What nutrients Does Human Body Need?
The human body requires about ninety essential nutrients to function at peak performance. These include sixty minerals, sixteen vitamins, twelve amino acids, and the final two are essential fatty acids.
The body has the ability to make some vitamins but struggles to make all the necessary nutrients that the body demands. When the body is missing these important nutrients, the performance of biological processes greatly declines, and greater health issues can result.
Macronutrients include fats, protein, and carbohydrates and these all have a significant role in the balancing act of providing the body with all the nutrients it requires.
The Importance of Fat in the Human Body.
The importance of fats is something to take a moment to consider because they provide a substantial amount of nutrients for the body. Fats are the single most important nutrients required in brain function, development, and growth of neural connections. Moreover, there are two types of vitamins and they are water soluble and fat soluble. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble vitamins requiring fat molecules in order to be dispersed into the bloodstream. Because of this, it is important to consume healthy fats to ensure that fat soluble vitamins are adequately absorbed by the body.
The first type of fat worth taking a thorough look at is unsaturated fat, and these fat molecules are liquid at room temperature, like olive oil. These are the most beneficial fats because they improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, and stabilize heart rhythms. Unsaturated fats are usually found in plants, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. There are two types of unsaturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, peanut oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Polyunsaturated fatty oils are found in sunflowers, corn, soybean, flaxseed, walnuts, flaxseeds, fish, and canola oil. Omega-3’s are great examples of polyunsaturated fats and they are really important for the human body.
The other fat that must be discussed is the saturated fat, which is also considered the bad fat. All foods contain these fats but there is a poisonous amount in pizzas, cheeses, whole and reduced fat milk, butter, dairy desserts, meat products, cookies, and fast food. Eating healthy fats instead of these damaging saturated fats can help prevent all sorts of health issues.
Trans fats are the final fat that should be discussed, and they are made by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas with a catalyst. This process is called hydrogenation and it stabilizes and converts oil into a solid, which makes the newly changed oil function like margarine or shortening. They can handle repetitions of heat without ever breaking down, therefore making them ideal for fast food frying. This is the reason they are often found in restaurants and processed snacks. Trans fats are damaging to the heart, blood vessels, and the entire body because it raises the bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers the good cholesterol (HDL). It also creates widespread inflammation which usually leads to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
Some healthy sources of fat include:
- Olive oil
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
The Importance of Protein in the Human Body.
The health benefits that come from proteins include the production and function of enzymes, hormones, cellular health, and muscular health. They facilitate molecular transportation, cellular repair, regeneration, and provide structural support to the bones and skin. Protein consumption promotes strong immune defense, efficient signaling of nerves and impulses, healthy hair, and fluid levels.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that has many different supportive properties for muscles, bones, skin, hair, and virtually all the human body. They make up the enzymes that carry out many biochemical reactions required by the body such as hemoglobin production. Hemoglobin is a protein responsible for oxygenating the blood so that it can carry oxygen throughout the body. Amino acids are another important protein and are responsible for various bodily functions. They need to be carefully considered because the body has trouble storing reserves of amino acids, requiring new amino acids to be continually produced from scratch or by modifying others. There are nine essential amino acids that must come from food and these include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Some healthy sources of proteins include:
- Canned tuna
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Grass fed meats
- Most sea food
The Importance of Carbohydrates in the Human Body
Carbohydrates are important for many functions throughout the body such as the brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system. For example, fiber is a carbohydrate that aids in digestion and helps initiate the fullness feeling after consuming a meal. The body stores extra carbohydrates in the muscles and liver for use when active supply is low. A low carbohydrate diet may cause headaches, fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, constipation, bad breath, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies. They are also found in many healthy and unhealthy foods including, bread, beans, milk, potatoes, pastas, soft drinks, and just about any other packaged snack product. The most common and abundant forms are sugars, fibers, and starches, which are found in many different foods. Although carbohydrates are not necessarily required for a healthy diet, there are healthy sources of carbohydrates which include, unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans. These carbohydrates promote good health by providing the body with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients. Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. The healthier source of carbohydrates is found in vegetables and fruits, but potatoes are excluded because of the wide glycemic index associated with them. When it comes to health, weight loss, and healthy living it is best to avoid certain carbohydrates and instead focus on vegetables and fruits for the occasional carbohydrate intake.
Some examples of healthy carbohydrates include:
- Sweet potato
Micronutrients include minerals, ions, salt, phytonutrients, grains, fiber, and herbs. A well-balanced diet should consist of meals packed with micronutrients. These nutrients must be consumed consistently to provide the best possible outcome for overall diet health.
