The human body needs water, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to function properly. These nutrients are known as “essential nutrients” for many good reasons. These are the nutrients the body cannot produce on its own. They must be taken in by the body regularly for optimum health. The quality and potency of these nutrients depend on the food sources they are obtained from. Besides water, these nutrients are best gotten from whole foods, but supplements can help bridge the gap when you need them to.
Macronutrients Versus Micronutrients
Essential nutrients are separated into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are water, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, while micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. Micronutrients are needed by the body only in tiny doses, while people require macronutrients in much higher amounts.
Carbs, Protein, and Fat
Protein is a macronutrient that is needed to support every cell in the human body. Without protein, the body would not have the building materials necessary for bones, muscles, hair, and skin to grow healthily. The formation of antibodies and enzymes is also dependent on adequate amounts of quality protein consumption regularly. Poultry, fish, red meat, eggs, soy and nuts are all good sources of protein.
There are good fats and bad fats, also known as saturated and unsaturated. Your body needs unsaturated fats the most, and you can get them from sources like salmon, tuna, nuts and some vegetable oils. Unsaturated fats don’t solidify at room temperature, which means that unsaturated fats won’t clog your veins and arteries the way saturated fats do.
Carbohydrates are needed for energy, immune system support, brain function, and more. Avoid simple carbs like white bread and french fries, however. Instead, stick to superior sources like brown rice, quinoa, vegetables, fruits and oatmeal.
Vitamins, Minerals and Water
Vitamins like C, K and E are micronutrients that help support the immune system, digestion, metabolism, and functioning of the brain and nervous system, among other functions. You will need both trace minerals and major minerals to stay healthy. Trace minerals include iron, zinc, and manganese. Major minerals include magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Red meat, vegetables, seafood, leafy greens, and legumes are excellent sources of minerals. Finally, remember to drink about eight glasses of purified water every day.