“What you eat literally becomes you. you have a choice in what you are made of,” – quote by an anonymous author clearly indicates the importance of our chosen rations.
Over time we become more alienated from nature and it becomes increasingly difficult to receive goods from it. That’s why it’s even more necessary to control our daily diet, whether it contains essential nutrients or? Increased consumption of processed food, rapid urbanization, and changing lifestyles have led to a change in diet rations. We consume more food high in energy, fats, free sugar, or salt. However, lots of us do not eat enough fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
For well-being, we have to listen to our body, recognize its needs and take care of it. That is absolute, but where to start?
First, we must know, there are six essential nutrients that people need to consume through dietary sources to maintain optimal health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), essential nutrients are vital to a person’s reproduction, good health, and growth. The WHO divides those nutrients into two classes: micronutrients and macronutrients.
Micronutrients are nutrients that humans need in small doses. It consists of vitamins and minerals. Logically, macronutrients are nutrients that a person needs in larger amounts, such as water, protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
What are nutrients for and where to get them?
Vitamins are micronutrients that give a range of health advantages, including:
· promoting the immune system
· helping prevent certain cancers, such as prostate cancer
· strengthening teeth and bones
· supporting calcium absorption
· maintaining healthy skin
· helping the body metabolize proteins and carbs
· aiding healthy blood
· aiding brain and nervous system functioning
A person who has a table rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins can get all the vitamins they need in their food. Otherwise, may need to take a vitamin supplement to reduce or avoid a deficiency.
Minerals are the second type of micronutrients. They help the body to achieve the following:
· balance water levels
· maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails
· promote bone health
· strengthening bones
· preventing tooth decay
· aiding in blood clotting
· helping to carry oxygen
· supporting the immune system
· supporting healthy blood pressure
We can apply enough minerals by including the following foods in our menu: red meats, seafood, iodized table salt, milk and other dairy products, nuts and seeds, vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, poultry, fortified bread and cereals, egg yolks, whole grains, beans, and legumes.
Protein is a macronutrient that every cell in our body needs to function properly. They carry out a variety of tasks, including:
· provide the growth and development of muscles, bones, hair, and skin
· forming antibodies, hormones, and other essential substances
· serving as a fuel source for cells and tissues when needed
The following foods are good sources of protein: red meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, soy, nuts, beans, and legumes.
Fats provide the body with energy and help it carry out a range of functions. However, it is essential to consume healthful fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and limit or avoid saturated and trans fats.
Healthful fats help with the following functions:
· cell growth
· blood clotting
· building new cells
· reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
· muscle movement
· balance blood sugar
· brain functioning
· mineral and vitamin absorption
· hormone production
· immune function
According to recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a person should consume 20–35% of their calories from healthful fats. We can find healthy fats in several foods, including nuts, vegetable oils, seeds, coconut oil, fish, such as salmon and tuna.
Carbohydrates are essential to the body. They are sugars or starches that provide energy for all the cells and tissues in the body. There are two different kinds of carbohydrates: simple and complex. We should limit our intake of simple carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, and rice. However, the body needs complex carbohydrates to support the following:
· the immune system
· brain function
· the nervous system
· energy to perform tasks
· digestive function
· The following foods contain complex carbohydrates: brown rice, vegetables, oatmeal, fruits, barley, bread, and other baked goods.
Water is probably the most important essential nutrient that a human needs. A person can only survive about three days without consuming water. Even slight dehydration can cause headaches and weakened physical and mental functioning. Up to 60 percent of our body is water, and every cell requires water to function. Water helps with several functions, including:
· flushing toxins out
· shock absorption
· transporting nutrients
The best source for water is to drink natural, unsweetened water from a tap or glass bottle. Also, we can get extra water by consuming fruits that contain a large amount of water.