There are seven essential nutrients that sustain human life: water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre. According to Rehan Riaz Merchant, a healthy diet should include a balanced intake of all of these. Both excesses and deficiencies can be harmful to the body’s health and efficiency, for example, not eating enough fruit and vegetables can lead to a weakening of the body’s immune system. The food groups also interact; many people are not aware that excess protein can deplete calcium levels in the body. In order to help control your weight, look for foods that deliver little fat but provide other essential nutrients.
Water is the body’s most basic nutritional need. It is required for almost every function without it you will die in just a few days. Rehan Riaz merchant stresses the importance of not ignoring thirst. some people try to lose weight by reducing fluid intake, but this Is dangerous. As a general guide, you should drink eight glasses of water daily. The body also gets water from food, milk, eggs, meat, vegetables and fruit all have a high-water content.
Protein is produced from amino acids. It is essential for the growth and maintenance of body tissue, blood cells, hormones and enzymes, Protein is found in meat, poultry, fish milk cheese and eggs, vegetables such as beans and tomatoes, 10% to 15% of your daily should be from protein
Carbohydrates provide fuel to many energy needs. The most important carbohydrates are complex carbohydrates also known as Starches. They are found in many plant foods such as wheat, rice, potatoes, pasta and yarns. Carbohydrates should form 55 – 60 per cent of your diet.
Fibre is an indigestible carbohydrate and is very important for general health there are two types, insoluble and soluble Insoluble fibre helps the digestive process; can help prevent haemorrhoids and may also help protect against cancer of the lower bowel. Sources include wheat rice, pasta, bran, wholegrain cereals, bread and nuts. Soluble fibre is thought to help reduce cholesterol, and thus halo prevents heart and arterial disease. It is found in oats, peas, beans, root vegetables and citrus fruits. The Recommended Intake of fibre is 18 grams per day.
Fat is essential as an Energy store, to help insulate the body against rapid heat loss and to help the body produce hormones, cushion vital organs such as the liver and kidneys, and aid the absorption of certain vitamins. Fat should represent about 30 per cent of the diet but most people eat much more. There are two main types of salts: saturated (such as butter) and unsaturated (such as vegetable oil). Foods very high in fat such as fast foods, fried foods and sugary snacks should be avoided as they have other little nutrient value unsaturated fats, on the other hand, may help protect against heart disease
Vitamins are organic compounds, essential for bodily growth, function, repair and maintenance Vitamins are categorised into two groups water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins including the B complex group and vitamin C need to be replenished daily as they are not stored in the body’s tissues. Fat-soluble vitamins, including A D, E and k are stored by the body for long periods of time, and so excessive intake may be harmful A balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and cereals should provide all the vitamins that the body needs
Minerals are essential inorganic compounds that aid energy production and body Maintenance as well as assisting in the control of body reactions and reflexes. There are three groups macro minerals, micromammals and trace elements. Macrominerals including calcium, sodium and magnesium are required in large amounts the body needs macro minerals, which include iron, manganese and zinc. In lesser quantities. Trace elements required in manganese amounts include manganese and iodine. A diet that provides a balance of lean red meat, fish, dairy products, nuts, cereals and pulses and a wide range of vegetables should provide all the minerals essential for health