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6 main nutrients in food

Essential nutrients in food are those nutrients that your body cannot synthesize on its own and must be provided by the diet.

6 main nutrients in food

Check these 6 nutrients in food that are necessary for the body to function properly.

1. Carbohydrates
They are the main energy for the brain. Carbohydrates provide a proper functioning of your body. You can find them in fruits, bread, (whole) grains, starchy vegetables, and sugars. Whole grains and fruit provide fibre, which reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and helps maintain normal blood glucose levels.

2. Protein
These nutrients in food are broken down into amino acids by the digestive system. These amino acids are then used for a healthy immune system, for building and restoring hair, muscles, red blood cells, and other tissues. Since protein provides calories, it will be utilized for energy if not enough carbohydrate is available due to skipped meals or heavy workouts. Main sources of protein are meat, fish, poultry, milk, cheese, eggs, lentils, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.

3. Fat
The fat in food includes a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fat. Meats and dairy products are higher in saturated fat; most vegetable oils provide unsaturated fat. Dietary fat does play an important role in a healthy diet. Fat maintains skin and hair healthy, provides cells` regeneration, and is necessary for the production and absorption of certain vitamins and hormones. Choose healthy options such as omega-3-rich foods like fish (salmon) and walnuts, which are great for development and growth. Other good choices include avocado, nuts, and seeds.

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4. Vitamins
Vitamins help to regulate chemical reactions in the body. Because most vitamins cannot be “produced” by our body, we must obtain them through a proper diet. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen – opt for citrus fruits, strawberries, and peppers. Folic acid, found in foods, helps to prevent birth defects, so it should be taken by pregnant women or women who plan to become pregnant.

5. Minerals
Minerals are great nutrients in foods that are involved in many body functions. Calcium and magnesium are essential for bone structure, while iron is necessary for our red blood cells to transport oxygen. Minerals are best obtained through a varied diet rather than supplements.

6. Water
Water is a vital nutrient for good health. Water helps to control our body temperature, and carries nutrients in food and waste products from our cells. Adults should drink 8 glasses of fluid daily. A great advantage for water in comparison to the other fluids is that it hydrates our body without extra calories.

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