do at Your Desk

We’ve all been there, which is why during periods of pressure, it’s more important than ever to feed your brain the micronutrients it needs to run your mind and body. If you are struggling to unwind, even when working out, you may particularly benefit from the trace minerals and B vitamins that fuel your energy and mental state.

What Are Micronutrients?
Micronutrients are the trace minerals and vitamins you need in steady doses to kick-start your core bodily processes. According to the Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University, these tiny nutrients are needed in constant supply for energy metabolism of neurons, neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve impulse propagation. In other words, they help run your brain and central nervous system and make your many activities and adventures possible.


Pomegranates are a good source of  vitamin C, folate and magnesium​.

Examples of Micronutrients Include:
• Iodine, which helps operate your thyroid and maintain brain health
• Zinc and magnesium, which together activate hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the brain and body, including the production of neurotransmitters
• Manganese, chromium and vitamin B12, which play a pivotal role in mood and outlook

Essential micronutrients are those that you can’t produce in adequate amounts in your body, and must be consumed. You only need these nutrients in trace amounts. However, even the World Health Organization (WHO) calls micronutrients “magic wands” stating: “As tiny as the amounts [needed] are...the consequences of their absence are severe.”

How Can They Help Your Workout?
An increasing body of research links micronutrient sufficiency to a better state of mind, including improved focus, stable moods, a more positive general outlook and a calmer relationship with food. As one CrossFit competitor and yoga practitioner, Alyson Boyd, put it:

Physical activity and performance are a huge part of my life, and once I started taking MicroNourish Core Micronutrients I immediately noticed a difference in my appetite stability, energy maintenance and recovery. Reduced cravings for ‘extremes’ — sugars, processed carbs, trans fats — has allowed me to listen to what my body is really craving and have confidence in my ability to respond responsibly.”

But Don’t You Get Enough Micronutrients From Your Diet?
Micronutrients originate in the soil, which means if your fruits and vegetables are not grown in nutrient-dense soils, and not preserved well through the supply chain, there will be less micronutrients available for you to absorb.

Once consumed, micronutrients are absorbed into your bloodstream via more than 30 receptor points throughout your digestive system, where they interact with each other to help facilitate absorption.

Related: Why Your Digestive Health is More Important than You Think

For instance, magnesium facilitates the absorption of potassium and calcium. Eating a wide range of whole foods, choosing produce grown in nutrient-rich soils and ensuring good digestion are key to absorbing plenty of micronutrients on a daily basis: all three of which are especially hard to come by during periods of stress.

Given that micronutrients play such a pivotal role in activating and regulating the processes that balance your mind, eating, energy and digestion, it is particularly important that you absorb a broad-spectrum of micronutrients daily when you are putting your body and mind through mental pressure and physical adventures.


Pecans are a good source of  magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and manganese.

Three Easy Ways To Boost Your Micronutrient Absorption Today.
1. Add a new micronutrient-dense food to one meal a day. (To learn which foods are high in nutrients, you can download a nutrient-density chart here.)

2. Take a daily broad-spectrum micronutrient supplement such as MicroNourish Core that includes chelated minerals for maximum absorption.

3. Take care of your digestive health with high-probiotic foods, high prebiotic fibers and active enzymes from raw fresh produce and supplements to maximize nutrient absorption and support brain-gut balance.

Nadia Tarazi, MBA, MA, CPCC, is an Executive Coach and Founder of MicroNourish®. Nadia developed the MicroNourish System after dramatically improving her own focus, digestion, and relationship with food through micronutrition. The premier system includes micronutrients and digestive formulas designed to target brain and gut balance for inner balance, mental clarity, and calmer eating.

Nadia curates the MicroNourish Magazine, You Are What You Absorb®, which features experts sharing practical advice on good nutrition and mind-body balance; she also developed the mobile app, ThinkPal®, which generates coaching questions to help people get unstuck. Download Nadia’s 4-Part Coaching Series on Mastering Balance, Clarity & Calm Plus Focus Flashcards To Help Get In the Zone Now.

More Reading:
Healthy Foods that Protect Your Brain
Expert Advice for Fighting Stress-Induced Junk Food Cravings
Are Juice Cleanses Good for You? An Expert Weighs the Pros and Cons

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