The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes water, vitamins and minerals as three basic nutrients that are easy to obtain through a well balanced, nutritious diet. These nutrients are also essential to good health and the maintenance of it. Furthermore, they must be consumed in a way that makes them effective.
Comprising approximately 70 percent of the human body, water is the most important nutrient, according to certified nurse consultant Phyllis Balch. Adults should drink approximately 10 full glasses every day. Water participates in almost every process in the body. It transports nutrients, carries oxygen to the cells, maintains a normal temperature and eliminates waste material. Too little water leads to dehydration. First, the blood volume drops, triggering thirst. Waste builds up in the body if dehydration becomes a regular occurrence, causing headaches and toxicity. Dehydration also contributes to extra body fat, digestive problems, malfunctioning organs and poor muscle tone.
Vitamins activate chemical reactions in the body and provide energy. B vitamins keep the skin, hair, eyes, digestive system and nervous system and brain healthy. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, or protector against cell damaging toxins. Specifically, it repairs and grows tissue and improves adrenal gland function. Vitamin C is also excellent for strengthening the immune system and aids the absorption of iron. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are antioxidants and aid blood circulation. This includes proper heart function. Vitamin A also improves eye function. Vitamin D promotes normal growth and thyroid function. Vitamin K is needed for blood clotting and the growth and repair of bones.
Minerals balance body fluids, build blood and bones, regulate muscle tone and help maintain a healthy nervous system. Like vitamins, they work along with other nutrients. Calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus are needed in larger quantities. Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus work together to form and strengthen bones, teeth and muscle, and regulate the heartbeat. Potassium regulates the heartbeat and strengthens the nervous system. Sodium maintains the balance between water and blood in the body. Trace minerals such as iron, iodine, silicon, copper and chromium are needed in very small amounts. They assist in the digestion or function of other minerals, vitamins and nutrients.
A regular balanced diet can give you a healthy daily dose of the minerals and vitamins you need. Balch recommends a wide variety of whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice, barley and quinoa. Also add lean proteins, fresh fruit and vegetables to your daily diet. Healthy fats such as olive and vegetable oils are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Poor nutrition or eating too many processed foods can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, alcohol, drugs, smoking and some medications deplete nutrients.
- "Nutrients"; U.S. National Library of Medicine; 2/2011
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Balch, Phyllis, CNC; 2010
- Healthy Salad image by William Berry from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.