What are nutrients?
Nutrients are substances required by the body to perform its basic functions. Nutrients must be obtained from our diet since the human body cannot make them. Nutrients have one or more of three basic functions: they provide energy, contribute to body structure, and/or regulate chemical processes in the body. These basic functions allow us to detect and respond to environmental surroundings, move, excrete wastes, breathe, grow, and reproduce. There are six classes of nutrients required for the body to function and maintain overall health. These are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, water, vitamins, and minerals. Foods also contain non-nutrient that may be harmful such as natural toxins common in plant foods and additives like some dyes and preservatives or beneficial like antioxidants
Which one my body needs?
There are six basic nutrients needed by our bodies:
- PROTEIN: needed for building and repairing and keeping us resistant to infections. Our bodies are continually being “remolded” so we need protein. Good sources include lean meats, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy.
- CARBOHYDRATES: needed for energy. Over the years, carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap. We do encourage whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as our main source and less of the white sugar and white flour varieties.
- FATS: also supply energy. Monounsaturated fats are good for your heart. Just go easy on them as they provide us with 9 calories per gram. Try to avoid a lot of trans fats, as they are not good for our heart.
- VITAMINS: these include the fat-soluble like A, D, E, K and the water-soluble like the B vitamins and C.
- MINERALS: these include calcium, potassium, sodium, and iron to name just a few. Eating a well-balanced diet will help you get all the vitamins and minerals that you need. All of them play a very important role in our overall health.
- WATER: the forgotten nutrient. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of consuming adequate fluid in our bodies every day! Shoot for 8 glasses a day.