What are the 6 essential nutrients?

What are the 6 essential nutrients?

Nutrition is the process by which the body receives and metabolizes food. Essential nutrients are chemicals obtained from food as a result of the digestion of food. As you know, to maintain optimal health, the human body needs about 50 nutrients daily (including water). These nutrients are needed to build and maintain body cells, regulate life processes and provide energy to the body. 

Essential Nutrients 

What are the 6 essential nutrients needed for a healthy body and what are their sources? Nutrients that support the life of the human body can be divided into the following six categories: 

1. Carbohydrates 

Carbohydrates, in simple terms, are starch and sugar. The main source of carbohydrates in the human diet is food of plant origin. In plants, carbohydrates are formed as a result of photosynthesis from carbon dioxide and water, with the participation of sunlight and chlorophyll. The carbohydrates obtained in this way are then deposited in various parts of the plant such as the root, pod, seed, stem, fruit or leaf. Animal carbohydrate sources are limited, such as fructose (the sugar in honey) and lactose (milk sugar). 

Carbohydrates make up a significant part of the global food market. They are found in plants such as grains, vegetables and fruits. Carbohydrate foods are relatively inexpensive and are the main source of heat and energy for the body.

2. Proteins 

Proteins make up the basic structure of all living cells. They are one of the 6 essential nutrients that forms and maintains the vital activity of organisms. Proteins are organic substances built from constituent parts – amino acids. Animal products such as meat, milk, eggs, etc. are the main sources of proteins in the human diet. Plant sources of protein include foods such as grains and beans. Protein in animal products is usually present along with fats, and in plant foods, along with carbohydrates. 

The main function of dietary protein is to promote tissue growth and repair. In addition, protein provides amino acids to other important nitrogen-containing compounds such as enzymes and hormones.

Read Also: High protein diets: Which one to choose?

3. Fats 

Man used fats to light and heat the home, to lubricate tools and even for decoration. However, he mostly ate them. Fats are organic substances that are oily to the touch, insoluble in water, but at the same time soluble in alcohol and ether. This group of compounds is called lipids and is present in the form of fats, oils, waxes and related compounds. Sources of visible fats include butter, cream, and creams. Sources of hidden fats include egg yolk, lard, olives, and nuts. 

The main function of fats is energy production. Fats and oils are the most concentrated sources of energy. In addition, fats protect vital organs, providing them with a certain position and protecting them from damage.

4. Minerals 

Minerals are inorganic elements that are widely distributed in nature. They play a vital role in the metabolic process. Minerals perform building, activating, regulating, transmitting and controlling functions. They are active participants in the entire exchange process.

Read: Nutritional facts of yogurt 

5. Vitamins 

Vitamins are important organic micronutrients that, if not consumed enough, cause a vitamin deficiency. Vitamins are compounds that are neither carbohydrates, nor fats, nor minerals, nor proteins. They are needed in very small amounts to perform metabolic functions and to prevent beriberi. Vitamins cannot be produced by the body itself and therefore must be obtained from food.

6. Water 

Water is one of the most vital 6 essential nutrients for human existence. The body of an adult male consists of 55-65% water (an adult woman – approximately 50-55%). Water in the body performs three vital functions: it gives structure and shape to the body, provides the aquatic environment necessary for cellular metabolism, and maintains a stable body temperature. 

Pure water is a means of purification. Obviously, it is allowed to be consumed from the point of view of Islam. If the water is contaminated with forbidden foods or dirt, it is not suitable for Muslim consumption.

Till now, we have written about 6 essential nutrients which are the requirements of the body. Besides these, some other trace nutrients which are also needed for better health, but deficiency of essential nutrients can cause serious illnesses and dysfunctions.

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