The United States has a rising obesity rate, and with that comes more fad diets than ever before. While wanting to be healthy is great, it’s important to be aware of what nutrients your body needs in order to ensure that the diet you’re following isn’t harming your body. Many popular diets exclude entire food groups, and nutrients like fats and carbs are demonized even in casual conversations.
This is why if you would like to go on a diet or start a weight loss program, it is best to consult with medical professionals. They will be able to advise you on the appropriate adjustments to your lifestyle in order to ensure that in your quest for health and fitness, you’re not doing anything that could hurt your body – like not getting essential nutrients.
Here is what you need to know about the essential nutrients you need and how to determine a good diet from a bad diet. Bear in mind that this blog is meant for general informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. For advice on what your body specifically needs, you will need to talk to your doctor.
Nutrients Your Body Needs
Essential nutrients are defined as nutrients that your body either cannot make or cannot make enough of, even though they are vital to your general health, disease prevention, and growth. These nutrients must come from your diet. Here are the 6 main categories of nutrients and why your body needs them.
Your body needs protein for cell repair, tissue formation, and enzyme and hormone production. It’s vital for a healthy immune system and building muscle.
Vegans and vegetarians sometimes struggle to get enough protein in their diets. Nuts, beans, quinoa, and the like are all ways to incorporate more protein into your food if you do not eat meat.
Carbs get a very bad name, with popular diets like the keto diet cutting them down significantly and other diets cutting them out entirely. People think that carbs are fattening. However, your body needs carbs for energy and in order to form structural constituents for cell formation. If you cut out carbs, you’re cutting out your body’s main source of energy.
Another essential nutrient that gets demonized, your body needs fats in order to store energy, protect your organs, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control, support cell growth, and to help with nutrient absorption.
While high amounts of saturated fats, as found in beef and cheese, contain high amounts of calories and can raise your cholesterol level, unsaturated fats, as found in avocados and nuts, can raise your “good” cholesterol levels, decreasing your risk of heart disease.
This one probably doesn’t come as a surprise. Your body needs vitamins for normal functions and processes. Different vitamins do different things. If you are eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, you should be able to get all the vitamins you need from the food you eat, but supplements are available if you are lacking in something.
Another essential nutrient that you probably know about, your body needs minerals for body processes, proper cell function, and body tissue. The same as with vitamins, if you eat a healthy, varied diet, you’re probably getting most of the minerals that you need. However, you can also purchase them in supplement form. Some minerals, like fluoride, are added to tap water, due to how they prevent cavities and promote good health.
Yes, water counts as a nutrient. While drinking water is the obvious way to get this essential nutrient into your system, you can also get water from the foods you eat, like watermelon. It can be challenging for some to stay hydrated if they do not like the taste of water or simply prefer other beverages.
However, water helps with maintaining your body temperature, transporting nutrients, and transporting waste for disposal. We’re made of mostly water, so we need a lot of it to stay healthy.
How To Determine A Good Diet From A Bad Diet
Generally speaking, you want to avoid diets that cut out entire food groups. Good diets typically let you have a bit of everything, with a focus on whole foods over processed foods. Your diet should typically include all the essential nutrients, with enough calories for your body to thrive.
However, there are certain medical conditions where doctors will actually recommend avoiding certain food groups. For example, if you have kidney disease, it may be recommended that you cut down on protein.
If you need help determining a good diet from a bad diet or you have concerns about certain nutrients and their impact on your body, consult with one of the experts here at Life Health Medical Center. We’ll advise you on the appropriate diet for your body and health needs.