Nutrients

The molecular building blocks that make up your food

They provide both the energy that fuels your life, and the raw materials from which your physical body is made

Nourishment is the key for perfect health
Nutrients from healthy food:
the key to ideal health.

They're the chemical compounds in your food that power all your physical and mental activities.

They feed the growth and repair of your cells and energize the operation and maintenance of your bodily systems and processes.

Your body digests, absorbs and assimilates them for use as fuel or as building blocks for the growth, maintenance and replacement of cells.

With healthy nutrition you feel great and look your best, with glowing hair, clear skin and healthy nails.


Nutrients feed your brain, keeping your intellect functioning at its best.

This boosts the performance of your thinking, judgement and memory, and helps improve your psychological and emotional life.

Healthy nutrition ensures all your body systems, like your breathing, your heart, your immune system and so on, are working at their best.

You need the right nutrients to tone your muscles and strengthen your bones.
Nutrients make your muscles and build your bones.

This improves your resistance to illness in the short term and lowers your long term risk of serious disease.

You need nutrients to tone your muscles and strengthen your bones.

Nutrition provides the raw materials you need for recuperation, energy and growth, essential for all forms of body sculpting and fitness training.

With a knowledge of nutrition you can eat to strip away body fat AND gain muscle weight, creating the healthy, toned and attractive body you desire.

And its good nourishment that gives you the energy and vitality you need to feel fully alive and enjoy your life to the full.

Essentially, everything that's healthy and good depends on nourishment - providing your body with the nutrients it needs.

What happens when you don't get the nutrients you need?

When you lack a sufficient and balanced supply of nutrients you begin to lose physical energy and mental clarity.

If you remain undernourished over a period, you increase your risk of health problems.

Contents this page
The 7 Types of nutrients

carbohydrates
protein
fats and oils
vitamins
minerals
water
fiber

Return to top

Prolonged undernourishement can make you vlunerable to serious illness and even premature death.

Unfortunately, in affluent countries, many people suffer from prolonged undernourishment. They are overfed but undernourished. Despite being overweight or obese, their diets don't provide the nutrients they need for good health. Lifestyle malnutrition has become a major health risk in the modern world.

These 8 principles of healthy nutrition will help you minimise this risk and get the nutrients you need from the foods you eat.

7 types of nutrients are crucial to maintaining natural ideal health.






The 7 Types of Nutrients



This introduction to the 7 types of nutrients explains their role in maintaining natural ideal health.

You should aim for an adequate and balanced mix of these nutrients in your daily diet.

To do so, simply eat a good variety of nutritious food each day, along with suitable supplements selected for your personal needs. These 8 principles of healthy nutrition provide an introductory guide to healthy food choices and the wise use of supplements.



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1  Carbohydrates

'Carbs' are your body's main source of energy

You need them so your brain and muscles can function properly

Your liver breaks them down into glucose (blood sugar), which your body transforms into energy required by your cells, tissues and organs. This enables the proper functioning of your brain and muscles.

Carbohydrates are called simple or complex, depending on how fast your body digests and absorbs the sugar.

Simple carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates, also called simple sugars or monosaccharides, are made up of one kind of sugar.

We are most familiar with the case of the kind of white, refined sugar that sits in your sugar bowl, and is used to make 'sweet' foods and drinks.

Other common simple sugars are fructose (fruit sugar), glucose (corn sugar), lactose (milk products) and or maltose.

Simple carbohydrates quickly convert into glucose after consumption. The bloodstream absorbs this glucose and transports it throughout your body. Because this happens quickly, you get a sudden boost of energy.

An excess of simple carbohydrates is unhealthy. It increases your blood sugar level in a quick and uncontrolled manner that can cause to become too high. This may lead to diabetes.

Many popular food products in our modern societies contain significant amounts of refined sugar. These products provide little nutrition but due to their simple sugar content they contain lots of energy (calories). Apart from other health problems they are likely to contribute to weight gain for most people. It's definitely best to avoid, or at least minimize, your consumption of these products.

Complex carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates, also called starches or polysaccharides, are made up of different types of sugar.

They include grains products like cereals, bread, pasta, rice, starchy vegetables and legumes.

