When discussing diet and nutrition, we often fail to address the foundation of it all, which are nutrients!
There are six classes, consisting of protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals.
- A macronutrient that provides 4 kilocalories per gram,
- Often referred to as the building block of the body.
- Protein is essential for the development and repair of body tissues, hormones, enzymes, and the maintenance of the immune system (Washington State University).
- Protein should account for 10-35% of our daily energy intake.
- Lean protein options include nonfat Greek yogurt, chicken breast, shrimp, whitefish, lean cuts of beef, low-fat cheese, etc.
- A macronutrient that provides 4 kilocalories per gram.
- They function as the best source of fuel for the brain and body during high intensity exercise.
- They also serve as a source of fiber, which can lower Cholesterol/ blood sugar and prevent constipation (National Institute of Health).
- Carbohydrates should account for 45-65% of one’s diet.
- Healthy sources include rice, oats, beans, lentils, potatoes, and chickpeas.
- A macronutrient that is more energy dense than the others, providing 9 kilocalories per gram!
- Its functions include being an energy source, regulating body temperature, and acting as a shock absorber for our organs (Washington State University).
- Fats should account for about 20-25% of one’s diet.
- Healthy sources include avocados, olive oil, almonds, eggs, salmon, and walnuts.
Vitamins and Minerals
- Referred as micronutrients because we need them in small amounts.
- These are found in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables.
- Although they do not provide our bodies with energy, they allow for proper functioning of the body!
- Water is a nutrient that makes up a significant amount of our body composition!
- It is necessary for cell structure maintenance, body temperature regulation (through sweat).
- It protects our brain and spinal cord from trauma, and lubricates our joints (USGS). Males require about 3 liters of water per day, while females require about 2.2 liters per day!