What are Essential Nutrients
Nutrition is a science that studies chemical substances (nutrients) found in foods, that nourish the body by promoting growth, maintenance, repair and allow the bodily to function. Some of these nutrients also provide the body energy. Some of the nutrients also depend on other nutrients for proper functioning, EX: calcium and Vitamin D
Nutrients have SIX categories:
Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water.
Essential Nutrients are those that need to be provided by food because the body does not make them or doesn’t produce a sufficient amount of them. Our bodies all require different amounts of these, the amounts needed are depending on AGE, SEX and HEALTH.
Three of the Essential Nutrients provide calories and energy, also known as MACRONUTRIENTS. These are CARBOHYDRATES, FATS, and PROTEINS.
A calorie is a way we describe how much energy is in a food item.
Calories in the three energy essential nutrients are as follows:
Fats- 9 kcals
Carbohydrates- 4 kcals
Protein- 4 Kcals
FATS: are composed of carbon hydrogen and oxygen. Fats are found in both animal and plant foods. Fats provide calories, help carry fat soluble vitamins and give food a creamy texture and pleasant moth feel
Fats are classified as saturated (mainly animal foods), monounsaturated (mainly plant foods like avocados and olives) or polyunsaturated (mainly plants like soy and corn plus fish).
CARBOHYDRATES: are composed of carbon hydrogen and oxygen just a different make up of atoms compared to FATS and are found in plant foods and milk sugars. there are two types of carbohydrates:
SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES: monosaccharides (single sugars), disaccharides (double sugars). These are naturally occurring sugars in fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, honey, corn syrup and table sugar.
COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES: are long chains of monosaccharide glucose. STARCH and FIBER, typically found in vegetables, fruits, and cereal grains such as wheat, barley and oats. GLUCOSE is another name for blood sugar, a very important source of energy.
FIBER is unique because humans can’t digest it, so we don’t get calories from it.
DIETARY FIBER typically comes from seeds, skin of fruit, vegetables and cereal grains plays an important role. Dietary fiber helps keep our digestive tract running smoothly.
PROTEINS: are found in both animal and plant foods and contain AMINO ACIDS. there are 20 amino acids, but 9 are ESSENTIAL. Proteins are necessary for manufacturing, maintaining and repairing body tissue. They replace the outer layer of skin, help clot blood, grow hair and nails and scar tissue formation. Protein also regulates the balance of water, acids and bases and move nutrients in and out of your cells. Proteins contribute to your immune system, by producing antibodies that combat disease.