These days, it seems like there is a surplus of health and nutritional information out there. From diet and weight loss ads to commercials for so-called “superfoods”, it seems that today there are far more options to get healthy than there were years ago. But how accurate is all of this information? Do we really need to take multivitamins or drink healthy smoothies to keep our bodies running? Today let’s look at what are known as essential nutrients, and what they mean for your health. Essential nutrients are products that your body cannot produce on its own but need for continued survival. There are six essential nutrients, as listed below.
A while back, carbohydrates started to get a bad rap. Diets like Atkins demonized carbs to the point where it was believed that a low-carb diet was the only way to lose weight. Unfortunately, however, this essential nutrient is far more important than most people realize. Carbs are what gives your brain and your body energy. Without carbohydrates, our brains would start to shut down.
Ask any bodybuilder what he or she takes to build muscle, and they will immediately tell you protein. But what is protein and how does it work? Simply put, this essential nutrient is the building block of your cells and helps regenerate damaged tissue. Protein is made of amino acids. There are 20 total amino acids, but your body can only produce 11 of them. The other nine must come from lean protein sources.
Ask any dieter what they try to avoid, and fat will be the number one answer, bar none. However, fat is an essential nutrient your body needs to survive. Not only does fat help provide energy, but it also helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, K, and D. The biggest danger is from saturated fat, which is much harder to break down.
The four primary minerals that your body needs in constant supply are salt, calcium, iron, and potassium. Salt helps regulate fluid levels in your cells, calcium helps repair and strengthen your bones, and potassium not only helps fluid levels as well but can prevent high blood pressure from excessive salt intake. Iron will help keep your blood and muscle tissue in working order.
The difference between a vitamin and a mineral is that a vitamin is absorbed into your body and broken down, whereas a mineral maintains its cellular structure. The three necessary vitamins you need in your diet are A, C, and D. A helps with growth development, C helps with immunity, and vitamin D helps your bones. These essential nutrients will keep your body in top shape.
Although our bodies are over 70% water, we do not produce it ourselves. Thus, water is an essential nutrient to keep ourselves in working order. Water helps with all functions of your body, from your brain working to cell development to keeping your digestive system in check. Simply put, without water, we will die. This is by far the most essential nutrient in any diet.
Adam & Amanda
We have spent most of our adult lives training and guiding thousands of people toward better health & fitness. We have created this A4 Blog in order to better educate our friends & members. We will answer any of your health / fitness / nutrition questions as well as keeping you posted on what's new at A4.