Nutrients are the building blocks of our body providing us with form and energy. It leads to various chemical reactions in our body supporting life. These bio-supporters are categorized into 6 essential nutrients. In this post let us do little deep-diving into what are these nutrients and how they are categorized in a simplified way.
We have often read or heard the term nutrients in our everyday lives. However, this term is grossly misunderstood and not known by the wider public. It is simple categorization of our everyday food intake yet secured in medical literature only. My exploration on the subject has encouraged me to share my learning on nutrients here.
Treat the information below as “good to know” for most of the audience without getting into further complications. I am sharing this information so that you can appreciate the kind of nutrients in your daily intake or the lack of it.
Building blocks of our body
As we all know that nutrients are “food” for our body. Being fed with these nutrients means we maintain our form, health and well-being. Any deficiency of these nutrients is termed “malnutrition” where the word implies a lack of such nutrients. Brought this in as we can easily relate to what malnutrition means.
Many of us would have heard and read a number of articles on nutrients – in newspapers and magazines, blogs, MLM companies. However, it might be am “Aha!” moment when learning in greater details about them. Most information will be known previously but I am bet that you are unlikely to have come across such consolidated knowledge.
Probably the most surprising is that nutrients “are” the building blocks of our body. All the 6 essential nutrients are the formation blocks of each and every human body – a great leveler in terms of race or creed. We are all the same there. These are further categorized into Macro nutrients and Micro nutrients – based on the size of intake in the body.
You guess it rights – the bulk of our intake
consists of carbohydrates, lipids also known as fats and proteins. These are termed as macro nutrients. The nomenclature is self-explanatory and is due to bulk intake besides water. Remember that water is not a macro nutrient of the 6 essentials nutrients.
The common food where we find macro nutrients are as follows:
- Carbohydrates – Common food items which form the bulk of our food are carbohydrates. Imagine cereals – wheat, rice, barley. They form bulk of our staple food be any region of the world. Besides cereals, potato, and sugar are also few indicative good sources.
- Lipids – The most common lipids are vegetable oils and butter. Besides nuts and seeds are good sources of lipids.
- Proteins – They are the building blocks of muscles in our body. Meat, legumes or pulses, egg, milk are rich sources of protein.
Macro Nutrients form the bulk of our muscles and give form to our body. Therefore, it is essential to keep a strict watch on the intake of macro-nutrients to keep your body form fit and fine.
The Vitamins and minerals are the other two which finds mention for first time here out of the 6 essential nutrients. Water is categorized as micro nutrients as well as it contains nutrients in micro quantities. Although the intake is small, these play a vital role in building and strengthening the body. Think about lack of vitamins in our body causing a number of ailments. Mostly, the lack of nutrients is mostly focused upon lack of vitamins and minerals.
The common food items which are rich sources of vitamins and minerals are as follows:
- Vitamins – Fruits and vegetables are good source of Vitamin C and A and folic acid. Milk being a great source of Vitamin K. Egg yolk is a great source of Vitamin A, D and E.
- Minerals – Our body devours a number of minerals. The minerals of interest are sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and iodine. Can you name a few food sources of these minerals? Do leave your comments on the topic below. As a starting point milk and dairy products are great sources of calcium and magnesium.
We typically speak of lack of nutrients with respect to micro-nutrients. Even if taken in smaller quantities, they support various functions of our body. Lack of any of the micro-nutrients causes serious damage to our normal body functioning and we start looking unhealthy. Hence, it is of prime importance to include the essential micro nutrients in our daily intake of food to lead a life of wellness.
6 Essential Nutrient – And one more
A late but important addition to this list is Omega-3 Fatty Acid. This is categorized as a separate nutrient class altogether. It is most abundantly found in Seafood. Cod-lever oil are extremely good source of Omega-3 Fatty Acid. For plant sources, Flax Seed and Walnuts rank high being rich sources of this nutrient.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid is considered an essential building block in our body. However, it is scarce to find except in special food like the one mentioned above. This is different from the other five essential nutrients as all of them are made available in nature from our immediate surroundings. Besides, its effect on maintaining youth and vigor and specially keeping a healthy heart is well-known.
The importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acid is no lesser than the other five. Hence, when you are calculating your daily intake of nutrients, do not forget to include this important source.
Consider this post as a starter in understanding the essential nutrients. These have to be taken every day by our body in order to maintain good health and wellness. However, there are several inhibitors holding up the body in deriving maximum benefits. Be it high stress levels or undisciplined intake of food or alcoholism and smoking. A life full of wellness is highly dependent on these nutrients being fed properly to the body.
Hope this would have directed your focus on the various nutrients needed by our body. I recommended to start observing them better in your daily food intake. Do leave your comments below on your observations.