why do we need nutrients in our body
The dictionary definition of nutrient is something that provides nourishment, which is a broad definition. But in the field ofPnutrition and diet, nutrients are more specific. In fact, there are six specificPcategories of nutrients, all of which are necessary to sustain life:
Humans like to put things into categories because it s easy to remember what they do and we can compare and contrast them with other things. In nutrition, we often group nutrients by size or what they do in the body. We start with two groups, micronutrients and macronutrients (water is usually left alone in its own group). Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are calledP macronutrients because they re large, andP energy nutrients Pbecause they provide the fuel your body needs to do things. Vitamins and minerals are calledP micronutrients Pbecause they re much smaller in comparison. That doesn t mean they re less important; they re still essential nutrients, but you only need little bits. Micronutrients can be classified by whether they re soluble in fat or soluble in water.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K areP fat-soluble, and the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C areP water-soluble. Minerals are grouped asP major minerals PorP trace minerals, depending upon how much of each mineral is necessary. You can also group nutrients by whether or not theyPare organic, by which we meanPorganic chemistry, notP. Water and minerals are inorganic while all the rest are organic because they contain carbon atoms. They provide energy. P, fats, and proteins provide the energy your body needs to carry out all the biochemical reactions that occur throughout the day (and night). The energy is measured in calories (kilocalories, technically, but we usually just call them calories). Gram for gram, fat has more calories than either carbohydrates or protein; one gram fat has nine calories, and the other two have four calories per gram. They re necessary for body structures. PFats, proteins, and minerals are used as raw materials to build and maintain tissues, organs and other structures such asPbones and teeth.
Carbohydrates aren t on this list, but your body can take any extra carbohydrates and convert them into fat, which can bePstored in adipose tissue. They help regulate body functions. PAll six classes are involved in regulating various body functions such as sweating, temperature, metabolism, blood pressure, thyroid function, along with many others. When all of the different functions are in balance, your body is said to be inPhomeostasis. Not Quite Nutrients, But Still Important You might have read aboutP phytonutrients, which aren t included in the major classes. That s probably because they re fairly new in the world of nutrition research and aren t essential for survival. Phytonutrients are chemical compounds found in plants that offer potential health benefits. Since they typically occur in foods that are also nutritious, it can be difficult to know how much of the health benefit is due to the regular nutrients or the phytonutrients.
Some better-known phytonutrients includeP PandPcarotenoids. Fiber Pis a type of carbohydrate that your body can t digest so it doesn t provide energy or structure. Fiber is necessary forP Pfunction because it adds bulk to stool, so it is easier to eliminate. There are two types of fiber:P soluble fiber Pthat dissolves in water andP insoluble fiber Pthat doesn t dissolve. Gropper, Sareen Annora Stepnick, et al. P Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Australia, Cengage Learning, 2018. Smolin LA, Grosvenor, MB. Nutrition: Science and Applications. Third Edition. Wiley Publishing Company, 2013. P Protein is having its moment, and not just in the workout community. But all of the hype is for a good reason. Protein is essential for good health. Protein provides the building blocks of the body, and not just for muscle. Every cell, from bone to skin to hair, contains protein. A startling of the average personвs body weight is from protein. Protein is used primarily for growth, health, and body maintenance.
All of your hormones, antibodies, and other important substances are composed of protein. Protein is not used to fuel the body unless necessary. Proteins are made of up different amino acids. While the body can create some amino acids on its own, there are many essential amino acids that can only come from food. You need a variety of amino acids for the body to function properly. The good news is that you donвt need to eat all of the amino acids at once. Your body can create complete proteins from the foods you eat throughout the day. While meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of essential amino acids, you can also get protein from plant sources like beans, soy, nuts, and some grains. Exactly how much protein you need daily depends on a variety of factors including how active you are, and your age. Despite the growing popularity of high-protein diets, there havenвt been enough studies to prove that theyвre healthier or can influence weight loss, according to the and the.
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