The following are the nutrients that body needs:
Protein – What is Protein?
Protein is the framework of our muscles, bones, blood, hair and fingernails. Over half of our body (water included) is made up of protein, which is essential for its growth and repair. Some proteins also help regulate various body processes by serving as hormones, enzymes, or protective antibodies. The best known sources are created equal. Complete proteins, such as milk and meat, provide all the essential amino acids the body needs to synthesize its own proteins. Incomplete proteins such as legumes or nuts may have relatively low levels of one or two essential amino acids, but fairly high levels of others. But combining complementary proteins sources, you can make sure that your body can make the most of the non-animal proteins you eat.
Carbohydrates – What is Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates provide our bodies and brains with their basic fuel: glucose. Simple carbohydrates (sugar) and complex carbohydrates (starches) both have 4 calories per gram, but sugars provide little more than a quick spurt of energy, whereas starches are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Many complex carbohydrates also supple a substance that our bodies can’t digest but need nonetheless; fiber. (Animal products provide no fiber). As a fiber passes through our bodies, it creates a feeling of fullness, aids digestion, prevents constipation, and may protect us from cancer of the colon and other organs. The five forms of fiber are cellulose, hemicelluloses, gums, pectin, and lignin. Such fibers are gums and pectin can be absorbed through the large intestines. High fiber foods include fresh fruits with peels, berries, prunes, beans of all kinds, broccoli, bran cereals, bran flakes and whole-grain cereals and breads.
Fats – What is Fats?
Fats have several functions: they store vitamins A, D, E and K; keep our skin healthy; give us stamina; and insulate us from shock and temperature extremes. A single teaspoon of vegetable oil every day provides all the fat we need for these functions. Many of the fats we eat are saturated-that is, the carbon skeletons of fat molecules contain as many hydrogen atoms as they can hold. The carbon skeletons of unsaturated fats do not. This distinction is important because saturated fats, which come from animal sources such as meat and dairy products are considered dangerous to the heart. The health risk resulting from saturated fats are due to greatly increase levels of cholesterol. Cholesterol is a type of fat found in food; but is also produced in the body, in particular, by the liver and intestines. When cholesterol levels become too high, the excess cholesterol builds up within the arteries, adding to the risk of heart disease. Although cholesterol is essential to good health;
* Cholesterol involved in the production of many hormones, including the sex hormones.
* Cholesterol is one of the components of the outer membranes protecting our body cells.
* Cholesterol is necessary to liver function.
Unsaturated fats come from the plants and actually help protect your heart. Most vegetable oil, including sunflower, cottonseed, and corn (but not coconut), are unsaturated. If one pair of hydrogen molecule is missing from a fat, it is a mono saturated fat. If more than one pair of hydrogen molecules is missing, the fats are poly saturated, like the fats in vegetable oils.
Water – What is Water?
Although we can live for several weeks without food, we would die after a few days without water. Water is vital to life. A loss of 5% of the body’s’ water causes weakness; at 15% to 20% loss can be fatal. Water is essential for cooling the body. Water is an important element in the production of sweat, which evaporates from the skin to cool the body. Your body normally contains 40 to 50 quarts of water, which it uses to digest foods and transport nutrients to, and waste products from cells. To make up for water lost through evaporation and elimination, you should drink at least six to eight glasses of liquid a day.
Vitamins – What is Vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential in very small amount in our daily diet. Some like Vitamin A, D, and E are fat soluble and absorbed through the intestinal membranes with the aid of fats in the diet or bile from the liver and stored in the body. The Vitamin B and Vitamin C are water-soluble, and are washed out of the body in urine and sweat. They must be replaced daily. The vitamins are masters of many tasks. They help put proteins, fats and carbohydrates to use. Together with the enzymes in the body, they help produce the right chemical reactions at the right times. They are also involved in the manufacture of blood cells, as well as hormones and other compounds. The best vitamin sources are real foods, not tablets. Despite advocates’ claim, no supplement is a substitute for food. None contains al the nutrients you need in the right amounts. The only way of making sure your body gets what it needs is by eating a wide variety of foods.
Minerals – What is Minerals?
Carbon, Oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen made up 96 percent of our body weight. The other 4% consists of nearly 30 minerals, which help build bones and teeth, and aid in the way our muscles operate and our nervous systems transmit messages. We need daily about 100 mg of each of the macro minerals: sodium, potassium, chlorine, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. We also need about 10 mg or less daily of each of the micro minerals: iron, zinc, selenium, molybdenum, iodine, cobalt, copper, manganese, fluorine, and chromium. Because of the delicate balance of these minerals in the body, too much of any mineral can be as harmful as too little. Still other minerals, such as gold, lead or mercury, also enter our body but have no nutritional function. Two of the most important minerals are iron and calcium.
Iron – What is Iron?
Iron is an essential ingredient of hemoglobin, the protein that makes the blood red and carries oxygen to all our tissues. Because oxygen is needed to convert food into energy, too little iron can trigger an internal energy crisis. Iron deficiency may be one of the most widespread nutritional problems in the world. Getting enough iron is a big problem for women, whose iron stores are drained by menstruation, pregnancy, and nursing. Half of all women of child bearing age get less than the 18 mg of iron recommended and 5% suffer from iron deficiency which results to chronic fatigue, depression, sleeplessness, and susceptibility to colds and infection. To boost your iron, include more iron-rich foods in your diet. Don’t take supplement unless you’ve had a blood test. Excess iron can accumulate in the body causing severe constipation and other complications.
Calcium – What is Calcium?
Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, builds strong bones and teeth, not just in children but also in adults. The need for calcium is critical because our bodies keep on breaking down and rebuilding bone tissue. Every single cell in the body requires calcium. Without it, nerve cells cannot conduct impulses, the heart cannot beat and the brain cannot function. Adequate calcium is especially important for pregnant or nursing women in order to meet the additional needs of the body. Calcium along with regular exercise prevents osteoporosis, the bone-weakening disease that strikes on e out of every four women over the age of 60. Many experts believe that the crucial time to increase calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis is early in life, particularly during the rapid growth period of adolescence. A denser, bigger skeleton may be less susceptible to bone loss later in life.