They are normally slower to digest, resulting in a slower glucose transformation. The body's energy lasts longer than is the case with simple carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates and some simple carbohydrates provide vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Unlike simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates are beneficial to your health. You need them for energy. And they generally include other nutrients as well as the dietary fibre that helps speed up your metabolism.

Complex carbohydrates also have lower amounts of fats.

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2  Protein

Protein forms the building blocks of every cell in your body

You need protein for the growth, repair and replacement of these cells

About 10,000 different proteins are found throughout your body. It's in your muscle, bone, skin, hair, nails - every body part or tissue that goes to make you up.

Your body uses protein to build, repair and replace the cells and tissues that form your body parts. It's important in building bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein.

Contents this page
The 7 Types of nutrients

carbohydrates
proteins
fats and oils
vitamins
minerals
water
fiber

Return to top

Protein also helps make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals.

Protein makes up the enzymes needed for many chemical reactions and the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in your blood.

Protein makes you what you physically are and keeps you that way.

Twenty or so basic building blocks, called amino acids, provide the raw material from which all proteins are made.

You obtain dietary protein from both plant and animal foods.

When you eat protein, your digestive system breaks it down into its constituent amino acids, and then uses genetic instructions to reassemble them into the particular proteins our body needs right now.

Your body doesn't store amino acids as it does fats or carbohydrates, so you need a daily intake of amino acids to make new protein.

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3  Fats and Oils

Some fats and oils are crucial for good health

Learn which ones you should include in your diet

Fats and oils have a bad reputation. That's unfortunate. It's probably because we think that fats make us fat. That's not entirely true.

While some fats are bad for your health, others are good for you, containing nutrients that you need for good health.

And some oils are essential. Because your body can't make them, they have to come from outside, that is, in your food.

It's important for your health to know the difference between good and bad fats, and to use that knowledge in making healthy food choices.

Let's look first at the bad fats.

Bad Fats

The bad fats are called saturated fats, or saturated fatty acids (SFA's). They're mainly found in popular meat and dairy products, coconut and palm oil and cakes, biscuits, cakes and chips made with dairy products.

We've learned to love them, but too much saturated fat is bad for your health.

Find out why and learn more here about saturated fats.

Worst for your health are the trans fats. These are laboratory creations - entirely artificial - resulting from the production of certain foods such as margarine. Your body doesn't know what to do with them - they are not part of our evolutionary history. They are implicated in all sorts of health problems. they are banned in Europe and controversial (though legal) everywhere else.

You should avoid trans fats absolutely. Read labels and don't use food products that contain them.

Good Fats

The good fats are classified as unsaturated fats. They come in two varieties - monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. They're present in many natural foods and they're good for your health because they contain important nutrients.

For example monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help reduce blood cholesterol when substituted for saturated (bad) fats in your diet.

Find out why and learn more here about unsaturated fats.

Included among the unsaturated fats is an especially important category known as the Essential Fatty Acids. You need to know about these.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

Contents this page
The 7 Types of nutrients

carbohydrates
protein
fats and oils
vitamins
minerals
water
fiber

Return to top

EFAs are fatty acids that can't be produced by your own body. They therefore MUST be obtained from the food you eat. EFAs are required for biological processes, not just for fuel.

EFAs are grouped into two fatty acid families, Omega-3 and Omega-6.

(Omega-9 can be manufactured within the body so it's not regarded as an essential fatty acid).

It's very important to include sufficient EFAs in your diet. Find out more about EFAs on this page covering the unsaturated fats.

Lipids

Lipids is a technical term loosely used to mean 'fats.' The fats and oils we include in our food are lipids.

Three types of lipids you will often hear mentioned are the two cholesterols: good (HDL) and bad (LDL), and triglycerides. These three have important implications for your health.

Find out more about lipids (including cholesterol) and triglycerides.

Fats and oils in your diet

Fats (including oils) are important nutrients. They are used as a source of energy and are an important constituent of the structure of cells.

Fats and oils, nutritionally speaking, are pretty much the same thing. Technically they are triglycerides, larger molecules built up from 'fatty acids.'

