You have probably heard of the phrase: ‘You are what you eat’ To be healthy and on top form, you need to eat a healthy balanced diet.
The key to a healthy balanced diet is eating a variety of healthy food with essential nutrients in the right amount.
So what are the essential nutrients that must be in your daily intake? Let’s take a look….RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Here are 6 essential nutrients that must be in your daily intake…
Did you know that you can eat a very large meal and still feel so hungry? That is because you are actually thirsty and need a drink of water to fill you up.
Water is one of the 6 essential nutrients to include in your daily intake. It is vital for optimal health. You lose water daily from your body through urine and sweat and it needs to be replenished. If you are not drinking enough water you can become dehydrated.
A study published in the Nutrition Reviews found that there was increasing evidence that mild dehydration plays a role in the development of various diseases.
To gauge whether you are drinking enough water, the colour of your urine should be a light yellow colour. Dark yellow urine is a sign that you need to drink more water.
It is important to drink at least 8 glasses or 2 litres of water daily.
2) Good Quality Protein
Good quality protein is one of the 6 essential nutrients that must be in your daily intake. It is vital for the building and repair of your body tissues; it is also a main component of your immune system and hormones.
Good quality protein is important for blood sugar and insulin balance. It will also help to fill you up and control your hunger.
Here are good quality proteins to include in daily intake :
• Free range eggs (preferably organic)
• Organic, grass-fed chicken
• Organic grass-fed turkey
• Fish, shrimps (wild and not farmed)
• Nuts and seeds
• Small portions of lean clean meat, wild game (preferably organic)
3) Good Quality Fat
Good quality fat is one of six essential nutrients to include in your daily intake.
Did you know that including FAT in your diet will not make you fat or cause heart disease? Research published in the British Medical Journal shattered the myth that fat causes heart disease and obesity; they found no link between eating saturated fat, heart disease and obesity.
The type of fat you eat matters, not the amount.. By including good quality fat in your diet, the digestion and absorption of your food is slower and the reaction of insulin is less extreme. So don’t cut out fat, enjoy it!
Here are good quality fats to include into your diet:
• Oily fish including wild salmon, sardines and mackerel
• Nuts and seeds
• Olive oil, extra virgin olive oil
• Extra virgin coconut oil
4) Good Slow Carbohydrates
Good slow carbohydrates is one of the six essential nutrients that must be in your daily intake. Vegetables and fruits are good slow carbohydrates.
Eating plenty of fresh, good quality vegetables and some fruit will provide you with all the nutrients your body needs for optimal health.
Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that people who eat seven or more portions of vegetables and fruit a day have a 42% lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who eat less than one portion. They also found that they enjoy a 31% lower risk of heart disease and a 25% lower risk of cancer.
The study brought to light that vegetables had a larger protective effect than fruits. Your focus should be on consuming more vegetables and small amount of fruit.
Aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables such as broccoli, kale, lettuce, cucumber, cauliflower, bell pepper, spinach and many more.
Processed foods are bad carbohydrates that will spike your blood sugar, increase your insulin levels, make you more hungry, overweight and sick. So reduce your intake.
Vitamins are one of the six essential nutrients that must be included in your daily intake. It is vital for your normal growth and function.
You cannot make vitamins within your body so you must get it from your food. You only need small amounts of vitamins and it can be found in abundance in various foods.
There are two types of vitamins : Fat-soluble vitamins and Water-soluble vitamins
Water soluble vitamins cannot be stored in your body, your body takes what it needs and any excess is passed out through your urine so you need to include it in your diet daily. Vitamin C and the B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins.
Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body in your liver and other fatty tissues so you do not need to have them every day. Fats helps to transport them around your body that is why it is important to include good quality fat in your diet.
Vitamins A,D, E and K are fat soluble vitamins.
Vegetables, fruits (green, orange, yellow, and red ones), fish, liver, beans, nuts, chicken, eggs, milk are all rich in various vitamins.
Minerals are one of the 6 essential nutrients that must be included in your daily intake. They can be found in water, the soil, plants and animals.
Minerals are important for various functions in your body. Your body needs minerals to function properly.
Minerals are needed in different amounts, the ones needed in larger amounts on a daily basis are called macro-minerals. Calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and sulphur are all macro-minerals.
Minerals needed in smaller amounts are called trace minerals. Zinc, iodine, iron, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium and fluoride are all trace minerals.
It is necessary to bear in mind that high intake of minerals can be very harmful.
Vegetables, liver, wholegrain, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, beans, milk and many more are rich in minerals.
It is vital for you to include these six essential nutrients in your daily intake. Eating whole, natural and unprocessed food is an excellent way to incorporate these nutrients into your diet. You have only one body so treat it well, nourish it and it will flourish.
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• Manz F, Wentz A (2005) The importance of good hydration for the prevention of chronic diseases. Nutrition Review, 63:S2–5
• Aseem M (2013) Saturated fat is not the major issue. British Medical Journal, 347:f6340 (link: http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6340)
• Oyebode O, Gordon-Dseagu V, Walker A, Mindell J S (2014) Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, doi: 10.1136/jech-2013-203500. [Epub ahead of print]