We often hear about nutrients but do we actually know what they are?
Nutrients are the essential compounds that the body needs in order to stay healthy. Nutrients must come from food and they’re vital for helping our body repair and grow, providing us with energy and also preventing disease.
Nutrients are broken down into 2 categories- Macronutrients & Micronutrients.
Macronutrients are the essential building blocks of our diet and are consumed in large amounts. These include protein, carbohydrates and fat, which provide your body with energy. Micronutirients come from vitamins and minerals and are consumed in small doses. However, their impact on the body’s health is critical, and deficiency in any of them can cause severe and even life-threatening conditions.
There are six main groups of essential micronutrients and macronutrients.
1.) Protein–Your body needs protein to help fuel energy and carry oxygen throughout your body. It is essential for keeping the muscles, bones, hormones and tissue in your body healthy and functioning properly.
2.) Carbohydrates – Good complex whole carbohydrates fuel your body with energy. They are also high in fibre, metabolism boosting and can help you feel fuller longer.
3.) Fats– Healthy fats help to aid hormone function, protect your heart, your memory and the absorption of specific nutrients.
4.) Vitamins– Our bodies rely on vitamins to function properly, ward of disease and to stay healthy. There are 13 essential vitamins that the body needs to function properly, including vitamins A, C, B6, and D.
5.) Minerals – Minerals are crucial for many body functions, including building strong bones and teeth, regulating your metabolism and staying properly hydrated. Some of the most common minerals are calcium, iron, and zinc.
6.) Water –Water is crucial for the functionality of every system in your body including your heart, brain and kidneys. It also helps flush out toxins, carry nutrients to cells and hydrate your body.
The best way to ensure you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs, is through a varied diet with plenty of fruits & vegetables, healthy proteins, fats and whole grains.