Minerals provide many supportive features for biological processes in the human body. They are often found in raw vegetables, which provide an infinite level of nutrition. It is essential that the diet consists of these minerals so that the body can operate at an optimal level. A common mineral that is found at just about any restaurant dining table is salt. Food grade salts are important to consider because table salt is stripped from many of its minerals due to processing in salt mines. Sea salt on the other hand comes from evaporated sea water, which may contain additional minerals that are not often found in table salt. This also results in the two types of salts differing in componentry, taste, and texture. A nice benefit from sea salt is that it contains 75 total minerals and many more trace elements that also help aid in many other biological processes that take place in the body, hence making it an essential mineral to consume.
Minerals that are important include:
Calcium– Calcium is very important to the human body because it regulates heartbeat, provides structure for bones, and helps support muscle and nerve function.
Magnesium– Magnesium is found in green vegetable leaves, broccoli, beets, and more.
Iron- Iron is found in broccoli, lettuce, green vegetable leaves, and more.
Potassium– Potassium is found in beets, cabbage, tomatoes, and lettuce.
Chlorine- Chlorine is found in tomatoes, celery, kale, and turnips.
Phosphorus– Phosphorus is another mineral that is important for structural components of bones, but also supports teeth, cell membranes, and energy production.
Sodium– Sodium is found in many including celery, broccoli, carrots, cabbage.
Fluorine- Fluorine is found in vegetable greens, carrots, and in some quantities in all plants.
Sulfur– Sulfur is important for the heart and for the metabolism, it is also the eighth most common element known to be found in human body. It is found in foods such as lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers.
Zinc- Zinc helps aid in metabolic processes by creating enzymes involved in metabolism.
Phytonutrients are integral in the supply of restorative and regenerative nutrients for the entire body all the way down to the cellular level. They naturally occur in plants and they provide protection from damaging environmental factors and toxins. For example, plants absorb a vast amount of UV rays, which produces free radicals that are damaging to plant cells. Free radicals bind directly to proteins, cell membranes, and DNA, causing debilitating consequences. However, these phytonutrients provide a wonderful line of defense against these cellular changes that can take place within the plant. They also benefit the human body with a similar method of defense when phytonutrient foods are consumed.
Colorful vegetables that are phytonutrient include:
Colorful fruits that are phytonutrient include:
Grains are a wonderful source of essential mineral minerals like iron, magnesium, and selenium. Iron is a very important mineral because it is used to transport and regulate oxygen levels into the blood. These levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are extremely important for every system in the human body. Magnesium is a special mineral that is absorbed in the body for muscle contractions and for the balance of energy production. Meanwhile, selenium is an antioxidant that fights off free radicals, thus preventing the possibility of severe health consequences. The incorporation of grains is a large part of consuming healthy and nutritious meals. It is recommended to consume grains regularly.
Good sources of Grains include:
- Brown rice
Fiber is another meaningful source of dietary nutrients and can be found in all sorts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. As a natural dietary aide, fiber will greatly improve constipation and irregular bowl movements. These benefits have direct and impactful support for weight management, lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. The reason fiber has such a beneficial effect on the digestive system is because the body is unable to digest fiber. This creates a digestive process that keeps food fully intact while passing through the stomach, small intestine, and colon for excretion. There are two forms of fiber that require some discussion and they are soluble and insoluble fibers. The soluble fiber dissolves well in water and converts to form a gel-like material, which is shown to lower cholesterol and glucose levels. On the other hand, insoluble fiber, which cannot be digested or dissolved promotes the movement of food through the digestive system. In addition to the support in movement of food through the digestive system, this insoluble fiber also creates a bulking effect to increase the mass of stool for more efficient excretion.
Good sources of fiber include:
- Chia seeds
- Whole wheat pasta
- Sweet potatoes
Herbs are just as important to a healthy diet as the main essential dietary nutrients required by the body to carry out biological processes. Herbs have unique properties that aid in supplemental features to improve biological processes, especially in areas where an imbalance may be found. Each type of herb has their own specific effect on biological processes. A list of beneficial herbs and their functions are listed below.
Turmeric – Turmeric is considered one of the most effective nutritional supplements in existence because there are many high-quality studies that show it has major benefits for the body and brain. Turmeric contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties such as curcumin.
Curcumin– Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects on the body and is an extremely strong antioxidant. Curcumin may also help reduce the rate of aging and aid with age related chronic illnesses because of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that it exhibits. Something to note is that curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, but black pepper will help the curcumin absorption. The absorption of curcumin should lower the risk of heart disease, as well as help prevent and treat all types of cancer.
