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Seven Essential Nutrients

Seven Essential Nutrients

We need seven different nutrients to keep our minds and bodies functioning correctly, which we get from our food.

Protein

Protein is a macronutrient that makes up around 20% of our weight. It’s a “building block” that allows our bodies to do the following key processes:

  • Build new cells
  • Repair damaged cells
  • Oxygenate us
  •  Aid digestion
  • Regulate our hormones

Carbohydrates

Carbs are a quick source of energy that power our cells. Our body breaks them down into glucose, which enters our cells with the help of insulin, and provides us with energy. Too many carbs can be stored as fat, and also cause insulin resistance which leads to hunger cravings. There are two types of carbs:

Sugar (simple carbs) — these are a quick source of energy, but can damage our metabolism over time, and make us unhealthy.

Starch (complex carbs) — starch is made up of longer chains of glucose, so takes more time for your body to break down, which provides a slower release of energy. They also contain fibre, which aids digestion.

Fibre

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that is critical for helping us to digest our food. There are two types of fibre:

Soluble fibre — this type of fibre dissolves in water, and creates a gel-like substance that improves digestion.

Insoluble fibre — this type of fibre attracts water to your stool, which creates a healthier bowel, and may even reduce your risk of diabetes.

Fats

Fats can also provide us with energy, and help us to absorb vitamins, build cell membranes, allow our muscles to move, and our blood to clot. They also aid inflammation (as part of our body`s natural defence). There are four main types of fat:

Saturated fat — these fats can have many benefits to your health, including increased energy, improved bone health, better lung health, and even reducing cholesterol levels.

Trans fats — these are terrible for our heart health. They’re found in many fast foods, baked goods, and other low-quality food sources.

Monounsaturated fats — these are one of the healthiest fats, with anti-inflammatory properties, and promotion of cell growth and repair. They’re found in foods such as avocados, olive oil, and macadamias.

Polyunsaturated fats — this type of fat is ok in moderation, but a balance must be struck between these and monounsaturated fats. They’re commonly found in oils such as soy, and sunflower.

Minerals

Minerals are micronutrients that support the body’s functions, such as your metabolism, bones, heart, inflammatory response, and staying well-hydrated. Minerals-rich foods include seafood, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, whole wheat foods, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, and more.

Vitamins

Vitamins are also micronutrients that support our body’s functions, and help to prevent disease. They promote eye health, skin health, and bone health, boost our immune system, and might also lower our risk for certain cancers.

Water

Water is our last essential nutrient. It’s critical for a considerable number of reasons—body temperature regulation, digestion, removing toxins, reducing inflammation, protecting our tissues, helping us absorb nutrients, and much more.

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