6 Essential Nutrients and Why Your Body Needs Them

6 Essential Nutrients and Why Your Body Needs Them

Essential nutrients are compounds that the body can’t make or can’t make in sufficient quantity. According to the World Health Organization, these nutrients must come from food and they’re vital for disease prevention, growth, and good health. 6 Essential Nutrients and Why Your Body Needs Them

6 Essential Nutrients and Why Your Body Needs ThemProtein

Protein provides the building blocks of the body and not just for muscle. Every cell from bone to skin to hair contains protein. A startling 16 per cent of the average person’s body weight is from protein. Protein is used primarily for growth, health and body maintenance.

All of your hormones, antibodies and other important substances are composed of protein. Protein is not used to fuel the body unless necessary. Proteins are made of up different amino acids though the body can create some amino acids on its own, many essential amino acids can only come from food.

The good news is that you don’t need to eat all of the amino acids at once. Your body can create complete proteins from the foods you eat throughout the day.

Healthy sources

While meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of essential amino acids, you can also get protein from plant sources like beans, soy, nuts, and some grains.
Exactly how much protein you need daily depends on a variety of factors including how active you are and your age.

Carbohydrates

Don’t let the low-carb craze fool you. Carbohydrates are necessary for a healthy body. Carbs fuel your body especially your central nervous system and brain and also protect against disease.
Carbohydrates should make up 45 to 65 per cent of your total daily calories.

Healthy sources

Before you reach for the white bread or pasta, keep in mind that the type of carb you eat matters. Some carbs are healthier than others, opt for whole grains, beans and fibre-rich vegetables and fruits instead of refined grains and products with added sugar.

Fats

Fats often get a bad rap but recent research has shown that healthy fats are an important part of a healthy diet.
According to Harvard Medical School, fat supports many of your body’s functions such as vitamin and mineral absorption, blood clotting, building cells, and muscle movement. Yes, fat is high in calories but those calories are an important energy source for your body.

World Health Organization suggests keeping it under 30 per cent of your calories. Including healthy fats in your diet can help you balance your blood sugar, decrease your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and improve your brain function. They’re also powerful anti-inflammatories and they may lower your risk of arthritis, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Healthy sources

The most famous unsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Unsaturated fats are important for your body as they provide essential fatty acids your body can’t make. You can find these healthy fats in nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetable oils (like olive, avocado, and flaxseed).

Coconut oil provides plant-based fats which impart health benefits like faster utilization by organs as fuel and appetite control. Avoid trans fats and limit your intake of saturated animal-based fats like butter, cheese, red meat, and ice cream.

Vitamins

Vitamins are vital for warding off disease and staying healthy. There are 13 essential vitamins that the body needs to function properly including vitamins A, C, B6, and D. Each vitamin plays an important role in the body and not getting enough of them can cause health problems and disease. Vitamins may lower the risk of lung and prostate cancer, and they’re powerful antioxidants. Vitamins like vitamin C boost the immune system and help the body heal.

Healthy sources

If you eat a varied, well-balanced diet full of vegetables and fruits, and have a normal and healthy functioning digestive tract, you likely don’t need to take vitamin supplements.

Minerals

Much like vitamins, minerals help support the body. They’re essential for many body functions including building strong bones and teeth, regulating your metabolism and staying properly hydrated. Some of the most common minerals are calcium, iron and zinc.

In addition to strengthening bones, calcium helps with nerve signal transmission, maintaining healthy blood pressure and muscle contraction and relaxation. Iron supports your red blood cells and hormone creation. Zinc boosts your immune system and wound healing.

Water

You can go for weeks without food but you can’t last more than a few days without water. Water is crucial for every system in your body. It’s also the main thing you are made of. About 62 per cent of your body weight is water.

Water improves your brain function and mood, it acts as a shock absorber and a lubricant in the body. It also helps flush out toxins, carry nutrients to cells, hydrate the body, and prevent constipation. Even mild dehydration can make you feel tired and impair your concentration and physical performance.

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