Nutrition 101: Intro to necessary nutrients needed in every diet - Lily Cramer

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Nutrition 101: Intro to necessary nutrients needed in every diet

Welcome to Nutrition 101. I encourage you to see this comprehensive list as a glossary when you want to be healthier, have some issues and need guidance on what to eat as well as a learning point. I learnt a lot from making this list on my own, since I knew it is important to eat healthy but wasn’t aware of the forty essential nutrients and what I was eating that did or did not contain them.

Remarkable points:

–       Essential nutrients that are known for being in all meat related products are also present in soy products.

–       I feel like I have endlessly been mentioning eggs, asparagus, leafy green vegetables, nuts, beans and seeds. That means it is good to eat meals or snacks including them.

–       I think I shall be making some week examples with an acceptable amount of all the nutrients as another article. Challenge accepted.

There are some basic definitions.

1. Nutrition

The intake of food and drink by the human body and the subsequent chemical and physical processes that occur within the body when the food is broken down and the nutrients needed to maintain the body and keep it in good working order are released.

2. The essential nutrients for humans

There are forty essential nutrients for humans that fall within the following categories: Fatty acids, amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins and dietary minerals.

2.1 Fatty acids

Significant for your metabolism and keeping your cholesterol level healthy. These can be seen as beneficial kind of fat when taken in moderation.

Omega Power Food Source
3 For a normal metabolism and increases your mind capability. It comes from all seafood (Fish oil, squid oils, salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna, halibut and prawns) algal oil, egg, flaxseed, sacha inchi oil, echium oil and hemp oil.
6 Positively affects your cholestrol levels. Excessive levels leads to increased risk to diseases. Palm, soybeans, rapeseed, sunflower, poultry, eggs, avocado, nuts, cereals, durum wheat, vegetable oils, nuts, acai berry and many more oils.

2.2 Amino acids

Cannot be created for people in their own body and therefore must be supplied in their diet. Amino acids are important in almost every growth component of your body.

Amino Power Food source
Isoleucine Helps support other body processes in dealing with food. Eggs, soy protein, seaweed, turkey, chicken, lamb, cheese and fish.
Lysine Plays a major role in calcium absorption, building muscle protein, recovery from surgeries and the body’s production of hormones, enzymes and antibodies. Eggs, meat, soy, cheese and certain fish, chickpeas and beans.
Leucine Utilized in the liver, adipose tissue and muscle tissue. Soy products, salami, fish, almonds, chicken, chicken egg, oat, beans, lentils, chickpea, corn, milk and rice
Methionine If restricted, methionine consumption can increase lifespans in some animals. It is used through a variety of chemical pathways inside us. Eggs, sesame seeds, egg, cheese, brazil nuts, soy protein concentrate, chicken, fish, beef, bacon, pork, wheat germ, oat, peanuts, chickpea, corn, almonds, beans, lentils & rice.
Phenylalanine In moderation, relieves from pain and functions as an antidepressant. Breast milk of mammals, nutritional supplements.
Threonine Helps to get metabolism started, supports the immune system and stimulates the thymus gland. Watercress, fish, seaweed, game meat, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, turkey, soy products, eggs, diary products and lean meats.
Tryptophan Regulates appetite, helps you sleep and elevate mood Chicken, soybeans, tuna, turkey, venison, lamb, halibut, shrimp, cod.
Valine Stimulates muscle metabolism, repair and growth of tissue as well as maintaining nitrogen. Can be used by muscles instead of using glucose. Meats, diary products, soy products, beans and legumes.
Histidine Needed for growth, protecting nerve cells and repair of tissue. Meats (game meats, pork), chicken, turkey, soy products, diary products, lean meats, and fish.
Arginine Enhancing/Assisting the immune system, activity of thymus gland, important nutrient against disease, used to increase insulin as well as being a sexual stimulant. Red meat, nuts, spinach, lentils, whole grains, seafood, soy and eggs.

2.3 Carbohydrates

Provides the body with fuel and energy but is not an essential nutrient in humans. There are simple and complex carbohydrates.

