Educating yourself about food nutrients is the first step towards healthy lifestyle. It helps you understand about what nutrients our body needs, what are the benefits and how can we get them?
However, sometimes all this information, knowledge come from all sorts of sources and mediums, mix opinions, unknown studies & researches can be so overwhelming and confusing that after a while, you just no longer care.
Yes, i know the feeling!
When you want fitness to live a healthy lifestyle, you have to start somewhere. At first I looked for some basic practical nutrition tips, so i can understand my food nutrients and what needs to be changed to make it better. But when i started looking for nutrition online, it became so overwhelming and confusing with all sorts of advice, programs, ads and distractions. And I didn’t get any practical straight answers.
So, i made it my goal to make this huge nutrition science translated into a practical simplified language which you can follow. It can help you make your own diet plan with properly balanced food nutrients. And you can do some tweaks along the way as needed and get the desired results.
Let’s start by understanding these 7 essential food nutrients, what they are and how they benefit our health:
Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for our body. Our digestive system converts carbohydrates into glucose which is the energy fuel for our body cells and central nervous system. These are basically carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Carbohydrates contain sugars and starch mostly found in fruits, vegetables and milk as a healthy source.
Proteins are the base component of our body cells. Every cell, tissue in our body contains protein. To repair damaged tissues or create new ones, your body essentially needs protein. That’s why athletes, body builders eat lots of protein in their diet. So their body can repair the damage done to the cells and tissues during hard workout. Protein is an essential nutrient for growth in pregnant women, children and teens as well.
Fat is a vital nutrient for our body. It plays an important role in structural and metabolic functions of our body. It helps our digestive system to absorb vitamins from the food. And it also provides energy to our body cells. Body fat helps our body to maintain body temperature, insulating body organs against shock. It also promotes healthy cell functions of our body. Fat plays a vital role as a buffer to isolate and store any offending unsafe substances in our system into a new fat tissue until removed from body.
These 3 nutrients; Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat are called ‘Macronutrients‘ because these are consumed in large quantities through food to help our body’s metabolic functions, growth and regeneration process.
Vitamins plays a vital role in our body’s growth and development of body cells organism. There are 14 types of vitamins our body requires which are as follows:
|14 Essential Vitamins our body needs|
|Vitamin A||Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine)|
|Vitamin C||Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin)|
|Vitamin D||Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)|
|Vitamin E||Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic acid)|
|Vitamin F||Vitamin B-6|
|Vitamin K||Vitamin B-7 (Biotin)|
|Vitamin B-9 (Folic acid)|
These all vitamins perform their specific functions in our body. Normally, most of these vitamins are consumed via food. But some such as Vitamin K and Vitamin B-7 or Biotin is produced by our intestine microorganisms. And Vitamin D is synthesized into the skin by ultraviolet rays of our sun.
Dietary minerals or elements are the chemical elements required by our body to help our metabolism system to perform biochemical reactions. There are seven major dietary minerals: Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, Sodium, Chlorine and Magnesium which are most important to our organisms due to large requirement in daily life. However, there are other important trace dietary elements as well such as: iron, iodine, bromine, manganese, copper, cobalt, zinc and selenium; required in less quantity comparatively to above major dietary minerals.
Dietary fiber is the indigestible component of our food which is derived from plants. There are two types of fiber:
(a) Soluble fiber, this dissolves in water. It is easily fermented in the colon into gases and active byproducts. Soluble fibers play a vital role by interfering in cholesterol absorption during digestion which helps to control bad cholesterol levels.
(b) Insoluble fiber or Roughage, this does not dissolve in water. It mostly remains metabolically inactive during the process of digestion and it adds bulking to stool and absorbs water which helps it moving through digestive system for easy defecation without getting trapped in intestine and cause inflammation.
Water is the one of most important component of our life after oxygen. It is the main base of all the fluids in our body for example blood, saliva, fluids surrounding bones joints etc. More than two-third of our whole body weight is made by water. All our body cells, organs require water to functions. Water is a excellent solvent and lubricant. It also helps fiber roughage in our digestive system to move through intestine easily. However, from water, it doesn’t mean just your plain water. It’s about consuming appropriate liquid as well to keep body hydrated all time. It can be consumed through plain water, fruits, juices, soups, milk etc.
So, that’s why you need these seven essential food nutrients, appropriately balanced together to make a good healthy wonderful meals for you and your love ones. So your body can perform its functions efficiently without any nutrient deficiency.