The Functions of Nutrients on The Body
Nutrients you need
Protein- A macronutrient, essential for blood clotting, hormones and the response of the immune system. Protein is critical for good health. Protein is essential in forming muscles to creating new enzymes and hormones; comprised of small building blocks called amino acids. They are the bases of cells, which turn over quicker and regenerate more slowly with age. Amino acids help with the enhancement of optimal ageing at a time when it is needed to support nutritional intake and make up for any deficiencies. (There are 22.) Animal proteins provide all essential amino acids, while plant proteins may offer less. To ensure all essential amino acids are consumed, including a variety of proteins into the diet, such as meat (lean meats), eggs, dairy, nuts, and beans, will aid this. Protein also maintains and builds up body tissue, adding to muscle and is fundamental to a healthy way of life.
Fat- Fat is a nutrient, essential for life, that boosts absorption of vitamins and helps protect organs. Keeps the body warm in Winter months. Trans fats, found in processed and baked foods, increase the risk of heart disease- must be eaten cautiously. Unsaturated fats, found in natural sources, protect the heart and aid the prevention of heart disease. These good fats can be found in nuts, avocados and salmon. Fats should make up an exceedingly small percentage of your whole diet, 15 percent or less. Consuming lot of fats can cause cancer and cardiovascular disease. The best fats are plant-based oils.
Carbohydrates- Are essential for the body to function properly. Carbs are broken down into glucose, providing the brain and body required energy. Carbs additionally ensure the body is not breaking down proteins to gain energy, as this is preventing loss of muscle mass. Complex carbohydrates only keep you fuller for longer as the body takes time to break them down- averting unhealthy snacking. Whole grains, foods containing fibre, vegetables and fruits are all examples of healthy complex carbohydrates.
Water- Keeping hydrated is essentially important for human survival; it makes up to 75% of the human adult body. Since the body relies on water, it must be offered. It is required for waste removal; regulates temperature; and an indispensable element of every cell. Other benefits include cleaning the skin, improving cognitive skills, improves memory, flushing of toxins and improves muscle recovering as well as complexion, increases energy and productivity, improves mood, reduces head aches and diseases, keeps one fuller for longer- therefore reduc3s cravings, offers more energy, regulates body temperature, sharper thinking and more.
Fibre- Cereals, fruits and vegetables are examples of dietary fibre. Fibre is made up of the indigestible parts or compounds of plants, which pass relatively unchanged through our stomach and intestines. The main role of fibre is to keep the digestive system healthy and by aiding bowel movement, it does just that. Also, reduces blood pressure levels and keeps you fuller for longer.
Omega 3- It’s been found that omega-3 fatty acids optimise brain health and may aid heart function. Unlike other fatty acids, your body cannot create omega-3, so it is crucial to have sources of it in your diet. Salmon, mackerel and sardines contain active omega-3 fatty acids, which do not require much energy for the body to use. Plant based sources include chia seeds, flax, and walnuts. These foods contain an inactive form of omega-3 that your body must convert before it can use, and only in small amounts.
Vitamin A- Also named: retinol, retinoic acid, retinal, carotenoid. For growth, maintenance of skin, bone development, maintenance of myelin and of vision. Can be lost when frying or if fat is rancid. Found in liver, eggs, butter and fish oils. ¾ of our vitamin A is from retinol.
Vitamin B group- All water-soluble, store in the dark. A necessitate for the function of the brain and nervous system. For older adults, it keeps the brain active and alert- preventing dementia. For children, it helps to develop their skills.
- 1- Thiamine, growth, appetite, digestion, nerve activity, energy production. Brazil nuts and peanuts.
- 2- Riboflavin, growth and development of foetus, redox systems and respiratory enzymes; maintenance of mucosal, epithelial and eye tissues. Destroyed if in the presence of an alkali, like bi-carb. Almonds, mushrooms, spinach and broccoli.
- 3- Nicotinamide, niacinamide, nicotinic acid, niacin, maintenance of NAD and NADP, coenzyme in lipid catabolism and oxidative deamination. Dried peaches and apricots, peanuts.
- 5- Pantothenic acid, lipid metabolism, protein metabolism, part of coenzyme A in carbohydrate metabolism.
- 6- Pyridoxine, pyridoxal, adermin, growth, protein, CHO, and lipid metabolism, coenzyme in amino acid metabolism.
- 7- Biotin, protective factor x, growth, maintenance, of skin, hair, bone marrow, and glands, biosynthnthesis of aspartate and unsaturated fatty acids.
- 8- Vitamin B8 is involved in the metabolism of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and lipids).
- 9- Vitamin B9 plays an essential role in the synthesis of amino acids.
- 12- Cobalamin- Coenzyme in nucleic acid, protein, lipid synthesis- maintenance of epithelial cells and nervous system.
- Folic acid can be found in sprouts, potatoes, green vegetables.
Vitamin C- Essential for many biochemical functions, this vitamin contributes to the normal formation of collagen to ensure proper functioning of bones and cartilage, as well as gums, teeth and skin. Citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, green and red peppers, strawberries all offer Vitamin C.
Vitamin D- It contributes to the absorption and proper use by the body of calcium and phosphorus, thus keeping teeth and bones healthy. Needed for the normal functioning of the immune system. Eggs and fatty fish are possible sources but also sunlight.
Vitamin E- Vitamin E is an antioxidant, it protects cells from free radicals and stabilises membrane lipids. Found in nuts, seeds, cereal products, egg yolk etc.
Vitamin K- Vitamin K, or menaquinone, contributes to normal blood coagulation and the maintenance of healthy bone structure. Offered in liver, leafy green veg- kale, fruits, meat, dairy etc.
Iron- Iron is involved in the normal formation of hemoglobin and red blood cells and is needed for the transportation of the oxygen in the blood cells, in the bloodstream.
Calcium- Works with phosphorus to give hardness and strength to bones and teeth. Required for blood clotting and correct functioning of nerves and muscles. Vit. D aids absorption. Needs to consumed every day to allow bones to be made and replaced. In milk, cheese, white bread (must be added by law), canned fish etc.
Sodium- Found naturally in most fish, sodium (salt) keeps extra-cellar fluids in the body. Can also preserve foods, like smoked fish.
Manganese- Manganese helps to support normal energy metabolism. It also helps protect cells against oxidative stress. Also, can improve bone health and helps reduce diseases and inflammation.
Chromium- Chromium is a small element that contributes to the proper functioning of the metabolism of macronutrients (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates). It also helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Zinc- Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. It is needed for the body’s defensive (immune) system to work soundly. Also required for cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates.