6 Key Food Nutrients your body needs daily to stay healthy
Nutrients are very important to the body. According to Wikipedia,A nutrient is a substance used by an organism to survive, grow, and reproduce. Nutrients can be incorporated into cells for metabolic purposes or excreted by cells to create non-cellular structures.
What nutrients does your body need daily?
In this article,we will study 6 key food nutrients that the body needs the most.
Calcium is a critical mineral that helps make up your teeth and bones. It is also necessary for muscle contractions, including the proper functioning of the heart. Good food sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, and cheese. Broccoli and green leafy vegetables like kale also have calcium. Sardines and salmon with bones supply calcium. So do calcium-fortified orange juice and cereal. Daily calcium requirements differ due to your age and gender. Some groups of people are at risk for having inadequate calcium levels. Postmenopausal women, vegans, vegetarians, and women who do not have their periods due to anorexia or excessive athleticism may have inadequate calcium levels. Ask your doctor if you should take a calcium supplement. If you take any medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether or not calcium supplements interact with anything you are taking.
The benefits of calcium
Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. Your heart, muscles and nerves also need calcium to function properly.
Some studies suggest that calcium, along with vitamin D, may have benefits beyond bone health: perhaps protecting against cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. But evidence about such health benefits is not definitive.
The risks of too little calcium
If you don’t get enough calcium, you could face health problems related to weak bones:
- Children may not reach their full potential adult height.
- Adults may have low bone mass, which is a risk factor for osteoporosis.
Many Americans don’t get enough calcium in their diets. Children and adolescents are at risk, but so are adults age 50 and older.
How much calcium you need depends on your age and sex.
Who should consider calcium supplements?
Even if you eat a healthy, balanced diet, you may find it difficult to get enough calcium if you:
- Follow a vegan diet
- Have lactose intolerance and limit dairy products
- Consume large amounts of protein or sodium, which can cause your body to excrete more calcium
- Are receiving long-term treatment with corticosteroids
- Have certain bowel or digestive diseases that decrease your ability to absorb calcium, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease
In these situations, calcium supplements may help you meet your calcium requirements. Talk with your doctor or dietitian about whether calcium supplements are right for you.
Do calcium supplements have risks?
Calcium supplements aren’t for everyone. For instance, if you have a health condition that causes excess calcium in your bloodstream (hypercalcemia), you should avoid calcium supplements.
It’s not definitive, but there may be a link between high-dose calcium supplements and heart disease. The evidence is mixed and more research is needed before doctors know the effect calcium supplements may have on heart attack risk.
A similar controversy surrounds calcium and prostate cancer. Some studies have shown that high calcium intake from dairy products and supplements may increase risk, whereas another more recent study showed no increased risk of prostate cancer associated with total calcium, dietary calcium or supplemental calcium intakes.
Until more is known about these possible risks, it’s important to be careful to avoid excessive amounts of calcium. As with any health issue, it’s important to talk to your doctor to determine what’s right for you.
Types of calcium supplements
Several different kinds of calcium compounds are used in calcium supplements. Each compound contains varying amounts of the mineral calcium — referred to as elemental calcium. Common calcium supplements may be labeled as:
- Calcium carbonate (40% elemental calcium)
- Calcium citrate (21% elemental calcium)
- Calcium gluconate (9% elemental calcium)
- Calcium lactate (13% elemental calcium)
The two main forms of calcium supplements are carbonate and citrate. Calcium carbonate is the cheapest and therefore often a good first choice. Other forms of calcium in supplements include gluconate and lactate.
In addition, some calcium supplements are combined with vitamins and other minerals. For instance, some calcium supplements may also contain vitamin D or magnesium. Check the ingredient list to see which form of calcium your calcium supplement is and what other nutrients it may contain. This information is important if you have any health or dietary concerns.
Vitamin C (also termed ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant vitamin that your body needs to maintain healthy bones, skin, and muscles. Good food sources of vitamin C include lemons, papaya, strawberries, orange juice, kiwi, bell peppers, cantaloupe, broccoli, and other types of fruits and veggies. Most people easily get enough vitamin C in their daily diets. Contrary to popular belief, vitamin C does not prevent colds, but it may help shorten the duration of the common cold if you take a supplement regularly. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin so you need to eat vitamin C rich foods regularly or take a supplement to make sure you always maintain adequate levels. A deficiency of vitamin C was a cause of scurvy (swollen, bleeding gums, loose teeth, and poor wound healing) in sailors and others who had diet lacking in fresh citrus fruits and vegetables. Although claims of vitamin C in high doses effectively treats coronavirus COVID-19, there is no science to back up this assertion.
