A healthy diet is one that contains all the essential nutrients that will maintain hormonal balance to ensure that the body’s different systems will function properly and will result to a strong resistance to ordinary diseases to keep the body in a healthy disposition.
For this purpose, the essential nutrients are enumerated below:
1. Vitamin A is a nutrient that promotes good eyesight and can keep the body’s immune system responsive in fighting-off diseases. Vitamin A is found abundantly in dairy products, dark leafy green vegetables, and yellow fruits.
2. Vitamin B1 is also called thiamine and can help the body in absorbing carbohydrates. Examples of foods rich in thiamine are pasta, cereals, and whole grain breads.
3. Vitamin B2 is known as riboflavin or B2. It aids metabolism by converting food into energy. It’s important for red blood cell formation. B2 is mostly found in asparagus, eggs, meat almonds, and fortified cereal.
4. Vitamin B3 (niacin) helps in the digestive processes as well as conversion of food into energy. B3 can be found in white meats like lean chicken, turkey, salmon, and tuna. You can also get B3 from fortified cereals, enhanced flour, and peanuts.
5. Vitamin B6 is essential in keeping a sound nervous system as it helps in breaking down stored sugar and protein. Good sources of B6 are light chicken meat, turkey, eggs, fortified soy-based meat substitutes, fortified cereals, bananas and baked unpeeled potatoes.
6. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient vital to red blood cell formation and is usually found in soybeans, marine products like clams, mussels and crabs, fresh water salmon, poultry meat, and beef.
7. Vitamin C is versatile but its most important function is in promoting the production of chemicals for the brain’s neurotransmitters and reinforcing the body’s resistance against common diseases.
Foods rich in vitamin C are berries (red and blue types), citrus fruits, dark and leafy green vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green or red bell peppers.
8. Vitamin D, this nutrient is essential to calcium production, which is critical to the formation of bone and teeth mass. Sunlight up to 8:30 am can be a great source of vitamin D. It can also be found in cheese, fortified milk, salmon, cereals, and egg yolks.
9. Vitamin E is a well-known antioxidant that plays an important role in keeping the skin healthy. You can get a lot of Vitamin E from hazelnuts, almonds, in leafy green vegetables, soybeans, and vegetable oils like canola and sunflower.
10. Folic acid is a required nutrient among pregnant women as it plays an important role in cell formation to prevent birth defect, maintain a healthy heart, and in the production of red blood cells. Folic acid is found abundant in dark and leafy green vegetables, grain products, fortified cereal, bean, lentil, garbanzos, and lima beans.
11. Copper is essential for proper metabolism of iron mineral, red blood cell formation, and helps in the conversion of energy for cell absorption. Foods high in copper are organ meats, marine products like clams, crabs and oysters, whole grain products, wheat bran cereals, cocoa products, and sunflower seeds.
12. Iron is an important nutrient for red blood cells in connection with its function of supplying oxygen to the body during blood circulation. Good sources of iron are shellfish, poultry, lean red meat, soy foods, beans, and dark and leafy vegetables.
13. Potassium, is very vital in the performance of the nervous and muscular systems and also assists in ensuring there is a healthy balance of water between blood and body tissues. Foods rich in potassium are bananas, raisin, unpeeled potatoes, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, broccoli, and orange juice.
14. Zinc plays a very important role in supporting the body’s auto-immune system, the nervous system, and the reproductive system. Good sources of dietary zinc are dairy products, red meat, fortified red cereals, peanuts, almonds, soy foods, chickpeas, and oysters.
15. Protein is an important nutrient for the muscles along with its tendons and ligament and their formation for healthy organs and for proper gland functions because each cell and all body fluids excluding urine and bile have protein content. Protein is essential for growing children and elemental to adult diet. Foods rich in protein are meat milk and beans.
16. Complex carbohydrates provide stability to blood sugar by providing the body, particularly the brain and the nervous system, the energy it needs. We can get complex carbohydrates from whole grain breads, cereals, and starchy vegetables.
17. Essential fatty acids that help in the process of metabolism are found abundant in fish, shellfish, leafy green vegetables, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, canola oil, and walnuts.