Proper nutrition is essential for maintaining good health and vitality. There are many different nutrients that our bodies need in order to function properly, and these can be divided into several categories. In this article, we will explore the different types of nutrients that are essential for optimal health and the role that each of these nutrients plays in the body.
By understanding the types of nutrients that your body needs and how they contribute to your overall health and well-being, you can make informed choices about the foods you eat and build a diet that is nourishing and supportive of your health and vitality.
Water is the most important essential nutrient a person needs. In fact, your body can only survive a few days without it. It plays many important roles in the body, performing the following functions:
The best source of water is to drink unsweetened water from taps and bottles. If you do not like the taste of plain water, you can add a few drops of lemon or juice from citrus fruits to alter the flavor. You can also get water from fruits with high water contents.
Protein is a macronutrient that every cell in the body needs to function optimally. Proteins carry out various essential functions in the body, some of which include:
You can add proteins to your diet by eating the following foods:
Although meats and fish contain the highest amount of protein, you can get proteins from any of the other food sources if you’re a vegan or vegetarian.
Although people often associate high-fat foods with bad health, your body needs certain fats to maintain optimal health. Fats provide energy to the body and help it perform a variety of functions. To reap these benefits, you must consume healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Some of the health benefits of fat include:
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends getting 20 to 35% of your calories from healthy fats. Some foods with healthful fats include:
Carbohydrates are also super beneficial to the body. They include sugars and starches that provide energy to your cells and body tissues. They are simple and complex carbohydrates. However, health experts advise people to consume fewer simple carbohydrates and more complex carbohydrates.
Benefits of carbohydrates include:
The Dietary Guideline for Americans recommends that complex carbs make up 45 to 65% of your daily calories. Some foods that contain complex carbohydrates include:
Vitamins are micronutrients that support the body in various ways. Some of the benefits of these nutrients include:
There are 13 essential vitamins that nutritionists divide into two categories. They include
Fat soluble vitamins:
Water soluble vitamins:
Eat vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins to get all the vitamins your body needs.
Minerals are the second type of micronutrient that your body needs. There are two categories of minerals, which include major and trace minerals. Major minerals help to balance water levels in the body and maintain healthy skin and hair. Trace minerals prevent tooth decay, strengthen bones, and support the immune system.
Major minerals include:
Trace minerals include:
Phytonutrients are plant-based compounds that are found in a wide range of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and other plant-based foods. These compounds are not considered essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals, but they have been shown to have a variety of health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and preventing chronic diseases. The types of phytonutrients include:
By including a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods in your diet, you can benefit from the many different phytonutrients that they contain.
In conclusion, these seven nutrients play important roles in maintaining good health and well-being. By understanding the different types of nutrients and how to include them in your diet, you can help your body function optimally.