–       Simple carbohydrates: Made up of sugars, quickly broken down by the body to give an energy rush. These consist of chocolate, white flour, sugar based products, snacks, chips, etc. These carbohydrates give a temporary boost, afterwards causing a dip.

–       Complicated carbohydrates: Bread, pasta, cereals, rice and potatoes. The carbohydrates become twice as complicated if consuming wholemeal products.

2.4 Vitamins

Keep the body healthy and prevent illnesses. They are vital to the correct function of our immune and nervous system and are paramount to good health.

Vitamin Power Food Source
A Vision, skin health, teeth & bone growth. Cod liver oil, soy products, liver, dandelion greens, carrot, broccoli, sweet potato, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, egg, mango, pea, milk, and tomatoes.
B1 Used in many cellular processes like catabolism of sugars into amino acids Rice bran, yeast, yeast extract, pork, whole grain cereals, oatmeal, flax, sunflower seeds, brown rice, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, eggs and whole grain flour.
B2 Growth, ability to thrive, metabolism of fats, ketone bodies, carbohydrates and proteins. Liver, kidneys, eggs, asparagus, bananas, popcorn, persimmons, okra, chard, cottage cheese, dairy products, fish, beans, vegetables and almonds.
B3 Increases metabolism, increases tolerance to colder weather. Liver, heart, kidney, chicken, beef, eggs, avocados, dates, tomatoes, leaf vegetables, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, nuts, peanut butter, mushrooms, soy products and whole grain products.
B5 Synthesizes and metabolizes proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, Whole-grain cereals, legumes, broccoli, eggs, meat, royal jelly, avocado and yoghurt.
B6 Balances sodium and potassium levels as well as promoting red cell production. Meats, whole grain products, vegetables, bananas, soy products,and nuts. If canned, these lose majority of the vitamin content.
B7 Cell growth, production of fatty acids and metabolism of fats/amino acids. Also helps maintain a steady blood sugar level. Meat, liver, diary products, eggs, leafy green vegetables, and peanuts.
B9 It is needed to synthesize, repair and methylate DNA. It is important in aiding rapid cell division – important for infants and pregnancy. It produces healthy red blood cells and prevents anemia. Leafy green vegetables like spinach, asparagus, turnip greens and lettuce, beans, peas, lentils, egg yolk, baking yeast, fortified grain products, sunflower seeds, liver, kidneys, orange juice, pineapple juice, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, grapefruit, banana, raspberry, corn, tomato, brussel sprouts, romaine lettuce, bok choy and beer
B12 Provides a stable functioning brain and nervous system as well as helping formation of blood. Beef, variety meats, liver, by-products of meat, turkey, pork, oysters, crab, chicken, cheese, egg, Batabata-cha, soy products, nutritional yeast, fortified breakfast cereals.
C Cofactor in at least eight enzymatic reactions. Act like an antioxidant. Lack can cause scurvy. Citrus, most fresh fruits ~ including all peppers, guava, blackcurrant, kiwifruit, broccoli, redcurrant, all berries, lychee, orange, kale, melon, garlic, grapefruit, tangerine, etc.
D Responsible for intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphate. Also relevant against sun damage. Cod liver oil, mushrooms, afalfa, lichen, fish liver oils, fatty fish species (catfish, salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and eel), egg, beef liver)
E Fat-soluble antioxidant, preventing the propagation of free radicals in tissues. Wheat germ oil, unrefined vegetable oils, soybean oil, coconut oil?, sunflower oil, avocados, asparagus, broccoli, sweet potato, mangoes, tomatoes, papayas, almonds, hazelnuts, kiwi fruit, rockfish, and leafy vegetables.
K1/K2 Modification of proteins, blood coagulation, metabolic ways in bones and other tissue. Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, collards, swiss chard, turnip, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, natto, soft cheeses, egg yolk, butter, chicken liver, chicken

2.5 Dietary minerals

Keep the body healthy and prevent illnesses. They are vital to the correct function of our immune and nervous system and are paramount to good health.

