Six daily nutrients: More than just eating!

Getting our six daily nutrients is more than just eating. Our body systems rely on us knowing what these nutrients are and eating the foods that will provide these nutrients on a daily basis.

Everyone needs six daily nutrients. These nutrients are: Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. The digestive system is the system that carries these nutrients throughout your body after you eat them. The trick to getting these daily nutrients is to eat foods from all five food groups; grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy and proteins.

Think of carbohydrates as “the energizers.” Carbohydrates are found in foods made from grains, like bread, pastas and crackers. Carbohydrates put the punch in your day. They provide more than half the energy you need to keep warm and to power your body and its systems.

If carbohydrates are the ‘energizers,” then proteins are your power nutrients. They help the carbohydrates you eat produce the energy you need. Proteins are the “construction workers” or “the builders.” Proteins are found in meats, poultry, dry beans and legumes, nuts, eggs and seeds. There are thousands of different proteins. Some build muscles, nerves, skin and hair. Others called enzymes help digest food; others are called insulin, which works to control sugar levels in your blood.

Like proteins and carbohydrates, fats provide an energy boost. On days when you take in more calories than you use, the surplus is deposited as fat. Think of fats as “the bankers.” There are two main fats in foods; Saturated and unsaturated. Much of the saturated comes from animal foods such as meat, eggs and cheeses. Unsaturated fat derives from plants, such as corn, seeds and peanuts. Watch how much saturated fat you deposit. They can overload your bank reserves and clog your blood vessels with cholesterol.

Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the nutrients that provide you with calories. The three remaining nutrients do not have calories, but without them your body would not function. Think of these three remaining nutrients as “the supporters.” Vitamins and minerals do some the following:

  • Helps make enzymes to maintain healthy body tissue
  • Helps heal sores and wounds
  • Helps release energy from proteins
  • Builds strong bones, teeth and hair
  • Builds healthy blood

Water is the last remaining nutrient that you need daily. You take in water with every drink and mouthful of food. There is water in plant and animal food. Seventy five percent of our body weight is water. Water, like vitamins and minerals, does not have energy value or calories, but it is the most important. Your body depends on water to break down the carbohydrates, proteins and fats you eat. Water also helps move most other nutrients around your body in your bloodstream. Your joints would not move smoothly nor would you hold a steady temperature without water.

Eating foods from each food group and drinking water will help maintain a healthy body. Think of your food as “energy,” “builders” and “supporters.” Your body is craving for you to eat healthy!

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