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Nutrients

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Nutrients are substances or nourishments that provides nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life. See digestion, absorption and food.

  • Nutrients Nutrients are needed for life. They are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, vitamins, and minerals. The body uses nutrients to grow, work, and fix itself. Everyone needs nutrients from food, but different amounts are needed depending on a person’s age, gender, and physical activity level. There are two types of nutrients:
  • Macronutrients are needed in larger amounts and include carbohydrates, protein, fats, and water.
  • Micronutrients are needed in smaller amounts than macronutrients and include vitamins and minerals. Nutrients are needed for life. They are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, vitamins, and minerals. The body uses nutrients to grow, work, and fix itself.
  • Calories Calories measure the energy found in food. Just as minutes measure time and inches measure length, calories measure the amount of energy found in a food. The body needs energy to function, which is why food is needed for life. Calories are found in carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and alcohol. Calories measure the energy found in food. The body needs energy to function, which is why food is needed for life. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, lean meats, and lowfat dairy foods.
  • Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Carbohydrates are found in most foods and come in two forms:
  • Simple carbohydrates (also known as simple sugars) give you quick energy and are found naturally in foods like fruits, vegetables, and milk. Some simple carbohydrates, such as white or brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, or honey, are often added to foods.
  • Complex carbohydrates (also known as starches) give you longer lasting energy and can be found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. One gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. One gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Beans, fruits, lowfat dairy foods, vegetables, whole grains (such as whole wheat bread or crackers, brown rice, oatmeal), and nuts.
  • Fiber Fiber is found only in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. Fiber comes in two forms:
  • Insoluble fiber is known as “roughage” and helps move food through the body to prevent constipation. It also helps control blood sugar levels.
  • Soluble fiber helps pull cholesterol out of the body. It also helps control blood sugar levels and keep food in the stomach longer so that you feel full. Fiber may also help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
  • Fiber It helps you feel full, keep normal blood sugar levels, and avoid constipation. It is found only in plant foods. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Beans, blackberries, dates, peas, pears, pumpkin, raspberries, whole wheat cereal, and whole wheat bread or crackers.
  • Fats Fats are nutrients that make cells, protect the body’s organs, and help absorb certain vitamins. Fats come in many forms and some are healthier than others:
  • Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are oils that help to lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels and may raise the “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are found in plants, nuts, and fish.
  • Saturated fats and trans fats are solid fats that raise the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. Trans fats also lower the “good” (HDL) cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are normally found in animal products (butter, whole milk, beef, and pork), while trans fats come from hydrogenated vegetable oils (shortening, and margarine) used in pre-cooked foods (fried foods, cakes, crackers). One gram of fat has 9 calories. Fats are nutrients that make cells, protect the body’s organs, and help absorb certain vitamins. One gram of fat has 9 calories. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Avocado, canola oil, some fish, nuts, olives, and olive oil are all good sources of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
  • Proteins Proteins are nutrients found in both plant and animal sources. Proteins are made of amino acids, which the body uses to build and fix itself. There are two types of protein:
  • Complete proteins - Complete proteins are made of all of the amino acids the body needs to survive. Proteins from animal products (like meat, milk, and poultry) and soy beans are complete proteins.
  • Incomplete proteins - Incomplete proteins are missing one or more of the amino acids that the body needs to survive. Proteins from plant sources (like grains, fruits, and vegetables) are examples of incomplete proteins. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help the body get all of the amino acids it needs. One gram of protein has 4 calories. Proteins are nutrients that build and fix the cells that make up the body. One gram of protein has 4 calories. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Beans, eggs, fish, lean meats, lowfat dairy foods, poultry, and soy foods.
  • Water The body needs water to live. Water helps control the body’s temperature, use nutrients found in food, and carry oxygen from the lungs and food from the stomach to the rest of the body. Water helps avoid constipation and helps keep the eyes, nose, and mouth moist. The water found in fruits and vegetables helps people reach the total amount of fluids they need to drink each day. The body needs water to live. Water helps control the body’s temperature, use nutrients found in food, and carry oxygen from the lungs and food from the stomach to the rest of the body. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Plain water, water flavored with tea or coffee, and fruits and vegetables with large amounts of water (such as grapefruit, lettuce, and watermelon).
  • Vitamins and Minerals Vitamins and minerals are nutrients that are needed for the body to grow, work, and fix itself. People who eat a healthy, balanced diet with healthy choices from each food group will most likely get all the vitamins and minerals they need without taking pills or supplements. Vitamins and minerals are nutrients that are needed for the body to grow, work, and fix itself. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Beans, lowfat dairy products, fruits, lean meats, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Phytochemicals Phytochemicals (also known as phytonutrients) help boost the immune system and help lower the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. They are found only in plant foods. Different kinds of phytochemicals give fruits and vegetables their bright colors. Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is an easy way to get a combination of phytochemicals that can improve health. Phytochemicals (also known as phytonutrients) help boost the immune system and help lower the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. They are found only in plant foods. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Blueberries, broccoli, citrus fruits, soy foods, and tomatoes.
  • Antioxidants Antioxidants are a group of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that may lower the risk for some diseases by keeping the body safe from free radicals. Free radicals are a type of waste the body makes when it uses oxygen to make energy. Removing free radicals from the body may lower the risk of some types of cancer and help keep the immune system healthy. Antioxidants are a group of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that may lower the risk for some diseases by keeping the body safe from free radicals. Free radicals can hurt the body’s cells. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Artichokes, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, pecans, raspberries, strawberries, and walnuts.
  • Vitamin A Vitamin A helps maintain good vision, fight infection, support cell growth, and keep skin healthy. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant that helps to keep the body safe from free radicals. Vitamin A helps maintain good vision, fight infection, and keep skin healthy. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Dark orange vegetables (such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes) and dark leafy greens (such as kale, spinach, and turnip greens).
  • Thiamin Thiamin is also called vitamin B1. Thiamin helps keep the body’s nerves healthy. It also helps the body use the energy found in food. Thiamin is also called vitamin B1. Thiamin helps keep the body’s nerves healthy. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Fortified whole grain cereal, lean pork, lentils, peas, and pecans.
  • Riboflavin Riboflavin is also called vitamin B2. It helps turn food into energy and is important for healthy eyes and skin. Riboflavin is also called vitamin B2. It helps turn food into energy. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Lowfat milk, mushrooms, spinach, whole grain cereals, and zucchini. Vitamins
  • Vitamin B6 Vitamin B6 helps the body build healthy blood cells. Vitamin B6 is needed to help build proteins and release energy. It also helps build substances that fight infection, send signals to the brain, and control blood sugar levels. Vitamin B6 helps the body build healthy blood cells. Vitamin B6 is also needed to help build proteins and release energy. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Avocados, bell peppers, butternut squash, cauliflower, collard greens, and zucchini.
  • Folate Folate is a vitamin that helps make healthy red blood cells and lower a woman’s risk of having a child with certain birth defects. It is also being studied for its ability to help protect against heart disease. Folate is a vitamin that helps make healthy red blood cells and lower a woman’s risk of having a child with certain birth defects. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Avocados, blackeye peas, broccoli, fortified breakfast cereals and breads, okra, oranges, pinto beans, asparagus, and spinach.
  • Vitamin C Vitamin C helps the body heal cuts and wounds and helps lower the risk of infection. Vitamin C also keeps the body from bruising and helps build the tissue that holds muscles and bones together. It also helps the body absorb the iron found in foods. Vitamin C is found only in plants. Vitamin C helps the body heal cuts and wounds and helps lower the risk of infection. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Bell peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit), cantaloupe, cauliflower, kiwifruit, mustard greens, and strawberries.
  • Vitamin E Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the body’s cells. Vitamin E also helps the body use vitamin K and keep the immune system, skin, and hair healthy. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the body’s cells. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Nuts, oils (such as corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, and soybean oil), seeds, and wheat germ.
  • Vitamin K Vitamin K helps stop cuts and scrapes from bleeding too much and starts the healing process. Together with calcium, vitamin K helps build strong bones. Vitamin K may also help keep blood vessels healthy. Vitamin K helps stop cuts and scrapes from bleeding too much and starts the healing process. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Asparagus, broccoli, collard greens, kale, and spinach.
  • Calcium Calcium is a mineral that works with vitamin D and phosphorous to build strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps keep a healthy blood pressure, helps keep nerves healthy, and helps muscles move. Calcium is a mineral that works with vitamin D and phosphorous to build strong bones and teeth. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Almonds, calcium fortified orange juice and tofu, canned salmon, dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans, lowfat dairy foods, and cactus leaves (nopales).
  • Iron Iron is a mineral that helps move oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron also helps the body make new red blood cells and fight infections. Iron is a mineral that helps move oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Beans, lean beef, lentils, fortified cereal, prune juice, pumpkin seeds, and soy foods.
  • Magnesium Magnesium is a mineral that helps the body use the energy found in food. Magnesium also tells muscles to move. Together with calcium, magnesium works to build strong bones and helps vitamin C prevent infection. It may also help lower high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. Magnesium is a mineral that helps the body use the energy found in food. Magnesium also tells muscles to move. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Almonds, bran cereal, brown rice, peanuts, and spinach.
  • Potassium Potassium is a mineral that helps your brain tell muscles when to move. Potassium also helps keep a healthy blood pressure and helps the body use the energy found in carbohydrates. Potassium is a mineral that helps your brain tell muscles when to move. Potassium also helps keep a healthy blood pressure. Rich sources of the nutrient/food: Bananas, beans, oranges, prune juice, peas, raisins, spinach, and tomatoes.


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