What are 6 essential nutrients and why do we need them?

We’ve all seen the slogans advertised on food packaging: “packed with nutrients”, “high in vitamins” or “low carbohydrates”. But what do these claims actually mean?

The experts at House Call Doctor are breaking down the six essential nutrients, why we need them and which foods we can eat to get them.

What are nutrients?

Our bodies need 6 essential nutrients to function properly. Nutrients are found in foods and are essential to our health. The six major nutrients are:

  • carbohydrates
  • lipids/fats
  • proteins
  • vitamins
  • minerals

Why do we need them?

  • Carbohydrates are necessary to remain healthy. They help protect your nervous system against disease.
  • Lipids, or more commonly known as fats, are an important source of energy for your body.
  • Every cell contains protein. It is used for growth, health and body maintenance.
  • The body needs vitamins to function properly, and they are vital in staying healthy and warding off disease.
  • Minerals help support the body and are essential for building strong bones, teeth, regulating metabolism and staying hydrated.
  • 62% of our body is made up of water. Water is crucial for every system in the body and improves your brain function, and mood.

What foods are they in?

  • Carbohydrates are in pasta, rice, cereals, breads, and potatoes.
  • Lipids are in oils, butter, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, olives and seafood.
  • Proteins are found in meat, dairy, legumes, nuts, eggs and seafood.
  • Vitamins are found in fruits and vegetables, grains and dairy. There are a number of different vitamins.
  • All foods contain some sort of minerals. Minerals include sodium, calcium, iron, iodine and magnesium.
  • Water is a component of various foods such as spinach and watermelon, in addition to the beverage.

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