A growing body requires fruits and vegetables to promote good health. In fact, these form the foundation of healthy diet. It is best if people double the amount of fruits and vegetables they eat daily.
Why vegetables are important to us
Eating vegetables provides plenty of health benefits. People eating vegetables and fruits do not become victims of chronic diseases. This is because vegetables provide the required nutrients and vitamins essential for health and body maintenance.
‘Eat vegetables’; you must have heard this all your life as your mom serves it with your favorite cheese and meatloaf. It is now the medical experts also ask you to add veggies to your diet. In fact, it is recommended for each person to have five servings at least of the vegetables and fruit each day to ensure good health.
Taking the health concerns further, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends vegetables and fruits nine servings every day. This reveals the fact that vegetable are important to us as it has essential nutrients, vitamins and fiber in good quantities.
What are the various and essential nutrients needed for the body
Nutrients provide nourishment to grow and maintain life. It entails micronutrients, amino acids, fatty acids and many substances required for your body to thrive, survive and function. Generally, these are acquired through that you drink, eat or have as diet supplement.
The 11 Essential Nutrients Your Body Needs
These are critical for body functioning as it breaks glucose that is the main fuel source for brain and body. It stabilizes the levels of blood sugar and preserves muscle mass by averting the proteins breakdown for energy.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with important vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits are few examples of healthy complex carbohydrates fueling your body and supplying a mega dose of nutrients.
Right from muscle forming to new hormones and enzymes creating, there is a need for enough protein in your diet. They are the building blocks referred to as amino acids composed of peptides.
The nine essential amino acids are Histidine, Lysine, Leucine, valine, tryptophan, isoleucine, Methionine, Phenylalanine and Threonine.
Animal proteins give adequate essential amino acids than the plant-based proteins that lack in one or the other. Eating adequate proteins means include protein foods such as eggs, meat, nuts, dairy and beans.
Same as carbohydrates, fat is required nutrient, though it has a bad reputation. Fat is required as it provides energy and protect organs from damage.
Some types of fat such as Trans fats, found in baked goods, processed foods, and shortening promote the risk of heart disease and must be avoided.
On the other hand, unsaturated fats help to safeguard heart and assist in heart disease prevention. Healthy fat sources include salmon, nuts, avocados, olive oil, nut kinds of butter, and flaxseed.
This is a must for survival that you can go even without food. Water is essential in digestion, waste removal and regulation of temperature.
Take in water with foods that you eat. Fruits and vegetables have higher water content and keep you hydrated.
Vitamins such as vitamin A and C, folate is essential. There are vitamins in different types and role, but all are important to maintain optimal health. There may be small differences in the vitamins amounts for men versus women, but these are essential vitamins your body requires: Vitamin A, C, D, E, K and B.
The best way is to eat a balanced and healthy diet featuring plenty of fruits and vegetables. A multivitamin also helps filling the gaps.
Minerals also are important for body function and to stay healthy. The minerals required for your body includes: iron, sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, trace minerals and phosphorous.
These are available through food, and eating nutritious diet is essential to prevent deficiencies.
Calcium is required for bone health. The teeth and bones have 99% calcium. Calcium is required for blood movement and nerve function.
It is found naturally in leafy greens, dairy products, white beans and fish types such as salmon and sardines.
Sodium is related to high blood pressure, but it is required to maintain health. It regulates blood volume and fluid balance, keeping your muscles and nerves working correctly.
Sodium should be taken in moderation and it is found in foods such as nuts, seeds, meats, vegetables, legumes and grains. Minimize taking canned meats, salty snacks, frozen foods and ultra-processed foods.
Potassium helps to maintain blood pressure and fluid balance. It is required for heart health, muscle contractions and pH level regulation so that it prevents from becoming acidic.
Potassium is in bananas and also in tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, salmon, avocados and more.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Right from heart disease prevention to health, omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for health. These are polyunsaturated fat that is regarded essential fatty acid.
Fish varieties such as mackerel, salmon, and sardines are best sources. Plant foods such as walnuts, flax, chia seeds also contain in good quantities the omega 3 fats.
This is the sunshine vitamin that is important to get. It is essential to absorb calcium and also for good bone health, thus prevent osteoporosis. It also influences muscle function and strengthens the immune system.
Vitamin D is produced by sun exposure in the skin and can be obtained through foods in very small quantities such as eggs, fish and mushrooms.
Segregate by vitamins and nutrients (for eg. Vitamin A – how does vitamin A helps body, in which vegetable is it available, how much quantity should we consume per day of that vitamin)
The main health benefit is the high nutrient quantity in the vegetables. Vegetables are loaded with minerals and vitamins and these contribute to the maintenance and growth of good health.
Essential nutrients are that the body cannot produce to your requirement and so these must be included in food so that they prevent disease and ensure good health.
There are many essential nutrients and are broken into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. The former is eaten in large amounts and included as building blocks providing the body with energy: fat, protein and carbohydrates. The latter represents the vitamins and minerals taken in small doses and it goes a long way. There are six essential groups of micronutrients and macronutrients.
We need nutrients such as fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and iron to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here is a list of nutrients required for our body and suggested is the exact amount that a person should eat per day. (1 microgram is 1/1000th of a milligram)
This is the most required nutrient. It helps in regulating metabolism, bolstering the immune system, supports body systems and forms blood cells. If you are into sports or do a regular workout, you require additional protein for building muscle new tissues and also for repairing damaged tissues. Protein deficiency leads to weight loss, hair thinning, malnutrition, weakness, and lethargy and muscle soreness.
Foods to eat are legumes, pulses, milk, nuts, dairy products, fish, egg, and chicken. Vegetarians also can include chickpeas, oats, quinoa and flax seeds.
Consume per day: 0.8-1 g per kg as per your bodyweight
Carbohydrates are in food items such as potatoes, bread, banana, cereals, jackfruits, sugar, etc. They perform crucial functions such as storing energy, and other immune system functions, blood clotting, etc. Carbs also are regarded dangerous, but it must not be cut completely from diets. At the same time, excessive consumption will result in obesity.
Consume per day: 40-60% of the calories in total
Eating fats in moderation is best, but a deficiency of fats can lead to issues such as night blindness and rough skin. Overconsumption is responsible for obesity. The fat foods are cheese, ghee, cream, butter, seed, nuts, egg, fish, pork, chicken and beef.
Consume per day: 15-25% of total calories or 3-4 servings maximum (It means one serving tablespoon)
Vitamins are organic substances that can be broken down by our body and also alter based on its need. They are required in small amounts but are essential for survival. Basically, they are of two types: fat-soluble (A, D, E and K) and water-soluble (B and C). The fat-soluble vitamins gets stored in fatty tissues and circulate in the blood, so there is no need for it to be eaten daily. While, the water-soluble vitamins do not get stored and circulate freely, so there is a need to eat them frequently.
Vitamin A is important for bone growth, vision, immunity and reproduction. Having vitamin A in high quantities reduces the risk of many cancer types. The vegetable sources are carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, kale and spinach. You can also include vegetable chunky or canned soup readily available.
Consume per day: 700 to 900 micrograms
Vitamin D is accountable for intestinal absorption of nutrients such as phosphate and calcium and also helps in maintaining and forming of teeth and bones. This is a nutrient that is not present naturally in the body. However, it is produced by the body from sunlight. It is present in foods such as liver and egg yolks. Lack of vitamin D can result in osteoporosis, bone and muscle weakness, flattening of skull at the back. However, too much also leads to slowed physical and mental growth, nausea, decreased appetite and vomiting.
Consume per day: 15 micrograms
This vitamin protects the body from infection and helps grow new blood cells. Taking enough quantity is essential to prevent fighting off infections. You can find vitamins E in seeds, nuts, vegetables and oils. They act as antioxidant and safeguards vitamins A and C and the red blood from destruction. This vitamin benefits your hair and skin. In vegetables, broccoli and spinach, but avocados are also abundant with vitamin E. They are also in soybean, cottonseed, corn and egg yolk.
Consume per day: 15 micrograms
This vitamin is responsible for blood clotting. People with a deficiency of vitamin K may have bruising, hemorrhaging and bleeding. This vitamin is found in spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, broccoli, cabbage and leafy green vegetables. Even oils such as cottonseed, soybean, olive and canola are opulent in vitamin K.
Consume per day: 120 micrograms
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
B1 produces energy in the body and its deficiency can cause sensation loss, numbness and tingling. It is available in non-vegetarian food such as eggs, pork and liver, and also in cereals, bread and whole grain.
Consume per day: 0.8-1 mg per day
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 promotes healthy skin and good vision. Lack of vitamin B2 will result in mouth corners crack, sore tongue and light sensitivity. Eat dark green vegetables, enriched and whole grain products, legumes, milk, eggs and liver.
Consume per day: 1.1-1.3 mg
It helps in healing wounds, facilitates tooth and bone formation, improves immune system functioning, strengthens blood vessel walls, promotes the utilization and absorption of iron and safeguards the body from viruses and infections. Lack of vitamin C leads to loss of collagen strength which means loose teeth, swollen and bleeding gums, improper healing of wound and victim of scurvy, while the excess leads to kidney stones formation and diarrhea.
The vegetables to be included as the inclusion of vitamin C are green and red peppers, baked potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes and citrus fruits such as lemon and orange.
Consume per day: 70 to 90 mg
Iron is the main component of hemoglobin; the red blood cells substance carries oxygen from lungs and transports it throughout the body. Actually, Hemoglobin is around two-thirds of the iron present in the body. If you lack iron, your body is not capable of making healthy iron enough to carry oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Lack of it leads to dizziness, anemia and fainting. Foods such as beef, eggs, beans and lentils are also rich in iron.
Consume per day: Women 18mg and Men 8mg
Calcium is a must for bone growth, muscle contraction, strength, blood clotting and nerve signals transmission. The absence of calcium may result in thinning and bone weakening. Foods that are calcium-rich are milk, spinach and yoghurt.
Consume per day: 1000 mg
Eating a diet abundant with vegetables, fruits, fats, healthy proteins and whole grains is a wonderful way of getting essential nutrients. Consuming the above food items in right amount leads to a healthy and long life. These micro and macronutrients are crucial for normal body functioning and to stay healthy.