Dandelion tea– Dandelion tea aids in weight loss, detoxifies the body, prevents chronic diseases, builds strong bones, boosts circulation, balances blood sugar, improves digestion, reduces inflammation, prevents UTIs, and improves overall health.
Stinging nettle root– Stinging nettle root is a perennial flowering plant that has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It’s best recognized due to the stinging like reaction that occurs when the skin encounters the fine stinging trichome hairs, which are located on the leaves and stem. When processed and used medicinally, stinging nettle provides a plethora of health benefits, making it a valuable herb to introduce into a natural method of internal healing. These healing benefits include helping with osteoarthritis and joint pain, histamine production, control of blood loss during surgeries, and even regulation of skin ailments like eczema.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon consists of high levels of antioxidant value and it has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels. It has also been used to alleviate nausea, increase sensitivity to insulin, and aid in fat burning for targeted weight loss. Uniquely, cinnamon presents antimicrobial properties for the body which could help extend the shelf life of food.
Basil– Basil has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and can also help prevent joint like aliments like osteoarthritis. It has been used as a supplement for digestive disorders and is currently being studied for cancer fighting properties.
Arrowroot – Arrowroot is soothing and highly digestible making it a wonderful addition to incorporate into a digestive support regimen.
Garlic– Garlic is important to eat daily and is directly linked to helping prevent heart disease, stroke, cancer, and various types of infections. It also helps with high blood pressure by regulating dilation, and supports the immune systems to fight colds, infections, hair loss, and has even been shown to improve dementia.
Dill weed seed– Dill has antibacterial properties which supports the immune system, but more specifically it supports stomach pain symptoms. This can provide some explanation to the cravings that pregnant women experience when they crave pickles, essentially what they are experiencing is some stomach pain. It contains a variety of nutrients but loses most of them when it is heated to temperatures that are too high, so it is recommended to use dill in uncooked or low heat recipes.
Cayenne– Cayenne has many health benefits that improves the body absorption of other nutrients in foods that are eaten. It has also been shown to increase blood circulation and reduce the risk of heart problems by providing this circulation support.
Mint– Mint has been used for many years, traditionally it is used to calm digestive troubles and alleviate nausea symptoms.
Oregano– Oregano can provide antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer and antibiotic like effects for the body. It is tremendously high in antioxidants and has demonstrated antimicrobial properties against foodborne pathogens like listeria, which have grave consequences if one falls ill from infection. The oil it produces along with the leaves are used medicinally in the treatment of coughs, fever, congestion, body aches, and general illness. The combination of oregano with basil, garlic, marjoram, thyme and rosemary, creates a potent antiviral, anti-bacterial, antimicrobial and cancer fighting blend.
Cumin– Cumin promotes and regulates digestion, boosts immunity, provides iron, boosts immunity, controls asthma, aids in healing bronchitis, promotes better sleep, reduces the chance of acquiring diabetes, lowers cholesterol, prevents anemia, treats boils, fights the common cold, treats diarrhea, increases lactation, and it even has the potential to improve one’s memory.
Rosemary– Rosemary contains a valuable antioxidant carnosol, carnosol shows to have benefits in cancer treatment plans, and fortifies healthy digestion and cholesterol maintenance. It has a pine and lemon scent which is a nice organic way of adding scent to a homemade soap. This provides support with slowing down the ageing process by rejuvenating small blood vessels to increase cellular regeneration and reproduction.
Fennel– Fennel has many different beneficial properties that help the body maintain balance like aiding in digestion, reducing water retention, lowering obesity, protecting against cancers, relieving mensuration troubles, treating respiratory illnesses, preventing cardiac disease, promotion of eye health, improves memory, and brain function.
Ginger– Ginger is another treatment for nausea, morning sickness, muscle pain, and helps with osteoarthritis by releasing anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body.
Chamomile – Chamomile has some great benefits for stomach cramps, insomnia, migraine treatment, IBS, menstrual cramps, allergies, and rashes. It also helps heal stomach ulcers, skin inflammation, dark circles, diabetes, and could be applied as a skin moisturizer for homemade creams.
Aloe Vera- Aloe Vera is packed with vitamins and minerals and it’s high in amino acids and fatty acids, which provide strong support for digestion and detoxification. It also helps keep the body more alkaline, which boosts immune health, skin cell regeneration, anti-microbial care, and antifungal treatment.