For a healthy life, it is good to know about the nutrients (Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates, etc) of the food. It will help you to choose healthy food items which will provide you the essential nutrients. Every person needs each nutrient in a specific amount; therefore, it is better to learn about the nutrients and their sources. Some food contains excess an amount of certain nutrients. To be healthy you should never exceed the required amount of nutrients. For example, if you consume a lot of fatty items then you’ll become overweight soon. In contrast, the deficiency of certain nutrients can create health problems. For example, if you have calcium deficiency then it can lead to pain in bones. But, if you know which food contains what and what you need at the moment then you will remain healthy and fit. Today we will discuss the nutrients of the food.
Types of Nutrients
Nutrients are majorly classified into two types, which are,
Macronutrients are such nutrients which are required by the body in a large amount. The amount of these nutrients is large, and we need these to survive. Food items have macronutrients in a large amount and almost every food item contains these macronutrients. These nutrients provide energy, helps to grow and repair our body, and carry other life processes.
Macronutrients consist of four basic components, which are,
Carbohydrates contain carbon and hydrogen. These are the energy sources that are essential for body organs to work. Carbohydrates are broken converted into glucose which provides energy and the unused glucose is turned into fats for later use. Glucose is used by cells and tissues to perform their function. A person should take 45-65% of daily calories from carbohydrates. Excess intake of carbohydrates can lead to obesity. One gram of carbohydrates provides 4 calories.
Carbohydrates are found in almost every food. The carbohydrate-rich food items are potatoes, wheat, sugarcane, honey, rice, maize, pulses, apple, and banana, etc.
Proteins are the essential source of amino acids which are necessary for cell activities. They are essential for growth, tissue repair, immune system and the production of hormones. 10-35% of daily calories should come from proteins. Most of the cell structure including cell membrane is made of proteins. Our body needs 20 amino acids and 11 of them can be made by the body but 9 are essential. Essential amino acids are only present in food and they cannot be prepared by our body. Muscles are made up of proteins and bodybuilders need protein for the growth of their muscles. It gives 4 calories for each gram.
The rich source of protein is the chicken breast, fish, dairy products, beans, egg, and pulses, etc.
Fats are the most energy dense nutrient. They provide 9 calories per gram which are more than twice the energy as compared to proteins and carbohydrates. It provides fatty acids which are essential for the production of new cells. The excess amount of glucose is saved in the form of fat and it can be used during days of starvation or when there is a deficiency of carbohydrates. There is a misconception about fats that they are not good for health and many people avoid them. Fats are very essential for good health, although an excessive amount of fat is bad for health. We should take 15-20% of the daily calories from fats.
Fats rich foods are dairy products, meat, nuts, fish, cheese and avocado, etc.
Water is the energy less macronutrient, but it is still an important nutrient. We need water more than any other fluid. A person can live without solid food for weeks but cannot live without water for a few days. It is necessary for essential body processes such as excretion through urine and sweat. It is necessary for the metabolism of our body. Nearly 60% of our body weight is due to water. An average adult male should take 3.7 liters and an average female should take 2.7 liters of water per day.
Micronutrients are nutrients that are required in a small amount by our bodies. They do not provide energy, but they are necessary for some chemical reactions occurring in our bodies. There are two types of micronutrients which are,
Vitamins help the body to grow and function properly. There are 13 vitamins. Vitamins need to be taken from food. Our body produces a very small amount of vitamin D and B3. Some vitamins are water soluble and some are fat soluble. Each vitamin has a specific job to do.
Vitamin A: It is necessary for healthy skin. Its deficiency can cause night-blindness and dry cornea.
Vitamin B: There are types of vitamin B which are B1, B2 (Riboflavin), B3, B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (Biotin), B9 and B12 (Cobalamin). Some of them are essential to derive energy from food.
Vitamin C: It helps to make collagen and it acts as an antioxidant. Its deficiency can cause anemia.
Vitamin D: Makes teeth and bones strong. Its deficiency can cause softening of bones.
Vitamin E: It acts as an antioxidant and protects vitamin A from damage.
Vitamin K: It is necessary for blood clotting.
Minerals help in carrying the body processes. These are very useful, and each mineral has a particular function. The minerals present in the body are Calcium, Iron, Iodine, Fluoride, Magnesium, Potassium, Sulphur, Zinc, Sodium, Selenium, Phosphorus, Molybdenum, Manganese, Copper, Chloride and Chromium.
Calcium: It makes your bones and teeth strong. It helps in the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
Iron: It is necessary for making amino acids and collagen. It helps hemoglobin to carry oxygen to different parts of the body.
Zinc: It is necessary for the immune system and wound healing. It takes part in the making of new cells and enzymes.
Potassium: It is good for bones and it maintains a normal heartbeat.
Iodine: It helps in making thyroid hormones.
Magnesium: Converts food into energy.
Copper: Helps to produce red blood cells.
It is necessary to know about the nutrients of the food. It will help you to remain healthy and fit. For a healthy life, we need these nutrients. An excess and shortage of these nutrients can cause health problems. It’s better to know what you are eating and what is healthy for you. Enjoy healthy and happy life!