Our bodies are made up of a lot of things, and a lot of the essential nutrients we need to live can be found in our bodies. However there are also several nutrients that are not naturally produced by our bodies. Either way, we need to consume an adequate amount of them to stay healthy, and even to stay alive. Here are 6 Important Nutrients That You Can’t Live Without!
Our bodies are over 60% water, and it is the most essential nutrient for us to live; fair enough, some people don’t like water but it’s absolutely necessary. Drinking water provides a variety of benefits, with hydration being the most notable one. All of our organs, joints, and even bones need water to function properly.
Water also regulates body temperature, allowing us to be more tolerant to heat when we’re outside in the sun. It also helps to flush out toxins and waste.
Many people struggle with drinking enough water every day. A general rule of thumb is to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, but you should try to drink your weight in ounces.
This is challenging for a lot of people, so what some do is create infused water. Infused water is when you put citrus fruits, herbs, cucumber, or even berries into the water for 24 hours. This not only adds flavor to the water, but it also adds the nutrients of whatever’s infused into it.
In addition to water, our bodies also need energy to survive. It’s one of the three main macronutrients and the brain’s chief source of energy. Our bodies break carbohydrates down into glucose, which is then used to help circulate blood through the entire body.
Sometimes carbs get a bad rep about being a blocker to losing weight. This isn’t true, as we need about half (give or take) of our calories consumed on a daily basis to be carbohydrates.
The best source of carbs are whole grains, brown rice, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
Protein is another macronutrient, and its main function is to build and repair muscle tissue. It mainly helps to build lean muscle and helps to prevent muscle loss.
It’s another source of energy for the body, and the amino acids it consists of also helps the bones, skin, and hair. Our bodies need 20 amino acids, but only 9 (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, and tryptophan) are considered to be essential.
The best protein sources are thought to typically come from meat, but there are other plant sources for vegetarians and vegans. Chia seeds contain all 9 essential amino acids, so they make a good substitute for meat. Also, chickpeas, quinoa, peanut butter, black beans, and almonds are all great sources of plant-based protein.
Like carbs, fats have been given a bad name due to…well, causing fat. However, it’s the third macronutrient that our bodies need to survive. When carbs aren’t available, the body relies on fat for energy. There’s no doubt that many (saturated) fats are bad, but our body still needs good fat.
We should limit our intake of saturated fats, and increase our intake of the healthy, unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.
Fat is also important when it comes to vitamins. Most vitamins are fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K), so fats are necessary in order to absorb these vitamins. The other vitamins (vitamin C and the B vitamins) are water-soluble.
5. & 6. Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are usually grouped together because they work synergistically. This means that they work best when consumed together.
For example, vitamin C (known to be a great antioxidant) helps the body to absorb the mineral, iron, more efficiently.
In the same way, both vitamins D and K help with the absorption of the mineral, calcium. Luckily calcium and vitamins D and K almost always occur naturally in the same foods.
Eating a balanced diet can help reduce the risk of developing illnesses, both serious and minor. It’s also important to not overeat, which can also cause issues such as becoming overweight, heartburn, and acid reflux.
Unfortunately, popular heartburn medications have been recalled due to causing serious illnesses, and eating properly can help prevent the need for certain OTC medications.
When trying to eat healthily, just remember these six essential nutrients that your body can’t function without. Remember to drink water as often as you can, choose complex carbohydrates over simple ones, stick to healthy fats, and eat a varied diet of whole grains, protein, fruit, and vegetables to make sure you consume all vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids.