As we all know, food provides energy and nutrition for human beings, and a balanced diet is essential for health keeping. But do you know what nutrients do our body need, and how to eat a balanced diet？ This article tries to solve these problems by introducing five essential nutrients and the food that can better supply them.
There are five essential nutrients we need for every day activities, to maintain our life and achieve our best performance. They are carbohydrate, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals as well as water. Each of them functions differently.
“Carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source and the brain’s only source of fuel”， according to a registered dietitian in Ohio. The smallest amount of carb an adult consumes each day should be 130 grams from dietary allowance established by the Institute of Medicine. However, that quantity only keeps you alive and is far less than the need of an adult for regular daily activity. The typical intake, according to Institute of Medicine, is to get 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories from energy-providing carbohydrate. A healthy meal is made of right proportion of carbs, fats and protein and an overconsumption of these will cause obesity and other health problems.
The best sources of carbohydrate food include whole grains and foods made from those grains like whole-wheat bread, bulgur, barley, oatmeal, brown rice, and cornmeal.
Protein builds and repairs our tissue, for it consists of amino acids that act as the body’s primary building blocks for tissues in muscle, skin, bone, and hair. An adult in the U.S is encouraged to get 10% to 35% of his or her day’s calories from protein foods, and it’s about 46 grams of protein for women and 56 grams of protein for men.
The best protein sources are lean meats, poultry and seafood, beans and peas, nuts and seeds, eggs, and soy products. Some statistics may help you better understand the protein quantity contained in foods. A small 3-ounce piece of meat has about 21 grams of protein. One cup of milk has 8 grams of protein, and one 8-ounce container of yogurt has about 11 grams of protein.
Fat provides backup energy when carbohydrates aren’t available. Besides, fats help body insulate and absorb fat-soluble vitamins and protect your organs. The ideal daily fat intake for a person per day should be 20-30% of his or her total calorie intake. You also need to pay attention to choosing those healthy fats like monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats as well as omega-3 fatty acid.
The best foods containing healthful fats are olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Vitamins and Minerals assist humans’ normal growth and development. Each one plays a unique role in help maintaining human health. For example， vitamin D and calcium are necessary for healthy bones, and the B vitamins help support the nervous system according to a president-elect of the DC Metro Area Dietetic Association.
A large number of vitamins and minerals are contained in vegetables and fruits, dairy products and lean protein.
Water is key to a human's body because it is involved in many of body’s vital functions such as deliver nutrients，speed up the circulation of excretion and protect tissues and organs. Men consume about 125 ounces of water a day and women 91 ounces per day. 20% of water comes from food, and the remaining 80 percent should be from drinking water – about 12 cups a day for men and 8.8 cups for women. Therefore, drinking enough water is good to body’s metabolism.
A balanced diet means a proportionally appropriate intake of each five nutrients in daily meals. Having a strong body can only from eating healthily and exercise adequately.