The key difference is that those that are solid or semisolid at room temperature are classed as fats. Theseoccur predominantly in foods made from animals. They are mainly saturated ('bad') fats.

Those that are liquid at room temperature are generally called oils. They come chiefly from plants and fish. Most unsaturated fats are actually oils.

It's not difficult to ensure you get enough of the right fats and oils if you eat a healthy, balanced diet. You obtain fats and oils from both plant and animal food sources, and they're easily stored in the body.

A healthy balanced diet, including supplements selected for your personal needs, should ensure you receive the fats and oils you need. Make sure you include sources of the essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6.

These 8 principles of healthy nutrition will help you with healthy food choices and the wise use of supplements.

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4  Vitamins

Vitamins are essential nutrients for the normal functioning of your body

You need them for growth, vitality, health and general well being

Minerals are also critical for the prevention (and cure) of many health problems and diseases.

Vitamins are organic compounds found only in living things, that is, in plants and animals.

Vitamins help regulate your metabolism, convert fat and carbohydrates into energy, and assist in manufacturing bone and other tissue.

Each vitamin has specific functions which are necessary for maintaining natural ideal health.

If you have inadequate levels of some vitamins, you may develop a deficiency disease. For example, a lack of vitamin D can cause rickets. Some vitamins help prevent medical problems, for example vitamin A prevents night blindness.

Your body can't manufacture or synthesize most vitamins so you must get them from the food you eat.

Unfortunately the 'standard Western diet' is often deficient in vitamins (and other nutrients) due to its heavy emphasis on refined and processed foods and a relative lack of wholesome, fresh, natural foods.

This has led to 'lifestyle malnutrition' in affluent societies. A whole range of lifestyle diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes are linked to long term nutrient deficiencies in our modern diet.

This malnutrition of affluence is a creeping killer, affecting almost every person in modern societies.

Contents this page
The 7 Types of nutrients

carbohydrates
proteins
fats and oils
vitamins
minerals
water
fiber

Return to top

The causes of malnutrition in the modern world include poor food choices, poor food quality and poor digestion caused by stressful lifestyles and bad eating habits.

Most people in our modern world don't get enough vitamins (or other nutrients) simply because they lack a varied and balanced diet of nutritious foods.

Dietary supplements can help, although there remains considerable controversy over the value of some types of synthetically produced vitamins. Still they are probably better than nothing.

Vitamin supplements should be taken with a meal because they can't be assimilated without ingesting food.

Some vitamins are toxic if taken in excessive doses.

These 8 principles of healthy nutrition will help you with healthy food choices and the wise use of supplements.

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5  Minerals

Minerals are crucial nutrients that serve many purposes within the body

You need at least small amounts of more than eighty different minerals for maximum health

Minerals form an essential part of every fluid and tissue in the body. They predominate in the harder structures, such as bones, teeth, hair, nails, etc. The bones, for example, consist largely of calcium phosphate.

Some minerals are manufactured within the body. We get the others from the food we eat.

Minerals perform many functions within the body, sometimes independently and sometimes in combination with others. Minerals for example regulate the balance of fluids in your body and help eliminate waste.

Minerals play an important role in providing our daily supply of energy (calories).

They play a key role in maintaining the normal alkalinity of the blood as well as its normal specific gravity.

Minerals are detoxifying agents, combining with acid waste from cells, neutralizing it and preparing it for elimination. Minerals are abundant in all the body's secretions, and a lack of minerals in your diet can cause a lack of secretions.

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6  Water

Water regulates all the functions of your body

Every cell in your body needs water to live

Water is the most all-pervasive of nutrients, and absolutely essential for your health.

You are about 75% water; on average, your body loses about 2.5 kilos (5 pints) of water daily through normal perspiration, respiration and elimination processes.

You need to replace this water every day to remain healthy.

You normally replace your body fluids through the water content of the food you eat and the liquids you drink.

The problem is though, many people don't drink enough water, nor eat enough high-water-content food (best is fresh raw fruit and vegetables) to do the job of fluid replacement adequately. So their health suffers.

More on the benefits of drinking water.

