5 Essential Nutrients: What They Are and Why You Need Them

The human body is incapable of producing all the nutrients it needs to develop, survive, and function effectively. Hence, it relies on external dietary sources to make up for the essential nutrients it fails to produce independently like the Omega-3 fatty acids, amongst others, to reach its optimal functionality and efficiency.

However, these nutrients are needed in different doses. The body requires some in larger amounts than others. These nutrients can be classified into two categories: Micronutrients and Macronutrients.

Macronutrients are needed in large amounts, they include proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. While micronutrients, on the other hand, are needed in small amounts, and they include vitamins and minerals. Although small doses of micronutrients are sufficient, the absence of them could lead to deficiency and compromise your health.

In this article, we’ll be providing more information on these essential nutrients and what they do to the body.

Protein

Protein rich Foods

Protein is a macronutrient that every cell in the body depends on as your body constantly breaks and assembles for growth. It is a good source of different amino acids, which serves as a supplement for all the amino acids our bodies produce and introduces the ones our bodies are incapable of producing. 

This macronutrient helps in the growth and development of muscles, hair, skin, and bones. Hormones, antibodies, and other essential substances required for full and healthy functionality are composed of proteins. The body utilizes the protein you’ve consumed when necessary, especially in tissue reparation, making it the perfect nutrient for people who work out. Some good sources of protein include – eggs, beans and legumes, chicken, turkey, and dairy products.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates

 Carbohydrates are composed of starches and sugars that provide the body with energy. They come in two different types: Simple and Complex. While both are consumable, complex carbohydrates are the healthier option, and people are advised to reduce the consumption of simple carbohydrates such as rice and pasta. Meanwhile, complex carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, oatmeal, and barley boost the immune system, brain function, digestive function, and provide all the support the nervous system needs.

Fats

fat foods

Most times we hear about the fat, it is usually termed unhealthy and unsafe for consumption. But this isn’t entirely true, there are healthy fats that improve blood clotting, provide energy, build cells, aid muscle movements, boost mineral and vitamin absorption, and balance blood sugar. These fats are found in vegetable oils, salmon, tuna, nuts, and seeds.

Vitamins

Vitamins

Vitamins are micronutrients that strengthen the immune system well enough to fight off diseases. They increase metabolism, maintain the skin, and provide the human body with healthy blood. There are 13 essential vitamins, and they come in two different categories: Fat-soluble and Water-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins, while Vitamins B and C fall under the water-soluble category. For a vitamin-rich diet, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins should be consumed.

Minerals

Minerals

For stronger bones and teeth, stable blood pressure, balanced water levels, and healthier skin, the body needs minerals. Just like with vitamins, it is a micronutrient and is needed in small amounts. Some essential minerals include magnesium, calcium, sulfur, iron, copper, chromium, fluoride, amongst others, and are found in foods like seafood, dairy products, egg yolk, whole grains, and vegetables.

Conclusion

The human body needs these five nutrients to boost the immune system, ward off diseases, and support the central nervous system. To ensure that the body is kept at optimal health, all five of these essential nutrients are supposed to be consumed in the right proportions.

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