Covid 19 has spread to almost 200 countries and people with poor health or immunity are especially susceptible to the novel virus. It has made us realize the importance of a healthy mind and body. You need to provide your mind and body with essential nutrients to be able to fight with the physical and mental challenges posed by this pandemic and the resulting lockdowns.
The human body needs certain compounds that it cannot produce itself. These compounds are called essential nutrients. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these nutrients should come from food. They are essential for better physical and mental health, disease prevention, and growth.
The essential nutrients are categorized into two types: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are the primary building blocks of the diet like protein and carbohydrates. These nutrients provide energy to the body and enable it to function properly whereas; micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. Unlike the macronutrients, these compounds serve their purpose well in small doses as well.
Here are the six nutrients that are essential for a healthy mind and body.
Carbohydrates have three categories: starch, fiber, and sugar. These compounds are necessary for human health. They provide fuel to the body, especially the central nervous system and brain. They also have disease-protection function.
Carbs should comprise 45 to 65 percent of the calories consumed in a day. The healthy sources for this nutrient include whole grains, fiber-rich vegetables, beans, and friends. Sources like added sugar and refined grains are not healthy ones.
Protein provides 20 amino acids to the human body, which are the building blocks of bone, muscle, hair, skin, and so on. In fact, every cell of the human body requires and contains protein. This essential nutrient plays a role in the generation of enzymes, antibodies, and hormones. DNA and crucial antioxidants require protein to operate. The word protein comes from the Greek word ‘primary’.
The required protein intake varies on the basis of age, overall health, and the level of physical activity. People having chronic conditions, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, and athletes require more protein than other individuals do.
According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an average adult should consume around 0.36 grams of protein per pound. However, some experts believe that this number is too low for some individuals who might have different needs. Protein’s healthy sources include grass-fed beef, cold-water fish, seeds, legumes, and nuts. More information about the benefits of having Proteins for our body.
Fats are usually deemed as a bad thing. However, there are healthy fats too that is an incumbent part of a balanced diet. According to researchers, fat provides support to several functions of the body like blood clotting, muscle movement, building cells, and absorption of vitamin and mineral absorption.
Fats are high in calories, but calories are not a bad thing for the body. It needs these calories for energy generation. The World Health Organization recommends keeping the daily calories coming from fat under 30 percent. Healthy fats help balance blood sugar, reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease, and improve brain function.
The healthy, i.e., unsaturated fats, include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fats come from seeds, nuts, fish, and vegetable oils like flaxseed, avocado, and olive.
Vitamins are the organic compounds that the human body needs for multiple purposes. Some of them can be produced by the body to some extent while some of them have to be taken from an outer source. The human body synthesizes vitamin D from the sunlight while the gut bacteria produce vitamin K but most of the vitamins have to be derived from food or supplements.
Vitamins are vital to the proper functioning of the body. Their deficiency can create severe health issues that range from mild to life-threatening. For instance, vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to peripheral neuropathy, anemia, or damage to the nervous system.
Minerals support the human body like vitamins. They help regulate metabolism, build strong bones and teeth, and enable proper hydration. The common minerals include calcium, zinc, and iron. Calcium helps strengthen bones and supports nerve signal transmission, muscle contraction/relaxation, and healthy blood pressure.
Iron promotes hormone creation and supports red blood cells while zinc strengthens the immune system and wound healing. Milk is the major source of calcium while iron can be taken from dates, spinach, legumes, and so on.
Water is necessary for survival. One can go for weeks without food, but cannot survive more than a few days without water. It improves mood and brain function while playing the role of a shock absorber. It also helps flush out toxins and keep the body hydrated and also prevents constipation.
Bio: Jacob Junior writes for HerbaChoices on topics related to dietary supplements and nutrition. A good diet is not important only for your physical health. It can also improve your mental health, which is extremely important in this time and age.