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7  Fiber

You get fiber from plant foods

You need it for healthy digestion, the process of absorbing food nutrients into your body

Contents this page
The 7 Types of nutrients

carbohydrates
proteins
fats and oils
vitamins
minerals
water
fiber

Return to top

Fiber isthe cellulose that forms the structure of plants.

Fiber is not digested in the human body, but you need it for your digestive system to work properly.

Foods that are high in fiber, like fresh fruit and vegetables, are for that reason an extremely important part of a healthy diet.

An efficient digestive system improves nutrient absorption, so you benefit more fully from the nutrients in your food.

Fiber reduces digestion problems and aids in the elimination of waste.

It does this by providing the bulk needed to keep things moving properly through your digestive tract.

More on the benefits of high fiber foods in your diet.

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Nourishing yourself

How can you achieve a sufficient and balanced intake of nutrients and minimize the risk of malnutrition?

The best advice I can give you is to make fresh fruit and vegetables a major part of your regular diet

You will maximize the benefit of this if you follow these 8 principles of healthy nutrition and these healthy eating habits to to minimize nutrient loss and toxin intake.

When you can, buy local, farm-fresh produce in season that's been picked when it's fully ripened. These factors will mean the food is more nutritious when it reaches your plate.

Where possible buy genuine certified organically grown produce. It's more likely to come from lovingly cared for soils that have been managed naturally and be rich in nutrients.

Even if the legacy soils used are somewhat depleted, you still have the benefit of avoiding chemicals as organic growers will not use man-made fertilizers of herbicides, pesticides or fungicides on their crops. Minimise the accumulation of these toxins in your body. Nobody really knows their long-term effect on the human body, but we do know our bodies haven't evolved in company with these substances.

Fresh fruit and vegetables the best supply of healthy nutrients
Fresh fruit and vegetables are an ideal source of healthy nutrients. My Dad gardening at age 91.

Better still, if you've time and patience to grow a green thumb, consider raising some of your own fruit, vegetables or herbs.

you can even use pots on on your balcony, patio or window-sills if your space is limited.

It can be a rewarding hobby if you're so inclined, and very healthy.

Anyone can do it! Here's my Dad with his tomatoes. He was 91 years old when I took that shot. He still grows spinach for his daily green smoothies, mows his lawn, makes his meals and maintains his own home now at 95!

It's good to eat fruit and vegetables raw where practicable, as the cooking process destroys some of their nutrients and enzymes. Salads and green smoothies are healthy and enjoyable ways to consume raw fruit and vegetables

If you're buying vegetables for cooking, try frozen vegetables. It may seem strange, but the nutrients in frozen vegetables are often better than in equivalent 'fresh' vegetables.

Contents this page
The 7 Types of nutrients

carbohydrates
proteins
fats and oils
vitamins
minerals
water
fiber

Return to top

That's because fruit and vegetables intended for commercial freezing are usually picked closer to peak ripeness and flash-frozen immediately after harvest.

Some nutrients are depleted during the processing, but the rest are locked in for up to twelve months.

Despite following the above suggestions, it may be almost impossible in today's world to get all the nutrients you need from the so-called 'fresh' food available in our stores.

It's a good idea therefore to use supplements and superfoods to complement your normal food intake.

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More about nutrients

Review these key nutrition facts, and this food nutrition guide guide.

Review these 8 principles of healthy nutrition.

These healthy eating habits and these 10 healthy eating tips will help you get maximum nourishment from your food, and assist your digestive system to support your optimum nourishment.

See how 'lifestyle' malnutrition has become a major problem in affluent societies. Discover how modern scientific studies have overturned traditional notions of a 'balanced diet' based on the Five Food Groups and the Nutrition Pyramid.

On specific nutrients, learn more about the benefits of drinking water and of including plenty of fiber in your diet.










Soar through life with the 6 Healthy Habits

  1. Live Consciously
  2. Act Responsibly
  3. Grow Authentically
  4. Nourish your Body
  5. Nourish your Mind
  6. Nourish your Soul

Achieve Lasting Change NOW.

  • outstanding physical, mental and spiritual health
  • well-being, prosperity, inner peace and life purpose.

"Take charge of your health."

"Take control of your life."

"Do it Now."




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