Know your Nutrients and Their Functions
The essential nutrients your body requires include vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats (essential fatty acids), and water.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy. Without carbohydrates, the body cannot function properly. Carbohydrates are present in high amount in fruits, breads and grains, starchy vegetables and sugars. Fruits are full of fiber, which reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and helps maintain normal blood glucose levels.
Protein is the major structural component of cells. It is responsible for the building and repair of body tissues. Protein is broken down into amino acids, Nine of the 20 amino acids, known as essential amino acids, must be present in the diet as they cannot be synthesized in the body. 10-35% of the daily calories should come from protein sources like low-fat meat, dairy, beans or eggs.
Fat is an energy source that when consumed, increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K. 20-35% of your daily intake should come from fat. Eat healthy food that contain high amount of omega-3 fatty-acids. Foods like fish, walnuts and vegetable-based oils are rich in Omega-3. It helps with development and growth. Other foods that are rich in Omega-3 are nuts, seeds and avocado.
Collagen provides structure to blood vessels, bone and ligaments. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen. Citrus fruits, strawberries and peppers are rich in Vitamin C. Folate, found in foods, helps to prevent birth defects, hence should be present in diet of a pregnant woman. Vitamin D helps to maintain calcium homeostasis. It can be found in food sources or synthesized by the sun.
Sodium maintains fluid volume outside the cells and helps cells to function normally. Keep intake under 2,400 milligrams per day. Potassium helps maintaining fluid volume inside and outside of cells and prevents the excess rise of blood pressure with increased sodium intake. Sources like bananas, potatoes and tomatoes are rich in Potassium. Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth.
Water helps to maintain homeostasis in the body and transports nutrients to cells. Water also helps in removing waste products from the body. Beverages and high-moisture foods like soup and watermelon contain water. Adults should consume approximately 25 to 35 milliliters of fluids per kilogram body weight that is approx 2 to 3 liters per day.