The 6 Essential Nutrients and How You Can Get Them Everyday

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The Oxford Dictionary defines a nutrient as a substance that provides nourishment that is essential for the growth and maintenance of life. However, when many people think of nutrients, they often think of various dietary supplements and vitamin pills. Taking supplements isn’t necessary, as you can naturally implement nutrients into your daily meals so that your body can absorb what it needs to stay healthy and vibrant.

Here are the six nutrients that doctors and nutritionists around the world have deemed essential for prime health and how you can incorporate them into your diet:

Protein

Protein is one of the most important nutrients for your body because every cell needs it to function properly. It helps your body fight infection, rebuild tissue, and ensures the growth and development of your muscles, hair, and skin. 

Protein-rich foods that you can easily find are:

  • Red meats
  • Poultry (such as chicken and turkey)
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Nuts
  • Some grains (such as quinoa)

Carbohydrates

When many individuals say they are going on a “no-carb diet,” they often mean that they are cutting simple carbohydrates, such as white bread and pasta, from their daily life. However, while simple carbohydrates are not always necessary, your body needs complex carbohydrates to support your immune system, brain function, nervous system, and energy levels.

Here are some foods rich in complex carbohydrates that your body will love just as much as you do:

  • Brown rice
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains (pasta, bread, etc.)
  • Fruits
  • Oatmeal 
  • Barley 

Fats

When you hear the word “fats,” you probably wonder why they are an essential nutrient for your body and likely even associate fat with unhealthy eating. Fats that are not saturated or trans fats are actually extremely helpful and necessary for cell growth, muscle movement, balancing blood sugar levels, brain function, vitamin absorption, and reducing risk of heart disease. 

Here are some healthy and beneficial fat-rich foods for your everyday diet:

  • Nuts
  • Fish (such as salmon or tuna)
  • Coconut and vegetable oil
  • Seeds 
  • Dark chocolate
  • Avocados

Vitamins

There are many vitamins that physicians suggest you get throughout the day, and it may seem impossible to get in all of them. But no need to worry, as there are many non-pill ways to get in your daily vitamins. You may know that you can get Vitamin D out in the sun, and with a balanced diet, it is easy for you to get the suggested amount of all vitamins each day. These vitamins help strengthen your bones, maintain healthy skin, boost your metabolism, and aid in brain function. 

Here are a few food options that contain the vitamins you need:

Minerals

To get in your essential minerals, you don’t always need dietary supplements because many foods contain them naturally. The two types of minerals are: major minerals and trace minerals, and your body needs both to have strong bones, healthy skin, balanced water levels, and more.

These are some foods that are high in both trace and major minerals to include in your diet:

  • Poultry
  • Whole grains
  • Egg yolks
  • Beans
  • Fruits
  • Dairy products
  • Seafood

Water

While humans can go a bit without food, they will only survive a few days without the consumption of water, making it one of the most important nutrients. Since up to 60 percent of your body is made up of water, every cell needs it to survive. Along with hydration, water helps with flushing toxins out of your body, transporting nutrients, and preventing constipation. 

It is recommended that you drink 3 liters of unsweetened bottled or tap water every day, but if you feel as if you need more flavor, a slice of lemon will make your water even more tasty and beneficial for your body.

In addition to drinking water, here a few fruits and vegetables that contain water within them: 

  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Oranges
  • Tomatoes

If you would like to calculate your suggested amount of nutrients everyday based on your age and gender, go to the Daily Nutrient Requirements Calculator and also see a medical professional if you feel as if you are still not getting your essential nutrients.

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