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6 Essential Nutrients To Include In Your Diet

The body requires essential nutrients to function properly. These essential nutrients are required for the growth and development of the body and are also crucial in enhancing overall good health [1] . The essential nutrients are divided into 2 categories: micronutrients, and macronutrients.

Macronutrients include protein, carbohydrates, and fat, [2] whereas micronutrients include vitamins and minerals like potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, etc [3] .

And the best way to get all these nutrients is through food. Read on to know about the six essential nutrients that you should include in your diet.

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6 Essential Nutrients To Include In Your Diet

1. Protein

Protein is the building blocks of the body-the bones, cells, skin, and hair-all of them contains protein. The human body requires protein to build and repair tissues, make enzymes and hormones, and other body chemicals [4] .

What should you eat: Meat, fish, eggs, nuts, soy, beans, and grains.

2. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates work as a source of fuel for all the cells and tissues in the body. There are two different types of carbohydrates: simple, and complex. Simple carbs include white bread, rice, pasta, etc; and complex carbs include quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, etc [5] .

What should you eat: Whole grains, legumes, and fibre-rich fruits and vegetables.

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3. Fats

Fats, especially healthy fats are crucial for supporting many of the body's functions, such as helping in blood clotting, building cells, nutrient absorption, hormone production, brain functioning, and muscle movement [6] .

What should you eat: Nuts, vegetable oil, seeds, coconut oil, oily fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel.

4. Vitamins

Vitamins are divided into 2 groups: fat-soluble, and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Water-soluble vitamins are vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin B6, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B9 (folate), vitamin C, and vitamin B7 (biotin).

All these vitamins are needed for boosting the immune system, helping in calcium absorption, maintaining healthy skin and hair, preventing certain cancers, aiding in brain and nervous system functioning, etc [7] .

What should you eat: Dark green leafy vegetables, avocados, seeds, fish, pork, beef, nuts, and fruits.

5. Minerals

The body requires minerals to balance water levels, improve bone health, maintain healthy skin, hair and nails, strengthen bones, prevent tooth decay, etc. There are two groups of minerals: - major, and trace minerals.

The major minerals include magnesium, calcium, sulphur, sodium, phosphorus, chloride, and potassium. The trace minerals are iron, copper, selenium, zinc, chromium, iodine, manganese, iodine, fluoride, and molybdenum [8] .

What should you eat: Red meat, nuts and seeds, seafood, vegetables, leafy greens, poultry, fruits, egg yolk, whole grains, beans and legumes, and milk and other dairy products.

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To Conclude...

Eating a balanced diet which includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, protein, fat, and whole grains will provide your body with all the six essential nutrients. All these nutrients are vital for the body to function properly.

View Article References
  1. [1] Skerrett, P. J., & Willett, W. C. (2010). Essentials of healthy eating: a guide.Journal of midwifery & women's health,55(6), 492–501.
  2. [2] Fogelholm, M., Anderssen, S., Gunnarsdottir, I., & Lahti-Koski, M. (2012). Dietary macronutrients and food consumption as determinants of long-term weight change in adult populations: a systematic literature review.Food & nutrition research,56, 10.3402/fnr.v56i0.19103.
  3. [3] Shenkin A. (2006). Micronutrients in health and disease.Postgraduate medical journal,82(971), 559–567.
  4. [4] Lonnie, M., Hooker, E., Brunstrom, J. M., Corfe, B. M., Green, M. A., Watson, A. W., … Johnstone, A. M. (2018). Protein for Life: Review of Optimal Protein Intake, Sustainable Dietary Sources and the Effect on Appetite in Ageing Adults.Nutrients,10(3), 360.
  5. [5] Slavin, J., & Carlson, J. (2014). Carbohydrates.Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.),5(6), 760–761.
  6. [6] Liu, A. G., Ford, N. A., Hu, F. B., Zelman, K. M., Mozaffarian, D., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2017). A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion.Nutrition journal,16(1), 53.
  7. [7] Wintergerst, E. S., Maggini, S., & Hornig, D. H. (2007). Contribution of selected vitamins and trace elements to immune function.Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism,51(4), 301-323.
  8. [8] Somer, E. (1995).The essential guide to vitamins and minerals. Nutrition as a way of life--Vitamins, minerals, and the body--The vitamins--The minerals--Vitamins, minerals, and disease--How medications, alcohol, and tobacco affect vitamin and mineral status--Vitamins, minerals, and food--Understanding supplements.
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