Looking to lose weight? Try our FREE Calorie Counter »  |  Log In
Articles Fitness Nutrition

A Guide to Essential Vitamins & Nutrients

The human body needs food in order to produce energy and function properly. This is accomplished by consuming all the vitamins and nutrients needed each and every day through eating food or taking supplements.

Macronutrients Vs Micronutrients

Most foods have in them a combination of these two types of nutrients and will fall into one of these two groups.

Macronutrients 

These are the primary sources of energy that give the human body the energy needed for growth, repair and reproducing. The things that provide energy are primarily carbohydrates and fats, while proteins provide the building blocks for growth and maintenance of the body. Examples of macronutriets are:

  • Carbohydrates - These provide the body with its main source of energy and includes all starches and sugars. Starches are a complex carbohydrate and this means they are generally more filling and contain more nutrients than other forms. Carbohydrates can be found in almsot every type of food available.
  • Fats - Fats are rich in energy, more so than any other type of food source. Unsaturated fat, which stays in a liquid state at room temperature, is the "good fat" while saturated fat is considered the "bad fat".
  • Proteins - These are various forms of meat as well as different forms of tofu. Good sources of protein include: fish, red meat, soy products and wheat germ.

Micronutrients

These are needed in smaller amounts and are gained through vitamins and minerals. Most people get these through vitamin supplement pills as in a daily multivitamin. These are also broken down into different groups:

  • Water Soluble Viatmins - These are vitamins which break down quickly in the body and need to be replaced on a regular basis. Becuase they are soluble in water, they leave the body faster. Examples of water soluble vitamins are: B-complex and C.
  • Fat Soluble Vitamins - These vitamins are much more resilient and stay in the human body for a much longer time making them much more effective over time. These types of vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues and are eliminated from the body much more slowly than water soluble vitamins. Examples of fat soluble vitamins are: Vitamin D (good source of calcium), Vitamin E (antioxidants) and Vitamin K (helps promote blood health and clotting.

 

How Much Does the Body Need?

Based on body height, weight and age, the amount of essential vitamins and nutrients needed each day varies from person to person but there are general guidelines. All foods require a list of ingredients as well as nutritional information be placed on them and these will tell you how much, in a percentage, each serving will provide. These numbers are also based on a how many calories a day are in a person's diet so, knowing your caloric intake is important as well when making sure you get the recommended daily allowance of essential vitamins & nutrients. FirDay tracks all the major nutrients for you making this task much easier.

Along witha balanced diet, taking a multivitamin supplement can go a long way in making sure you are getting all of the essential vitamins & nutrients you need. Be sure to pick a supplement targeted to your needs to get the most benefit.

Article Comments