The body is like a car – it needs the right fuel to run smoothly! Our body relies on nourishment from food and drinks to continue functioning healthily. Maintaining a well-balanced diet is so integral to good health.
There are six categories of vital nutrients. Some, such as vitamins, only need to be eaten in small portions. Others, such as protein, need to be consumed in larger quantities.
Keep reading to learn the six essential nutrients and why they are important to your health!
Vitamins are micronutrients. This means they only need to be consumed in relatively small doses. However, when someone is lacking in vitamin consumption, it can cause deficiencies that can have seriously detrimental impacts on their well-being.
Vitamins play a role in several vital bodily functions, including facilitating calcium absorption, maintaining healthy skin, metabolizing protein and carbs, and more. Vitamins can also help delay or entirely prevent certain cellular disorders such as cancer and play an important role in supporting the immune system.
There are 13 essential vitamins, each of which should be consumed at their recommended daily values. Typically, those who eat a well-balanced diet, rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, and protein sources will meet their body’s vitamin intake needs.
Minerals are another kind of micronutrient, meaning they only need to be consumed in small doses. Minerals can be classified into two types: major and trace minerals.
Trace minerals aid in a variety of bodily processes, including maintaining healthy blood pressure, strengthening bones, protecting teeth, aiding in proper oxygenation of the blood, and immune system support.
Major minerals are integral to major bodily processes. Major minerals help the body maintain healthy skin and nails, balance water levels within the body, and improve bone health.
A balance of both major and trace minerals is needed to maintain good health. Minerals can be found in an array of food sources, including but not limited to eggs, red meat, dairy, poultry, whole grains, beans, and more. Most people will get enough minerals in their day-to-day diet.
Fat has a reputation for being bad for your health. However, this is a misconception. Fat is a necessary nutrient for loads of bodily functions. There are different kinds of fat, and some are healthier than others.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered healthful fats. Other fats, like trans-fat or saturated fat, are not good for your health and should be avoided.
Healthy fats are vital for several bodily functions, including new cell growth, proper blood clotting, maintaining muscle movement, hormone production, proper brain function, and more. According to dietary guidelines, people should receive about a quarter of their daily calories from healthy fats.
Healthful fats can be found in a variety of foods such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
Carbohydrates are necessary for your body to produce energy. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the body, which is used to create energy to fuel movement and exercise.
Complex carbs help the body perform functions such as maintaining normal brain function, maintaining the nervous system, sourcing energy for movement, and more.
Complex carbs can be found in foods like oatmeal, whole-grain bread, quinoa, and more.
Protein is integral to your health. Protein is a macronutrient that everyone must consume regularly to stay in good health. Protein is an important building block in cell generation and supports healthy muscle growth and maintenance. Protein can be found in many foods, including meat (poultry, red meat, fish), dairy, legumes, and nuts.
Most of the human body is comprised of water. This makes water an essential nutrient for humans to stay alive. People cannot go much past a few days without it. Even slight dehydration can cause undesirable side effects quite quickly!
Water helps with several bodily processes, including lubrication, flushing out toxins, maintaining healthy bowel movements, and more.
The best way to consume water is by drinking plain, filtered water. If you don’t care for the plain taste, try slicing fruits and popping them in the water. Avoid sugary drinks, these can dehydrate you more.
The six essential nutrients are vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and water. Ensuring you are getting enough of each through your diet is crucial to maintain your well-being!