The six essential nutrients

These are the six essential nutrients that your body needs on a daily basis

* Water
* Carbohydrates
* Proteins
* Fats
* Vitamins
* Minerals


Water is the most essential nutrient the body needs. Your body is around forty to sixty percent of water. Forty to sixty percent of your body weight is water. Muscle composition is approximately 70% water. It is vital that while you exercise you continually drink water to ensure that your body does not dehydrate. If you feel thirsty it will take around 20 minutes for the liquid to be utilized by the body. Obviously the amount of water you need depends on your body weight, height and any activity you take part in but on average you need around three and a half pints of water a day. This may seem a lot but a lot of water will come from your food such as fruits which contain 75 to 90 percent of water.


Carbohydrates are usually referred to as sugars or starches. Complicated carbohydrates are the carbohydrates that we keep hearing about that we should improve our food intake of. These carbohydrates are found in such foods such as potatoes, bananas, pasta, bread, cereals etc. Carbohydrates are converted into sugars by the body. Carbohydrates come in two forms:

Simple Sugars

Simple sugars are sugars like processed sugar and sugar from fruits. This kind of sugar is used almost immediately during exercise. Just eating these sugars would not give you endless amounts of instant energy because as your sugar level in your blood increased, more insulin would be released to grab the sugar and dispose of it because there is too much. All this insulin grabs all the sugar and more as well so eventually you would have even less energy than you started with. This is why when you eat a chocolate bar you feel great for about 15 minutes, your body will then loose energy and become slightly fatigued.

Complex Sugars

This kind of sugar is taken from foods like potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, vegetables and fruits. The difference between these sugars and simple sugars are that the sugars are released at a slower level so you do not get this insulin rush. As the sugar is released a lot slower it also lasts a lot longer because it takes the sugar a lot longer to be broken down. It should be obvious to you that these complex sugars or carbohydrates as they are better known are a 100 times better for you than the simple sugars. We need to be looking at around 55 percent of our daily intake of complex sugars.


Protein is composed of amino acids, which help to build muscle mass. Cells in the body are being replaced all the time every day 365 days a year, so we need to give the body the tools to complete the task of keeping our bodys fit and healthy. Protein is found in such foods such as chicken (white meat), egg white, beans, skimmed milk etc. The bigger and leaner your muscles are the higher your basal matabolic rate is. Your basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories the body uses just to live for the day, so even doing such things as sitting watching television your body will be burning more calories which means burning away more body fat. We need about 70 to 80 grams of protein daily in our diet.If you eat too much protein the excess will also be stored as body fat, you should be looking at 20 percent of your daily calorific intake to be of protein.


Fat is another term for lipid. Too much fat in your diet can lead to obesity, heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Fat does have its uses though, the body needs some fat to process vitamins and minerals and to insulate its inner systems. Fat is also used by the body to provide energy to the body during exercise. Cheese, nuts, cooking oil etc are high in fat content. There are more than one kind of fat, here are the three:

Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is the worst fat for the body. Saturated fat causes the arteries to clog which in turn can cause strokes, heart attacks and coronary heart disease.

Polyunsaturated Fat

Polyunsaturated fat has fewer fatty acid molecules than saturated fat, so is a lot better for you than saturated fat. A type of polyunsaturated fat is Omega 3, this is found only in fish oils, this fat helps with the developments of the nervous system and a host of other bodily functions.

Mono Unsaturated Fat

Mono unsaturated fat has even fewer fatty acid molecules than polyunsaturated fat, and for this reason is the best of all three fats. You should have a higher intake of mono unsaturated fat than the other two fats.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins are needed in small amounts to help the body with chemical reactions within its cells and are organic. Vitamins come in two forms, they are fat soluble and water soluble. Fat Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E, K) are stored in the fat tissue and can build up high levels of toxins in the body if they are not utilized. Water Soluble Vitamins (B, C) are excreted by the body if your daily amount of intake is too great.

Minerals are inorganic substances in other words they are man made and they regulate processes within the body. Minerals are put into different structures within the body to create enzymes, hormones, skeletal bones, skeletal tissues, teeth and fluids.

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