Nutrients - 6 Essentials

All foods contain nutrients. We eat food to give us energy as well as to obtain these nutrients which perform various important functions in our body. Most often, when people go on a diet, they overlook this fact and feel that no matter what they eat, as long as they get some energy that is enough. Therefore, we have people who go on diets consisting only of fruits, vegetables, juices, soups, idlis, etc. This is dangerous for the body as there are many nutrients which are essential every day and deficiency of these results in hair fall, bone and teeth damage, poor blood functioning (anemia), muscular weakness, sagging and wrinkling of skin and an overall deterioration of health and fitness.

 A ‘Nutrient’ is a substance obtained from food.
 There are six classes of nutrients
 Water  Makes up 60% of the body.
 Minerals  Important for teeth, bones and blood.
 Vitamins   Important for many vital processes of the  body.
 Carbohydrates  Energizer - Keeps your body vigorous and  active.
 Proteins  Body builder - building blocks of the body,  important for growth, maintenance and repair.
 Fats  Reserve Fuel - Provides energy but excess of it  gets converted to body fat.

Providing a proper balanced supply of these nutrients ensures the smooth and efficient running of my body. Providing water, oil and petrol ensures the smooth and efficient running of my car. Water, minerals and vitamins do not give us any energy but play crucial roles in the efficient functioning of my body. If I don’t oil the hinges of my door it will still open and shut but it will creak. If oiled, it functions smoothly. Minerals and vitamins are the oil in the machinery of my body to keep it running smoothly. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats, all provide the petrol or fuel.

Minerals and Vitamins do not supply energy or calories but they play an important role in the regulation of several essential processes of the body. E.g. The mineral calcium is important for proper muscle contractions so that our heart beats properly and our limbs move easily. It also makes up our teeth and bones and it is essential that it is supplied through our daily diet, from birth to death.

Iron is necessary for oxygen to be properly carried from our lungs to all parts of the body. Iron from the food goes into the blood to make up haemoglobin (Hb), which is the oxygen lorry of the body. If your haemoglobin count is 10 instead of 12 it is like saying you have only 10,000 lorries instead of 12,000. Your oxygen supply to the whole body is less and you will feel tired and weak. This is called Iron deficiency anaemia. Sodium and potassium are also minerals essential for the water or fluid balance of the body.

Similarly, we see that vitamins also play important roles. If we have calcium in the diet but do not have enough Vit D the calcium will not be absorbed properly. If we have enough iron coming from our food but not enough Vit B and C then the iron cannot be absorbed fully.

Most of the minerals and vitamins are required in small amounts but are required every day. They can be easily obtained from food if one condition and principal is strongly followed. EAT A BALANCED DIET EVERYDAY AND NEVER MISS A MEAL. This means that we should eat three meals a day and all the three meals should be Carbohydrate plus Protein balanced meals. In this system there is no place for Keto Diet or Intermittent Fasting which later on can lead to various deficiencies and damages in the body.

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