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The Essential Nutrients

By Senior Editor
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If you want to feel good and be able to perform both physically and mentally, you need to get enough of the Essential Nutrients, according to the food pyramid guideline.

Your body can’t function without the essential nutrients

The body can not function without the 6 essential nutrients that include: carbohydrates, proteins, fat, water, vitamins and minerals. We have to get these essential nutrients from our diet, and using a food pyramid as a guideline can be helpful.

The 6 essential nutrients

1. Carbohydrate

Foods rich in fiber will keep you full longer. Eat a lot of beans and lentils, whole meal bread, pasta, rice and vegetables. Bad Carbohydrates can be found in sugar-rich products: white bread, cakes, sweets, juices and soft drinks. This type of food only makes you satisfied and alert for the moment and you will quickly become hungry again.

2. Proteins

Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies and needed to build muscle and tissue. Meat, fish and dairy products are rich in protein. Other great protein sources are soybeans and other legumes such as lentils. Grain and flour, rice, potatoes and vegetables are also sources of protein.

3. Fat

Your body needs fat in order to assimilate the vitamins and there are fatty acids that the body simply must have. Select the right sources of fats, cut down on saturated fat in favor of the unsaturated fat.

4. Vitamins

  • Vitamin A is important for our eyes, skin, mucous membranes and growth. Vitamin A is needed to regulate the level of calcium in our body for out bones and teeth. A vitamin can be found in milk, butter and margarine.
  • Vitamin B is needed for nerves and muscles to function. Vitamin B can be found in meat, fish, peas, beans and cereal products.
  • Vitamin C is an Antioxidant. Antioxidants enhance the body’s own protection against diseases. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.
  • Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium. Vitamin D can be found in meat, fish, milk and butter.
  • Vitamin E is an Antioxidant, important for the body’s immune system. Vitamin E can be found in salmon, vegetable oils, nuts, almonds, wheat germ and avocado
  • Vitamin K is needed for the blood to clot. Vitamin E can be found in dark green leafy vegetables.

5. Minerals

  • Iron deficiency is relatively common among teenage girls and women. Symptoms include fatigue and susceptibility to infections. Iron can be found in meat, fish and poultry.
  • Calcium is important for muscle function, for strong bones and strong teeth. The main sources of calcium are milk and milk products.
  • Zinc is needed to form proteins, as well as for wound healing. Zinc can be found in meat, crabs and beans.
  • Selenium is an Antioxidant, important for the body’s immune system. Selenium can be found in meat, fish and shellfish.

6. Water

About 80% of your body consists of water. In order for your body to function properly, it’s important to drink plenty of water. Water helps to break down food. It also helps to remove toxins from your body. Your body needs about needs about a gallon (3.78 liter) of water per day depending on physical condition and physical activity.

The general recommendation is to drink about 8 glasses of water every day. Make sure to drink plenty of water when you exercise or stay in hot climates. Remember to drink before you get thirsty, to avoid dehydration. It takes about 20 minutes for the body to utilize the water, after feeling thirsty.

Get energized throughout the day

To make sure you get all the nutrients your body needs throughout the day, eat three main goals every day: breakfast, lunch and dinner and three snacks: morning, afternoon and evening.

Make sure that your diet contains 3/4 from plants and 1/4 from meat, fish, eggs, pulses or legumes. This way you will get enough energy to stay active until it’s time for bed.

  • ¾ of you diet should come from plants: whereas half comes from potatoes, wheat, pasta or rice and the other half from vegetables and fruits.
  • ¼ of your diet should come from meat, fish, eggs, pulses or legumes. How much you eat is determined by how hungry you are, but keep the proportions.

 

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