10 Nutrients and Their Functions

A regular diet often falls short of including all essential nutrients. A well-balanced diet with nutrient-rich foods like nuts, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables is certain to help.

Sliced Broccoli

Certain nutrients that are missing from the day-to-day diet can pose health risks. Nutrients often deficient in a diet includes fiber, potassium, vitamin D, and calcium. Other essential nutrients like magnesium, choline, and vitamins A, C, E and K are quite questionable in relation to the daily intake.

Here are 10 of the beneficial nutrients and the role played in our health and well-being:

1 – Calcium

Calcium is essential for strong and healthy bones. Also, calcium has the potential to help protect the arteries and heart. It has the ability to cut the risk of certain cancers, such as breast cancer. A high percentage of adults and children fall short of the recommended intake for this nutrient.

Daily intake – Men: 1,000 mg of calcium per day, which is increased to 1,200 mg per day after the age of 70. Women: 1,000 mg of dietary calcium daily, which climbs to 1,200 after age 50.

Calcium is best sourced from standard milk or milk products like calcium-fortified orange juice, low-fat cheeses, fortified cereals, calcium-enriched tofu, and yogurt. Items like low-fat cheese, yogurt, and milk are also great for providing potassium and protein.

2 – Choline

Choline isn’t one of the most well-known nutrients, but is key to maintaining and building healthy cells. This nutrient is critical for nerve and muscle function.

Daily intake – A daily intake of choline is 550 milligrams daily for men and 425 milligrams for women.

Eat peas, dry beans (cooked), and eggs to get a regular intake of this nutrient. Peas and beans are also nutrient rich in other areas, including potassium, magnesium, protein, and folate.

3 – Fiber

A regular intake of fiber is needed to keep digestion active, maintain a healthy weight, and give protection against type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Fiber is the rich parts of plant food.

Daily intake – A well-balanced diet should include about 13 grams of fiber per 1,200 calories. So, an ideal intake is in the region of 28-34 grams daily.

Fiber is easily added to the diet with nuts, peas, cooked dry beans, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Lentils and beans have the added benefit of also including magnesium and potassium. Nuts are high in unsaturated oils and give extra protection against stroke or heart attacks.

4 – Magnesium

Magnesium is needed to control 300 plus bio-chemical reactions. The body benefits from a healthy immune system, maintains bone strength, and regulates blood pressure.

Daily intake – A daily requirement for magnesium is 400 milligrams for males aged 19-30, and rises to 420 milligrams thereafter. The magnesium requirement for females aged 19-30 is 310 milligrams daily, which increases to 320 milligrams.

Natural food sources of magnesium include lentils, beans, spinach, oatmeal, nuts, peanut butter, and halibut. Extra nutrients from these foods include plant-based proteins and fiber from lentils and beans. Also, fish and nuts are rich in unsaturated fats which can help to avoid heart disease.

5 – Potassium

A low intake of potassium can result in raised blood pressure. Also, not getting the right amount of potassium can lead to serious health issues, such as osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Daily intake – A preferred intake of potassium is in the region of 4,700mg daily.

Potassium is easily sourced in orange juice, fish, bananas, yogurt, lentils, peas, carrots, beans, spinach, tomatoes, and potatoes. A regular diet consisting of fruit and vegetables is certain to increase the daily intake of vitamins A, C & K.

6 – Vitamin A

Vitamin A is beneficial for maintaining a healthy immune system and eyesight. This nutrient is also helpful in various physiological roles, such as tissue growth.

Daily intake – A daily intake of vitamin A is 900 milligrams for men and 700 milligrams for women.

A regular intake of vitamin A is possible by adding romaine lettuce, collard greens, spinach, winter squash, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes to a well-balanced diet plan. A lot of bright colored and dark green vegetables are loaded with fiber and other nutrients that are missing from a diet.

7 – Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a must-have nutrient for helping to maintain a strong immune system. This type of ascorbic acid is a potent antioxidant and has the potential to cut the risk of certain cancers. It also helps with healing wounds.

Daily intake – A preferred intake of vitamin C is 90 milligrams per day for men and 75 milligrams for women.

Easy sources of the nutrient include Brussels sprouts, red peppers, peaches, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, guava, citrus fruit, cauliflower, and kiwi fruit. Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetable also include other beneficial nutrients, like vitamins A & K, as well as fiber.

8 – Vitamin D

Vitamin D is naturally produced by the skin when the human body is outside in the sun. Certain individuals that spend a lot of time inside might not get the desired exposure to sunlight and the resulting vitamin D. This essential nutrient is needed for maintaining and building strong bones.

Daily intake – A suggested intake of vitamin D is in the region of 600 IU (international units) per day, which increases to 80 IUs for those aged 70 plus.

Vitamin D is found in a variety of food sources, including fortified orange juice, vitamin D-fortified milk, tuna, rockfish, and salmon. A further benefit of eating fish is the increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help with memory problems (age related) and protects the heart.

9 – Vitamin E

A potent antioxidant like vitamin E can help to neutralize the non-stable oxygen molecules, which is needed to avoid cell damage that can result in serious health complaints like cancer. A severe deficiency of this essential nutrient can lead to nerve damage.

Daily intake – Aim to get at least 15 milligrams daily.

Easy sources of vitamin E include safflower oil, cottonseed oil, sardines, sunflower oil, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, avocados, and almonds. Also, nuts can give the extra benefit of protecting against heart disease because they are high in unsaturated fats.

10 – Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a must-have nutrient to promote proper blood clotting. It also helps with cell growth and bone mineralization. A deficiency in vitamin K can result in brittle bones, nosebleeds, and easy bruising.

Daily intake – A regular intake is 120 micrograms daily for men and 90 micrograms for women.

Brussels sprouts, beet greens, collard greens, kale, broccoli, mustard greens, and spinach are great food sources to find vitamin K. Eat more dark left green vegetables to increase the intake of fiber and vitamin A & C.

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