The food we eat contains different types of nutrients. In order for the body to function optimally, it needs:
Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fat, Vitamins, Minerals & Water.
No single food or group of foods contains all the nutrition you need. Your body needs carbohydrates, fat and protein. Your body also needs vitamins and minerals. A regular and varied diet covers the body’s need for nutrients.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are found in all-natural foods, however, in different variations and amounts. In addition, each vitamin and mineral has its unique function (s) in the body. Among other things, they contribute to the body:
- Nutrient turnover
- Bone formation
- Tissues and red blood cells
- Antioxidant system
- Immune system
- Maintaining good health
Vitamins & Minerals Explained by Dr John Berardi
We cannot produce vitamins and minerals ourselves, so a varied diet is essential to contribute to the vitamins and minerals the body needs. The fat-soluble vitamins are found primarily in fatty foods, such as nuts, fish, avocados, meat and liver. The water-soluble vitamins are found in large quantities, for example in vegetables, fruit and grain products.
Minerals are found in various foods such as meat, fish, tap water, dairy products, eggs, vegetables, fruits, potatoes and cereals. In general, the body’s need for vitamins and minerals is covered in a regular and varied diet, which is why it is not necessary to supplement with vitamins and minerals.
There are only a few vitamins and minerals that are difficult to cover:
- Vitamin D is insufficient during the winter months and especially in the elderly who have a greater need than younger people.
- Iron and folate are often too low in women of childbearing age.
For example, the need for vitamin D is covered by the sun in the summer, while in the winter, you have to eat very fatty fish to cover your need for vitamin D.
Ask your doctor or a clinical dietitian whether you should supplement your diet with supplements. Depending on your fitness program, diet, and physique goals, you are covered mainly by eating healthy and variated food every day.
Proteins supply the body with energy (4 kcal per gram of protein)
Proteins are known as the building blocks of the body and are necessary for building and maintaining cells, tissues and the immune system, producing hormones and enzymes. Proteins are essential for staying alive, managing the basics of your body and health. Protein-rich foods give you a good satiety.
Good sources of Proteins are:
- Light meat, eg chicken and turkey
- Red meat, eg beef and pork
- Milk and dairy products, such as cheese and yoghurt
- Legumes, such as beans and lentils
- Cereal products
Carbohydrates supply the body with energy (4 calories per gram of carbohydrate) and are the body’s preferred source of energy. The coarse carbohydrates, dietary fiber, help maintain good intestinal function. In addition, carbohydrate-rich foods are good sources of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
Carbohydrates have a protein-saving effect by being the preferred source of energy. If the body gets enough energy from carbohydrates and fats, the body will utilize the protein in the diet to build and maintain cells and tissues.
There are different types of carbohydrates, simplified sugar, starch and dietary fiber.
Good sources of Sugar and Starch are:
- Dairy products
- Prefabricated sugary products
- Cereal products
Good sources of dietary Fiber are:
- Whole grain products, such as dark bread and oatmeal.
- Legumes, eg beans and lentils
Empty Calories: Soda, candy and cakes also contain many carbohydrates. They are popularly called “empty calories” because they are poor in vitamins and minerals.
Fat provides the body with energy (9 calories per gram of fat). When the body eats more energy than it burns, fat is stored in the body’s fat stores. Thus, dietary fat is used to supply energy, help the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K), and it is used to form hormones, among other things.
Good sources of dietary Fat are:
- Fatty fish, contributes with the essential omega 3 fatty acids)
- Fatty meat
- Vegetable oils, eg olive oil
- Other fatty dairy products
- Plant Seeds
Dietitians, doctors and health organizations recommend getting your fat from fish and vegetable sources and eating fewer fats from animal sources.
The Important Nutrients
Your body needs all three macronutrients, that’s whether you need to lose weight, gain weight or exercise a lot. It’s just the percentage distribution of them that varies.
Carbohydrates. Needed for your brain can keep focus and concentration throughout the day. If you exercise a lot, you also need carbohydrates.
Proteins. Essential for virtually all building processes in your body. In addition, proteins are good for dieting; they send satiety signals to the brain and increase your metabolism.
Fat. Healthy fats are indispensable for a wide range of processes in the body, including your nerve cells and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Nutrients & Training
A regular varied diet usually covers the body’s need for protein
It is vital to get enough protein when doing strength training
Between 1.5 – 1.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight per day is optimal
It is not harmful to health to take protein supplements if you are healthy.
Should you add protein powder to your diet?