5 Essential Nutrients: Sources and Why You Need Them
Eating right isn’t just about the amount of food you take into your body. It’s also about the kind of food you feed your system. So, the kind, quality, and quantity of food are all important factors to consider when creating your meal plan.
We know of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, but did you know there are two other nutrients that are just as essential? There’s water, which is the most essential, and vitamins and minerals, which are responsible for the numerous physiological functions necessary for survival.
When you eat healthily, you help yourself live longer by keeping chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease at bay. You also get regular boosts in mood and energy, resulting in an improved quality of life.
Eating wisely also helps with healthy weight management and facilitates a restful night’s slumber. That means knowing and understanding more about what you’re taking into your body, including where they’re sourced from.
Ready to feed your body everything it needs to be and stay healthy? You can rely on Healthy Body Daily and read more about the five essential nutrients below to achieve that.
Five Nutrients You Need to Survive
The body needs a long list of nutrients to function at its very best, but five stand out among them because of their importance. They’re called “macronutrients,” which you need to consistently feed your body to ensure its optimal performance. Here they are:
Essential Nutrient #1: Protein
Protein’s main function is tissue building and repair. If you want to build muscle, you must consume the right amount and kind of protein regularly. But muscle aside, the amino acids in protein are also responsible for building and maintaining the health of skin, hair, and bones.
Protein also plays a huge role in the production of hormones, antibodies, and enzymes, the latter of which facilitates all body processes.
Best Protein Sources:
● Lean meats
● Seeds and nuts
● Soy products
Essential Nutrient #2: Carbohydrates
Carbs are our body’s main source of energy and the only source of fuel for our brains. They’re broken down and converted to glucose, which functions as cellular fuel.
When we fail to hit our carbs, we may not have the energy to work out, think, do household chores, or perform any kind of physical activity. That’s why you can’t just eliminate carbs from your diet because you want to lose weight.
Carbohydrates should always figure into your diet plans no matter your weight goals. You just need to know and understand more about its role in order to properly regulate the amount you take in.
Best Carb Sources:
These are food made from whole grains, such as:
● Wheat bread
● Brown rice
● Whole-grain pasta
Essential Nutrient #3: Fats
In the absence of enough carbs, fats come to the rescue. Apart from providing backup energy, they also help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and protect the body’s organs.
Limit consumption of foods high in saturated fat, such as cheese, butter, ice cream, and meat. Try to avoid foods with high trans fat content, too, as they can put you at high risk for disease in the long run.
Best Fat Sources:
Fat comes in solid and liquid forms, of which the most healthful are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated liquid fat sourced from the following:
● Olive oil
● Corn oil
● Canola oil
● Sunflower oil
● Fatty fish—omega-3 fatty acids
Essential Nutrient #4: Vitamins and Minerals
Your body needs different kinds of vitamins and minerals to perform optimally. They aid in the physiological processes that help us survive, specifically those that factor into growth and development.
They also each have a role in the maintenance of optimal health. Take calcium and vitamin D, for instance. These two are essential for building strong and healthy bones. Then, there’s vitamin B, which provides support to our nervous systems. The list goes on and on, so be sure to educate yourself.
Best Sources for Vitamins and Minerals:
● Fruits and vegetables
● Dairy products
● Lean protein
Essential Nutrient #5: Water
Now comes an essential nutrient of all, water. The fact that it’s the only thing that can truly quench your thirst is proof of its utmost importance. Look at it this way. You can’t live without food, but you should be able to go without it for a few weeks. On the other hand, going without water would cause you to wilt away within a few days.
Make sure you drink at least 125 ounces (men) and 90 ounces (women) of clean water a day. Twenty percent of that generally comes from food, and 80 percent should come from actual drinking water.
So, there it is—five essential nutrients to know and understand more about in order to adopt the ideal meal plan. However, there’s more to being healthy than consuming meals that feature all these nutrients. You must understand more about their functions and know where they’re sourced to integrate them into your diet correctly.