Nutrients are the substances found in food which drive biological activity, and are essential for the human body. They are categorized as Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates (sugars, dietary fiber), Water, Vitamins & Minerals, and perform the following vital functions.
Nutrients involved in three basic functions: they provide energy, contribute to body structure and/or regulate chemical processes in the body.
These basic functions allow us to detect and respond to environmental surroundings, move, excrete wastes, breathe, grow and reproduce. And also protect us from diseases.
The digestion (breaking down into smaller pieces) of these nutrients in the alimentary tract and the absorption (entry into the bloodstream) of the digested substance make it possible for tissues and cells to transform the potential chemical energy of food into useful work.
The essential nutrients are divided into two categories: Micro-nutrients and Macro-nutrients
Micro-nutrients are nutrients that a person needs in small doses. Micro-nutrients consist of vitamins and minerals. Although the body only needs small amounts of them, a deficiency can cause ill health.
Macro-nutrients are nutrients that a person needs in larger amounts. Macro-nutrients include protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Protein is one of three macro-nutrients, which are nutrients the body needs in larger amounts. The other macro-nutrients are fat and carbohydrates.
Protein is made up of long chains of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids. The specific order of amino acids determines the structure and function of each protein. People looking to lose weight often decide to adopt a high-protein diet. Eating protein helps a person feel full, which can lead to them eating fewer calories overall. High-protein diets typically include large quantities of protein and only a small amount of carbohydrate.
Protein is present in every body cell, and an adequate protein intake is important for keeping the muscles, bones, and tissues healthy. Protein plays a role in many bodily processes, including:
Protein is important for growth and development, especially during
childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy.
Sources of protein
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020, a healthful eating pattern includes a variety of foods containing protein. Both animal and plant foods can be excellent sources of protein.
The guidelines classify the following foods as protein foods:
Animal products tend to contain higher amounts of protein than plant foods, so people following a vegetarian diet or a vegan diet may need to plan their meals to ensure they meet their protein needs.
People often associate high fat foods with bad health. However, a person needs certain fats to help maintain optimal health. Fats provide the body with energy and help it carry out a range of functions. However, it is essential to consume healthful fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and limit or avoid saturated and trans fats.
Healthful fats help with the following functions:
According to recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a person should consume 20–35% of their calories from healthful fats. A person can find healthful fats in several foods, including:
Researchers have studied the health effects of saturated and unsaturated fats for decades. A 2017 scientific review reported an association between people who have heart disease or a risk of heart problems and those who consume higher amounts of saturated fats in their diet. The researchers reported that saturated fats may increase levels of low-density lipo-protein or LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. Elevated LDL cholesterol in the blood may increase a person’s risk of heart disease. The study authors also reported that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat may also bring down the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
These fats have single bonds between their molecules and are “saturated” with hydrogen molecules. They tend to be solid at room temperature. Food sources that contain high levels of saturated fat include meat and dairy products, such as:
Unsaturated fats contain one or more double or triple bonds between the molecules. These fats are liquid at room temperature in oil form. They also occur in solid foods. This group breaks down further into two categories, called monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Dietary sources of unsaturated fats include:
However, the body needs complex carbohydrates to support the following:
People should avoid overly processed products that contain bleached, white flour, and foods with added sugar.
Vitamins and minerals are not used as energy, but instead aid in breaking down and building up proteins, fats, and sugars, and are an essential nutrient for keeping the body healthy and in good working order. “Vitamin” is the general term for the organic compounds (carbon containing ) which are mostly impossible for the body to synthesize, and a lack of these vitamins can possibly lead to various deficiency-related diseases.
Vitamins can be found in large amounts in fruit and vegetables. Vitamins can be broken down into two categories: 1. Water-soluble vitamins and 2. Fat-soluble vitamins.
Water-soluble vitamins (Vitamins B & C) dissolve easily in water and thus carry very little risk of overdose.
Vitamins A, D, E, K dissolve easily in fats and can lead to a vitamin overdose if consumed in large amounts.
“Mineral,” also referred to as inorganic matter, is a general term for the chemical elements which make up the human body excluding oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. There are 16 different minerals which are necessary for the human body, including calcium, iron, and sodium, and they can be found in abundance in fruit, vegetables, seaweed, and milk/dairy products.
Human body is made of protein and fat and interestingly the fish consists of protein and fat. In addition it contains vitamins & minerals which helps us to live a healthy life. Fish has no carbohydrates, almost, however energy needed is derived from the protein that we get from the fish. The omega-3 fatty acid, protein, vitamins and minerals helps for the metabolism of the human body.
Fish is a low-fat high quality protein. Fish is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Fish is rich in calcium and phosphorus and a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium
When it comes to choosing healthy meat, fish swims to the top of the list. In addition to providing protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, selenium, zinc, and iodine, fish is noteworthy as an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
The one area that fish inches ahead of meat is the fact that its fat has been found to be healthier for your body. This means lower cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of heart disease, which ultimately results in better cardiovascular health.
Compared to meat, seafood is a much leaner source of protein and contains fewer calories overall. Additionally, seafood can offer some protection from certain chronic diseases due to its anti-inflammatory properties. These are just a few benefits you reap by making the seafood switch.