Essential nutrients are compounds that the body canít make or canít make in sufficient quantity. According to the World Health Organization, these nutrients must come from food, and theyíre vital for disease prevention, growth, and good health.
Hereís six main groups of essential nutrients:
1. Protein provides the building blocks of the body, and not just for muscle. Every cell, from bone to skin to hair, contains protein. Protein is used primarily for growth, health, and body maintenance. All hormones, antibodies, and other important substances are composed of protein.
2. Carbohydrates fuel your body, especially your central nervous system and brain. According to the Mayo Clinic, carbohydrates help protect your body against disease.
3. Fats often get a bad rap, but recent research has shown that healthy fats are an important part of a healthy diet. According to the Harvard Medical School, fat supports many of your bodyís functions, such as vitamin and mineral absorption, blood clotting, building cells, and muscle development.
4. Vitamins are vital for fighting off disease and staying healthy. Unfortunately, many Americans do not get enough of many essential vitamins. Vitamins are essential for healthy vision, skin, and bones.
5. Minerals help build strong bones and teeth, regulate your metabolism, and help you stay hydrated. Some of the most common minerals are calcium, iron, and zinc.
6. Water is absolutely crucial for every system in your body. Approximately 62% of your body weight is water. Water improves brain function and mood. Water helps flush out toxins, carry nutrients to cells, hydrate the body, and prevent constipation.
Remember, essential nutrients are vital for your body to function normally and stay healthy. Strive to get your essential nutrients into your diet by eating fruits, veggies, healthy proteins, fats, and whole grains.