The word nutrient is one heard often. With an emphasis on healthy eating, you know that nutrients are important. But what is a nutrient? The information below will arm you with that knowledge, and how to improve your diet.
What are nutrients?
Basically nutrients are naturally occurring substances. Nutrients are ingested from the foods you eat for repair and growth of tissues and energy. Human metabolism requires nutrients to work effectively. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins are all classified as organic nutrients. Other nutrients humans take in are water, minerals, and oxygen.
What are macronutrients?
Human bodies need differing amounts of all the available nutrients. The nutrients needed in daily food consumption and in the largest amounts are called macronutrients. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are considered as three main macronutrients. The foods high in protein are meats, fish, poultry, some dairy and vegetables. Foods high in carbohydrates are potatoes, breads and fruits. And finally the foods highest in fat are butter, bacon and sausage, avocados and nuts.
What are micronutrients?
Nutrients human bodies need only in tiny amounts are called micronutrients. Vitamins are a perfect example of micronutrients. When you take a daily vitamin pill, you’re ingesting multiple micronutrients all at once. Micronutrients are a regular part of food composition also, but because peoples’ diets may lack the proper daily amount, vitamin pills keep those trace amounts at a healthy level. Despite their tiny amounts, micronutrients are vital to good health. Iodine, Vitamin A and iron are essential. Iron deficiency, for example, may lead to anemia, or low hemoglobin in the blood.
How do you eat the correct nutrients?
The United States Department of Agriculture, (USDA), rolled out a new program in 2011 called My Plate. The program’s purpose is to promote healthy nutrition through eating the correct amounts of nutrients in a daily diet. My Plate consists of a diagram of food on a plate divided into portion sizes. The portions are categorized into the nutrient groups. On My Plate are protein, carbohydrate, fruit and vegetable and dairy portions. By keeping the visual plate in mind, you are able to plan a nutritious meal.
What are the pitfalls of bad nutrition?
With the easy availability of all types of foods, including bad ones such as sweets and fat-laden foods, it’s not difficult to get your system out of whack. If your nutrition intake is not balanced as per the USDA guidelines, bad health can result. The most common is weight gain. Too much fat and sugar, (carbohydrates), in a diet is a serious problem because weight gain may then lead to other ailments, like diabetes. In extreme cases, deadly diseases can result such as heart disease and cancer.
Professionals continue to study and understand human health as it relates to nutrition. Types of foods are as important as amounts of foods. And with people living longer, following food advice may help you feel healthier into your late years. Two handfuls of nuts per week, for instance, have been found to be the number one nutrient for lengthening your life. Plant fiber, as in oatmeal, is another food known to keep you healthy. In short, balance your nutrients.