Nutrition. The 4 Basic Nutrients.

Nutrition. The 4 Basic Nutrients.

** Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. To be able to choose the proper foods, and to better understand why those foods should be supported with supplements, you need to have a clear idea of the components of a healthy diet. It is now a requirement that all the packaged foods have a nutrition label that tells the consumer what is actually inside the package. Keep in mind that all fresh, minimally processed foods, such as grains purchased in bulk, meats, fruits, and vegetables, do not carry labels. However, they are inherently healthier than packaged foods because they have more beneficial nutrients and fewer harmful ones. 
The Four Basic Nutrients- water, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats - are the basic building blocks of a good diet. By choosing the healthiest forms of each of these nutrients and eating them in a proper balance, you enable your body to function at its optimal level.
The human body is two-thirds water. Water is an essential nutrient that is involved in every function of the body. It helps transport nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. It is necessary for all digestive, absorptive, circulatory, and excretory functions, as well as for the utilization of the water-soluble vitamins. It is also needed for the maintenance of proper body temperature.
Ingesting and adequate amount of water each day (at least 8 -ounce glasses) - whether by food or water - is essential to maintain good health.
Carbohydrates supply the body with the energy it needs to function. They are found almost exclusively in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, peas, grains, and beans. Milk and milk products are the only foods derived from animals that contains carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are divided into two groups - simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates, sometimes called simple sugars, include fructose (fruit sugar) , sucrose (table sugar), and lactose (milk sugar), as well as several other sugars. Fruits are one of the richest natural sources of simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are also made up of sugars, but the sugar molecules are strung together to form longer, more complex chains. Complex carbohydrates include fiber ad starches. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include vegetables, whole grains, peas and beans.
Protein is essential for growth and development. It provides the body with energy, and is needed for the manufacture of hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and tissues. It also helps maintain the proper acid-alkali balance in the body. When protein is consumed, the body breaks it down into amino acids, the building blocks of all proteins.
Because of the importance of consuming proteins that provide all of the necessary amino acids, dietary proteins are considered to belong to two different groups, depending on the amino acids they provide. Complete proteins, which constitute the first group, contain ample amounts of all the essential amino acids. These proteins are found in meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, and milk. Incomplete proteins, which is the second group, contain only some of the essential amino acids. These proteins are found in a variety of foods, including grains, legumes, and leafy green vegetables.
Although much attention has been focused on the need to reduce dietary fat, the body needs fat. During the infancy and childhood, fat is necessary for normal brain development. 

Besides these main nutrients our body also needs vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. 

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