Minerals Power Food source
Calcium Important for metabolism, used to control muscle, nerve function and used in bone structure. Yoghurt, tofu, sesame seeds, sardines, diary products, leafy green vegetables.
Chloride Helps maintain fluid balance and used in digestion. Salt, seaweed, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, olives,
Chromium Helps maintain blood sugar, insulin levels and cholesterol levels. Onions, tomatoes, brewer’s yeast, oysters, whole grains, bran cereals, potatoes, beer, and wine.
Cobalt Essential for healthy functioning, making a thyroid hormone and forming healthy red blood cells. Diary products, fish and crustaceans, chocolate, dried fruits, nuts, tea and oils.
Copper Utilize iron, reduce tissue damage from free radicals, health of bones, making melanin, functioning thyroid gland and protects your nerves. Asparagus, calf’s liver, turnip greens, sesame seeds, cashews, soybeans, barley, sunflower seeds, soy products, beans, lentils and pumpkin seeds.
Iodine Ensure thyroid gland functioning. Sea vegetables, diary products (especially yoghurt), strawberries, fish and shellfish.
Iron Energy, healthy immune system and enhancing oxygen throughout your body. Asparagus, leafy green vegetables, soybeans, tofu, venison, beans and olives.
Magnesium Maintain your bones, help cells produce energy, maintain the nervous system, control of inflammation and blood sugar. Seeds, leafy green vegetables, beans, halibut and nuts.
Manganese Helps body to utilize key nutrients, keeps bones strong, maintain normal blood sugar levels, healthy nerves and protect your cells from free-radical damage. Brown rice, leafy green vegetables, berries, garlic, eggplant, spices, beans, pumpkin seeds, rye, soy products and oats.
Molybdenum Helps prevent tooth decay when in moderation. Pork, lamb, beef liver, green beans, eggs, sunflower seeds, wheat flour, lentils, cucumber and cereal grain.
Phosphorus Plays a major role in DNA and RNA as it forms part of the structural framework of these molecules. Diary products, meat, soy and other protein or calcium containing products.
Potassium Helps muscles and nerves function, maintain balance in the body and lower risk of high blood pressure. Leafy green vegetables, beans, potatoes, yam, soybeans, papaya, lentils, other fruits and other vegetables.
Selenium Protect cells from free-radical damage, lower risk of joint inflammation and helps thyroid produce hormones. Brazil nuts, mushrooms, fish, lean meats and organic meat products as well as sesame seeds, oats, tofu, asparagus, leafy green vegetables and garlic.
Sodium In moderation, regulates blood volume, blood pressure, osmotic equilibrium and pH. Salt, baking soda, baking powder, bouillon cubes, soup, gravy, soy sauce, sauces, salad dressings, salami, bacon, cured meats, sun dried tomatoes, cheese, popcorn, pickled foods and crab.
Zinc Balance blood sugar, stabilize metabolic rate, supports sense of smell and taste as well as prevent a weakened immune system. Mushrooms, organic meat products, fish and shrimp, seeds, oats, yoghurt and turkey.


What will be also be mentioned:

3. Free radicals

Free radicals have an open electron shell and therefore may be seen as having one or more “dangling” covalent bonds. The “dangling” bonds make free radicals highly chemically reactive towards other substances or towards themselves. Free radicals also come from cigarette smoke. Free radicals regulate blood pressure and aging. Excessive free radicals can lead to cell injury and cancer. All sorts of deadly diseases are associated with free radicals. There are three vitamins that play a key role in these defense mechanisms, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E as well as antioxidants.

4. Glucose

Also known as dextrose or grape sugar is a simple monosaccharide found in plants. There are two other edible monosaccharides: fructose and galactose. These are all absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate.

5. Protein

Necessary for the growth and repair the body. The body needs these to repair the body’s muscles, cells and tissues. As a natural protector against all illness, they combat from infection and disease. Protein also contains some vitamins and minerals. Proteins are present in beans, rice, meat, diary products, eggs, fish, seafood, lentils and nuts. The products from animal origin contain certain unhealthy features including the types of fats, and therefore should be taken into moderation.



For the overview of the health and lifestyle section layout, click here.

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