What are the 13 core nutrients?
The 13 core nutrients are essential for maintaining good health and proper functioning of the body. These nutrients are divided into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients, also known as energy-providing nutrients, are required in large amounts by the body and include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Micronutrients, on the other hand, are needed in smaller quantities and include vitamins and minerals. Both types of nutrients are essential for the body, and a deficiency of any one of them can lead to serious health problems.
- Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body. They are found in foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates, also known as sugars, are found in foods such as candy, soda, and baked goods. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are found in foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They are digested more slowly and provide sustained energy throughout the day.
- Proteins: Proteins are the building blocks of the body and are essential for the growth and repair of tissues. They are found in foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and dairy products. There are 20 different amino acids that make up proteins, and the body needs all of them for optimal health.
- Fats: Fats are essential for the body, but they should be consumed in moderation. They provide energy, help with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and play a role in brain function. There are three types of fats: saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in foods such as meat, dairy products, and tropical oils. Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, are found in foods such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. Trans fats are found in fried foods, baked goods, and snack foods and should be avoided as much as possible.
- Vitamins: Vitamins are micronutrients that are essential for the proper functioning of the body. They are classified into two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, are not stored in the body and need to be consumed on a daily basis. Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, D, E, and K, are stored in the body and can be consumed less frequently.
- Minerals: Minerals are inorganic substances that are essential for the proper functioning of the body. They include calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, among others. They play a role in bone health, muscle function, and the maintenance of healthy blood pressure.
- Water: Water is essential for the body to function properly. It makes up about 60% of the body’s weight and plays a role in every bodily function, from digestion to circulation.
- Fiber: Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not digestible by the body. It is found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It helps with digestion, weight management, and the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Choline: Choline is a micronutrient that is essential for the proper functioning of the liver and brain. It is found in foods such as eggs, meat, and dairy products.
- Iron: Iron is a mineral that is essential for the production of red blood cells. It is found in foods such as meat, poultry, fish, and fortified grains. A deficiency in iron