Some of my readers already know I’ve been studying for many months now to receive my Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS) certificate through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). It’s been great putting some science behind my longterm beliefs in what can be considered “healthy eating.” That includes learning how our bodies rely on the right balance of nutrients to function properly. One chapter I found particularly interesting was about a group that falls outside the nutrient spectrum – trace elements.
What are trace elements? They’re minerals the body needs in small amounts – less than 100 milligrams per day – and the total amount of each trace element in the body is less than five grams. Despite the small amount of space they take up in our overall anatomy, they’re crucial to many body functions and essential for growth and the normal function of our immune system. More specifically, the trace minerals we need are: iron, copper, zinc, copper, fluoride, selenium, iodine, molybdenum, chromium and manganese.
Copper – which helps with immune function and iron utilization -can be found in peanut butter and chocolate! (I should point out, it’s also found in organ meats, shellfish, nuts and seeds). Meanwhile, rich sources of chromium include dark chocolate, wine and beer (along with mushrooms, asparagus and prunes.) Chromium plays a part in the normal use of insulin to promote glucose use.
So, while I’m not here telling you to overload your cabinets with chocolate and booze, I thought you wouldn’t mind learning that indulgences really can be good for you – in moderation, of course! Along with making the taste buds happy and boosting your mood, you’re actually giving your body things it can use. The next time you enjoy that dark chocolate square or savor a glass of your favorite vintage, smile and know it’s all part of the plan to have fun, be fit, and feel fabulous!