“A great way to get all the right nutrients is to make a colorful plate – mix of good vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein. If you notice all your vegetables are green, change it up and add another color for a variety of benefits in one meal.”Summer Sanders, American athlete
A good and balanced diet consists of a number of nutrients. You need to take these nutrients in, on a daily basis, so that your body functions at its peak. There are six nutrients that your body needs and this article will look at what these are and where you can find them.
The first nutrient that your body needs is water. As our bodies consist mainly of water – 70% in fact – we need this liquid to facilitate certain bodily processes. You need to be drinking about 2 litres of water a day to remain healthy (this comes in at about six to eight glasses). But don’t think that drinking more than your two-litre quota is good for you – in fact: it’s quite the opposite! If you drink more water than you should, you’ll be leaching the other nutrients that your body needs. So make sure that you tread this fine line well when it comes to over and under consumption of water.
The term ‘carbohydrates’ – or carbs – has been given a bad rep. The reason for this is that it’s been commonly associated with foods such as white bread, pasta and cake. These foods hike up a person’s blood sugar immediately after they have been eaten and leave the eater feeling quite energy depleted afterwards.
However, carbs are not only found in foods such as these. They are also found in healthier options such as corn, peas and sweet potato – which don’t have similar side effects as high GI carbs do. In fact, they are responsible for releasing sustained amounts of energy throughout the day into your bloodstream. Thus, they are better for you and their counterparts.
Protein is essential to have in your body as it helps to build strong muscles and for achieving your fitness goals. It also plays a role in developing strong muscles. However, the body doesn’t store protein as it does the energy derived from carbohydrates. This means that it’s important for a person to eat enough protein that they need on a daily basis. Good sources of protein are:
• Lean chicken breasts
• Hard-boiled eggs
• Lean cuts of meat
• Protein shakes.
About twenty years ago, ‘fat’ was tantamount to a swear word. Full-fat products were thrown out and low-fat/fat-free products were in. Now it’s been found that fat has a vital role to play in the health of our bodies. For example, the essential fatty acid – omega 3 – is critical to helping to prevent heart disease. Fats that are good for you can be found in avocados, nuts and oily fish such as mackerel and tuna.
Vitamins play an essential role in protecting your body. For example, vitamin C has been proven to help people fight off colds and flu. Another good example is vitamin D which is essential for bone health but it’s absorption is facilitated during calcium. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits. You can take in vitamin D by sitting in the sun.
So there you have it! These are the nutrients that you need to take in – on a daily basis – in order to remain healthy and well. We get it that sometimes life happens and we don’t take in as much of one nutrient that we should. Don’t worry! Make sure that you recognise this deficiency and make the necessary adjustments so that you won’t suffer any long-term consequences for your health.