Essential nutrients are those nutrients that our body needs to obtain from other sources as it cannot produce these on its own. Essential for proper growth and functioning of the body, these nutrients must form a part of our daily diet. Let us have a detailed look at these nutrients and various sources from which these can be obtained.
Vitamin A promotes healthy eyes, strengthens teeth and is good for skin, B Vitamins strengthen the immune system and help in the absorption of iron, Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen that provides structure to blood vessels, ligaments and bone, Vitamin D aids in maintaining calcium homeostasis. Similarly other Vitamins are also essential for the proper functioning of our body. Different vitamins can be obtained from different sources. For instance, carrot and sweet potato are a good source of Vitamin A, chilli pepper, banana, potato, whole grains and beans are a rich source of B Vitamins and Vitamin C can be obtained from red and green pepper, Brussels sprouts, strawberry, orange and guava.
The main structural component of the cells, protein aids in the building of body tissues as well as the repair of the ones that are damaged. Low-fat meat, eggs, beans and dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are a good source of lean protein. Since at least 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories must come from lean protein, you must ensure that you have it in adequate amount every day.
Known to be the main fuel for the brain, carbohydrates can be obtained from potato, peas, squash, banana, watermelon, whole grains, cereals, sugar and bread. Include these in your daily diet to promote your physical as well as mental health.
Sodium helps in maintaining the amount of fluid outside the cells and also aids in the proper functioning of the cells, potassium aids in maintaining the amount of fluid inside and outside the cells while calcium strengthens our teeth and bones. Similarly iron, zinc and other minerals are also essential for our body. These must thus be included in our daily diet. Legume, sweet potato, banana, nuts, celery, zucchini, oatmeal, tomato, potato, low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt are a good source of these minerals.
A great source of energy, fat helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K. The intake of full cream milk, other full-fat dairy products, high-fat meats as well as other food items rich in saturated fats must be limited while you must have more of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish, vegetable-based oils, avocados, flaxseeds, chia seeds, soya beans, nuts and walnuts are a rich source of omega-3.
Known as an essential nutrient, water supplies various nutrients to the cells, removes waste products from the body and maintains the level of homeostasis in the body. It is essential to have at least 2 to 3 litres of water every day. Apart from having plain water and other fluids, you can also have fruits and vegetables with high water-content to maintain adequate level of water in the body.