Sunday, March 7, 2021


7 Essential Nutrients Your Diet Needs.

February 21, 2021 by  
Filed under Health, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Food is the fuel for our body. We all know that good health lies in eating the right food. Eating healthy foods not only helps you live longer, but also boosts energy and mood, increasing the overall quality of life. The first step to reaping the benefits of healthy eating is to understand which nutrients your body needs and how to get them through your diet.

To look and feel your best your body needs a long list of nutrients. Nutrients are compounds that the body cannot produce or cannot make in the required quantity, and it comes only through food. The nutrients provide nourishment which is essential for the growth, repair, maintenance of life, and much more. Balanced nutrition is the combination of healthy foods and the right calorie that helps you manage or maintain your body weight.

The nutrients contained in food can be divided into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macro nutrients are those that are required in large quantities by the body. They are the primary building blocks of your diet. They are the main source of energy and are crucial for the body’s growth, health, and maintenance. Whereas, micronutrients are required only in small doses to help fight the disease, regulate the body functions, and processes.

The 7 to Stay Alive

  1. Let’s start with Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy to the body, and it is the brain’s only source of fuel. In recent days, carbohydrates have been getting a bad rap as fattening. But, like any other nutrient, consuming carbohydrates is all about balanced diets. Carbohydrates appear in the form of sugars, starches, and fiber, which are then converted into glucose by the body.

Carbohydrates come in two forms – simple and complex. People should limit their intake of simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, food with added sugar, white flour, and white rice. However, you can consume complex carbohydrates from foods, like brown rice, vegetables, fruits, barley, oats, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, and oatmeal.

  1. Next Up is Protein

The protein is present in every cell of the body. The main function of protein is to maintain and build muscles, bone, skin, hair, and much more. Proteins also help build antibodies, hormones, and enzymes. Proteins are comprised of 20 amino acids, which are small chemical compounds. Some of these are produced by the body, whereas some are acquired from the food you eat.

Proteins come from many sources. However, animal foods are considered the richest source of protein as they contain all essential amino acids. Many plant foods do not have all the essential amino acids.

High Source of Protein – Red meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, cheese, legumes, yogurt, fish, Soy products

Medium source of protein – Rice, oats, wheat, barley, millet

Low source of protein – Fruits, vegetables, juices, bread, dried beans

blackman-PROTEINFORDIET-2021

  1. Now Fat

If you are a person who believes eating fat makes you fat, you are certainly wrong.

Dietary fat has earned a bad reputation because of its association with body fat. Okay, now let’s forget about the good fat and bad fat for a moment and focus on the real benefits. Fat is an essential nutrient that helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, supports cell growth, protects organs, and provides energy to the body.

The rules for consuming fat is simple. You should consume foods with a high level of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat like avocados, almonds, fish, soybean oil, and olive oil. Avoid trans fat (partially hydrogenated fat) present in some vegetable oil and processed foods. Limit your intake of saturated animal-based fats like butter, cheese, red meat, and ice cream.

  1. Vitamins

A Vitamin is an essential micronutrient that supports body functions, help ward off disease, and keep you healthy. There are 13 vitamins, which are categorized as fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, D, E, and K. Water-soluble vitamins are Thiamin, Vitamin B-12 (Cyanocobalamin), vitamin B-6, Riboflavin, Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B-3 (Niacin), Vitamin B-9 (folate), Vitamin B-7 (biotin), and Vitamin C.

There is no specific food that provides every essential vitamin to the body. A diverse and healthy diet is needed. You need to include a lot of vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins to get all the vitamins you need in your food. You can also take a vitamin supplement to avoid or reduce deficiency.

  1. Minerals

Minerals are yet another micronutrient that is essential for many body functions, regulating your metabolism, and staying properly hydrated. There are two groups of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals. Major minerals include magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium, potassium, and chloride. They help in strengthening the bones, skin, hair, and nails, and balance water levels in the body.

Trace minerals include iron, selenium, zinc, manganese, chromium, copper, iodine, fluoride, and molybdenum. They help in boosting the immune system, maintaining blood pressure, helping in transporting oxygen, and wound healing.

Foods like nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, whole grains, dark leafy greens, seafood, low-fat meat, and dairy are rich in many of the essential minerals.

  1. Fiber

You might have heard nutritionists ramble on and on about fiber, but there are some good reasons for it. Fiber regulates bowel movement, lowers cholesterol, manages blood sugar reducing the risk of type-2diabetes, and reduces the risk of cancer.

There are two types of fiber – soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Some of the richest sources of fiber include wheat, brown rice, bran, lentils, whole grain cereals, nuts, vegetables, and fruits.

  1. Water

Water makes up to 60% of the human body. Water is present in every cell of the body. It is required to flush out toxins, maintain the health of every cell in the body, regulate body temperature, improve brain function, and for the proper functioning of every system in your body. Thus, dehydration can impair both physical and mental performance.

To remain hydrated, drink water throughout the day. Do not forget that fruits and vegetables are also a great source of water. Eat foods like cucumber, watermelon, and leafy vegetables.

You need to consume all these seven types of essential nutrients to ensure optimal health. They help in supporting vital functions, including growth, the immune, the central nervous system, and preventing disease.

Just remember that eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains is the best way to get these essential nutrients. A balanced diet with the right nutrition and in the right combination, will not only help you fuel your daily activities but also promote a lifetime of wellness.

Staff Writer; Charlotte Johnson

Health guru at heart, yet able to touch base on many topics… Feel free to hit me up at; CharlotteJ@ThyBlackMan.com.


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