A healthy diet requires you to consider which nutrients you need the most. Healthy diets don’t always have to be complicated—and they certainly shouldn’t be boring. Fortunately, there are 10 essential nutrients to include in every healthy diet. These nutritional needs are all necessary for proper growth, energy, and overall good health. So, whether you’re trying to lose weight or eat for the long term, this list will keep you on track.
You probably know that nutrition can be very important to a healthy lifestyle, but do you know why certain foods can actually make your body ill?
Healthy diets have become popular in recent times. People are aware of their importance. However, a healthy diet does not always mean eating processed food, or simply avoiding unhealthy food choices. There is more to it. Your nutritional needs may vary depending on your age, sex, lifestyle and current health conditions. These 10 nutrition needs of the body will help you customize a healthy diet that is right for you.
If you don’t consume enough calcium, bones start to deteriorate. According to the National Institutes of Health, between 50 and 75% of women and 25% of men in the United States are not consuming enough calcium.
Calcium is vital for a strong, healthy skeleton. Bones need it to function properly. Calcium is essential for the proper functioning of muscle, nerves, and many hormones. It helps the heart pump blood, maintain blood pressure, and transmit nerve impulses. It is also important for cell reproduction and growth, immune function, and blood clotting.
Choline is a water-soluble B vitamin found in eggs, poultry, beef, soybeans, and peanuts, among others. It plays a vital role in proper liver function, brain activity, and metabolism. The body converts choline into a substance called phosphatidylcholine, which is essential for cell growth. According to a study published in 2012 in the journal Nutrients, choline is the most limiting nutrient for liver and kidney function, which are both critical to a healthy immune system.
When you eat too little iron, you’re more likely to experience fatigue, muscle weakness, and poor concentration. A deficiency in this nutrient can be very harmful to your health. To boost your intake of iron, eat a wide variety of foods that are rich in iron, including lean beef, lamb, pork, poultry, tuna, sardines, salmon, liver, spinach, collard greens, beans, lentils, and fortified cereals. You may also want to consider taking an iron supplement, as recommended by your doctor.
The most common deficiency of magnesium in North America is actually a lack of water (as opposed to a lack of dietary sources). Magnesium is found in abundance in dark green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Other plant foods rich in magnesium include beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, soy, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, and mushrooms.
When you are stressed, you don’t feel so good. Zinc is necessary for a host of biological functions, including growth, reproduction, immunity, wound healing, and tissue repair. This nutrient has also been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol in the brain.
Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system and growth. It is vital for maintaining normal growth in children and is also important for fertility. There is evidence that zinc deficiency may cause miscarriages. It is very important to get enough zinc to maintain the immune system because it can cause illness if not done so.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be essential to brain health. Research has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids could protect the brain from age-related damage. As far back as 2001, omega-3 fatty acids were linked to better mental function and memory. One recent study even suggested that the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in a mother’s milk may play a role in cognitive development of her child.
Many people think that sodium is a harmful nutrient to consume, but in fact, it’s an essential nutrient that is required for the function of the heart, kidneys, muscles, and nerves. The recommended daily intake of sodium is 2300 milligrams (mg). The average American consumes around 3200 mg of sodium daily. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Americans consume more than 4,200 mg of sodium per day on average. Eating too much sodium is linked to increased blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat no more than 1,500 mg of sodium daily, and children should eat no more than 2,300 mg of sodium daily.
8. Vitamin B6
This vitamin plays a key role in metabolism and maintaining brain function. It supports the nervous system and helps metabolize carbohydrates and proteins. It may also help prevent migraines and support a healthy immune system.
Most people who experience low energy or fatigue, muscle cramping, poor concentration, or dry skin, suffer from a deficiency of vitamin B6, says Michael Rountree, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and director of the Institute for Healthy Skin in the New York University School of Medicine. The main culprits: dairy products, beef, and refined grains, says Rountree. He recommends getting your daily B6 requirements from nuts, seeds, leafy vegetables, and eggs.
Most Americans don’t get the recommended amount of potassium in their diets, but this essential mineral keeps you feeling alert, focused, and energetic. Potassium is also necessary for keeping blood pressure in check, regulating water balance, and helping the heart pump blood effectively. In fact, researchers found that people with higher potassium intakes had lower risks of cardiovascular disease.
You need potassium to keep your muscles, nerves, and heart beating. To get all your daily potassium requirements, you need to eat 2 bananas, 1 cup of dried figs, or 7 ounces of cooked spinach.
Copper is one of the most essential minerals for the body and plays a role in many important bodily functions such as energy production, immune system function, and wound healing. According to the American Cancer Society, copper is part of the antioxidant system that protects cells from the harmful effects of free radicals.
In conclusion, eating a healthy diet is important, especially if you want to lose weight, get healthier, and prevent health issues. Experts such as Science Nutrition Lab give patients detailed health insight. At the same time, Dr. Jumper recommends proven treatments backed by decades of scientific evidence and real-world results.
Individuals should be able to implement real treatments to solve their health and wellness problems as soon as possible. With that said, it’s a lot easier to eat right when you know which foods to eat more of and which ones to eat less of.