What are nutrients and why are they so necessary
Many people who want to switch to proper nutrition can be confused in terms that are somehow related to a healthy lifestyle. For example, not everyone has an idea of what nutrients are. A certain amount of knowledge will help to understand the situation.
So, having a clear understanding of the nutrients, it is much easier to determine the right menu for yourself. A person’s diet should be formed not only based on the calorie content of certain dishes, but also taking into account the composition of the products. Only in this case can you count on the fact that the diet will really be healthy.
What are nutrients and why are they so necessary
The term nutrients means biologically active elements of food that determine the life support of the body. Literally translated from English, it means – nutrients. There are macro- and micronutrients. The first group includes critical nutrients, that is, proteins, carbohydrates and fats – the main food organic compounds, and the second group includes additional elements – minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
The need for nutrients is huge, because it is they who are involved in metabolic processes. It is they who are converted through metabolism, and the body is saturated with energy from the calories received. And micronutrients provide local functionality of organs and systems. For example, iodine creates all the necessary conditions for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
As a result, the body receives less nutrients and a condition called micronutrient deficiency occurs. Iron deficiency is most commonly felt, leading to iron deficiency anemia. To check the general condition, it is recommended to donate blood and assess the level of hemoglobin. In any case, if unpleasant symptoms appear in the form of malaise and weakness, you should consult a doctor. And already he will conduct a thorough research and find out if there is a lack of nutrients and how much is needed.
Common Nutrient Classification
As already mentioned, all nutrients are divided into two large groups: micronutrients are groups of substances necessary for local functioning (minerals and vitamins) and macronutrients that make up the main classes of organic nutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water). In addition to the main classes, there are more than ten other types of substances required by the body. But we will consider in detail only the most important ones.
- MacronutrientsThis is a class of essential nutrients that the body needs in significant quantities to support life. They are a resource for obtaining energy, providing vitality to all systems and organs. These substances are recognized as proteins, carbohydrates and fats – the foundation for a healthy and balanced diet.
Protein is the number one nutrient. The whole organism, all muscles, organs and even cells – everything is protein. Proteins are classified as fast and slow.
The fast ones include those that contain the most fragmented amino acids in the composition. In order to process and assimilate them, the body makes almost no effort. Egg or milk proteins are fast food nutrients. Their need for the body is especially high after physical exertion.
Slow proteins are those nutrients that contain amino acids that are tightly bound together. Due to this feature, the protein is processed for a long time, and for a long time provides the body with energy. It is best to include protein in the diet not late in the evening or in the morning, given the lack of snacks. Cottage cheese and low-fat cheeses are ideal.
Many people believe that fatty foods are harmful and should be eliminated from the diet. This is not entirely true. Fats can be divided into two groups: saturated and unsaturated. It is necessary to figure out which fats the body can do without, and which not. Saturated fats include fast food, sauces, cold meats, and butter. They should be consumed to a minimum. The daily dosage of saturated fat is equivalent to a piece of butter in 10 g. Unsaturated fats are nutrients that have great benefits for the body, their consumption should not be sharply limited.
The most complex and large-scale group of nutrients is carbohydrates. A large number of people are overweight and have other health problems. The reason for this is the excessive consumption of carbohydrate foods. All kinds of baked goods, fast food, potatoes, bread, sweets and cakes – all this incredibly overloads the body, forcing the metabolic system to work hard.
The group of carbohydrates is divided into complex and simple. The subgroup of simple carbohydrates includes glucose and fructose. Some starches and fiber are complex. The function of these nutrients, the degree of benefit or harm, depends on the glycemic index of the nutrient – that is, the rate that is required to increase the blood sugar.
Fiber belongs to the complex carbohydrate class. The main feature is that this type of nutrient is absolutely not digested in the stomach and is not absorbed in the body. However, the benefits of fiber are great, as it enhances intestinal motility and aids digestion and stabilizes sugar levels.
- MicronutrientsThis class includes vitamins, minerals, trace elements, antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are necessary for the body in the same way as macronutrients, but their daily intake is much lower and is measured in hundredths, and sometimes even thousandths of a gram.
There is no calorie content in this subclass of substances. Vitamins are nutrients that are not a resource for energy. Their role is determined by the local function of organs and their systems.
This type of nutrient is composed of macro and micronutrients. Macronutrients include phosphorus, sulfur, sodium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, and calcium. There are several times more trace elements. All of them serve for the benefit of metabolic work.
- Chondroprotectors are a type of nutrient that determines metabolic processes in bone and cartilage tissue. For example, the micronutrient glucosamine has an effect on joint fluid density. It can be found in animal foods such as skin, tendons, cartilage, and bones. In addition, it can be used in the form of dietary supplements.