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Six Essential Nutrients and Their Function

There are six nutrients that are needed to live, and all of them come from different food sources.

The six essential nutrients are water, vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Three of them give calories and the other three do not. Water, vitamins, and minerals have no calories but give the body most of the essential nutrients it needs, such as Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin A, and Calcium. Fats, proteins and carbohydrates are the main holders of energy and provide the power needed to use our muscles and move. Each of the six essential nutrients has its own properties and performs a different function.

First up is water. Water lubricates all parts of the body and keeps arteries and veins flexible and hydrated. Water gives no calories and has absolutely no nutritional value. It contains no vitamins or minerals, but it extremely important. The human body is about 73% water. Water lets us move by lubricating our joints and ligaments and forms the discs in our spine that support our weight. Without water, the human body would be unable to move and would die in days.

Vitamins also contain no calories and come in forms of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K. Vitamin A is needed for proper growth and development, helps keep eyes moist, and improves eyesight. Vitamin B1 is needed for metabolism and growth. Vitamin B2 is similar but improves the metabolism of cells. Vitamin B6 is responsible for brain function, and Vitamin B12 improves brain function and helps prevent anemia. Vitamin C is one of the easiest vitamins to find in foods, and it keeps the immune system strong as well as keeping the tissue between cells together. Vitamin D allows bones and teeth to develop correctly, as well as having some cardiovascular benefits. Vitamin E helps heal scars and Vitamin K allows the blood to clot correctly. Vitamins are usually found in fruits and vegetables; green vegetables have the highest concentration of most vitamins. Darker green plants have more vitamins than lighter green plants, and since plants have low fat contents, they make excellent meals and are extremely healthy.

Minerals also contain no calories and mainly help bone and muscle growth. Chromium, copper, fluorine, manganese, selenium, and zinc, and calcium are minerals. Chromium is needed to maintain proper blood sugar levels, copper helps produce red blood cells and the formation of connective tissue. Fluorine is usually found in toothpaste and makes it easier to have healthy teeth. Manganese’s function is the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and proteins. Selenium protects cells from oxidant damage, zinc is needed for synthesis of DNA and RNA, similar to Manganese, and Calcium helps growth of bones and teeth. Minerals are found in vegetables and some meat products. Minerals like calcium are in dairy products and seafood has a lot of minerals. Foods containing minerals vary greatly, minerals can be found in healthy food like spinach or green beans, and also in less healthy food like dark chocolate.

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