Vitamin C has received a great deal of attention, and with good reason. Higher blood levels of vitamin C may be the ideal nutrition marker for overall health
Benefits of vitamin C
- Protection against immune system deficiencies
- Protection against cardiovascular disease
- Protection against prenatal health problems
- Protection against eye disease
- Protection against skin wrinkling
According to Moyad, you may need to take a dietary supplement of vitamin C to gain all the benefits.He suggests taking 500 milligrams a day, in addition to eating five servings of fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C’s Role in the Body
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It’s involved in many body functions, including formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the proper functioning of the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants that can protect against damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals, as well as toxic chemicals and pollutants like cigarette smoke. Free radicals can build up and contribute to the development of health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.
Vitamin C is not stored in the body (excess amounts are excreted), so overdose is not a concern. But it’s still important not to exceed the safe upper limit of 2,000 milligrams a day to avoid stomach upset and diarrhea
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary for the proper function of the immune system, vision, and cell growth and differentiation. It acts as an antioxidant in cells and helps repair damage. It also helps ward off age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss. Vitamin A is found in foods like liver, meat, fish, and dairy products. Another compound called beta-carotene is found in orange fruits and vegetables including cantaloupe, carrots, mangoes, sweet potatoes, and apricots. It is also found in spinach, red peppers, and broccoli. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A.
Important health benefits of vitamin A
Protects Your Eyes From Night Blindness and Age-Related Decline
Vitamin A is essential for preserving your eyesight.The vitamin is needed to convert light that hits your eye into an electrical signal that can be sent to your brain.
May Lower Your Risk of Certain Cancers
Cancer occurs when abnormal cells begin to grow or divide in an uncontrolled way.As vitamin A plays an important role in the growth and development of your cells, its influence on cancer risk and role in cancer prevention is of interest to scientists
Supports a Healthy Immune System
Vitamin A plays a vital role in maintaining your body’s natural defenses.This includes the mucous barriers in your eyes, lungs, gut and genitals which help trap bacteria and other infectious agents.
Supports Bone Health
The key nutrients needed for maintaining healthy bones as you age are protein, calcium and vitamin D.However, eating enough vitamin A is also necessary for proper bone growth and development, and a deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to poor bone health. Reference-here
Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is a vitamin that the body requires for energy metabolism and for cell growth, function, and development. Thiamine is also necessary for the proper function of the brain. It is found in meat, fish, and whole grains. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding require greater amounts of thiamine. People with certain conditions, including HIV, diabetes, and alcohol dependence often have low levels of this vitamin. People who undergo bariatric surgery may suffer from thiamine deficiency due to malabsorption.
There are high concentrations of Vitamin B1 in the outer layers and germ of cereals, as well as in yeast, beef, pork, nuts, whole grains, and pulses.
Fruit and vegetables that contain it include cauliflower, liver, oranges, eggs, potatoes, asparagus, kale and those stated above.
Other sources include brewer’s yeast and blackstrap molasses.
Breakfast cereals and products made with white flour or white rice may be enriched with vitamin B.
Vitamin B1, or thiamin, helps prevent complications in the nervous system, brain, muscles, heart, stomach, and intestines. It is also involved in the flow of electrolytes into and out of muscle and nerve cells.
It helps prevent diseases such as beriberi, which involves disorders of the heart, nerves, and digestive system.
Symptoms of thiamine deficiency
- weight loss
- memory loss
- muscle weakness
- enlarged heart
- mental signs and symptoms.
How much vitamin B1 do we need?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of thiamin taken by mouth is 1.2 mg for males and 1.1 mg for females over the age of 18 years. Pregnant or breastfeeding women of any age should consume 1.4 mg each day. Ref here
Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is a vitamin that the body needs to produce energy and facilitate cell growth, function, and development. It is also used to metabolize drugs and fats. The vitamin is bright yellow. It is found in organ meats, eggs, milk, lean meats, and vegetables. Cereals and some grains are fortified with riboflavin. People who are vegetarian or vegan may become deficient in riboflavin. Supplemental riboflavin may be an effective treatment for people who suffer from migraines. Taking a riboflavin supplement may cause urine to turn a bright yellow color.
Vitamin B3, or niacin, is a B vitamin that the body uses to convert food into energy and store it. It also aids the function of nerves and promotes the health of the skin, tissues, and digestive system. Niacin is found in milk, eggs, canned tuna, lean meats, fish, peanuts, legumes, and poultry. You can find niacin in milk, eggs, rice, lean meats, peanuts, poultry, legumes, and enriched cereals and breads. A deficiency in vitamin B3 is called pellagra. Symptoms of the condition include mental problems, dementia, digestive problems, and dermatitis. As a supplement, normal or large doses of niacin may produce flushing that includes redness, a feeling of warmth on the skin, and itching or tingling in the face, arms, neck, or upper chest. Avoid drinking alcohol and drinking hot beverages when you take niacin because it can make flushing worse. Newer forms of the vitamin (nicotinic acid and nicotinamide) minimize or eliminate flushing altogether.
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Credit – onhealth.com