The essential nutrients are those that our body cannot synthesize by itself. To obtain them, it is essential to have a good diet, healthy, and to ensure all these nutrients. Do you know which ones they are? Keep reading…
What are the essential nutrients?
Our body is able to synthesize a large amount of nutrients, however, there are others that do not. The essential nutrients cannot be synthesized by our body. That is why it is so important that our food (or supplementation) assures us that we will obtain the necessary amounts of these nutrients.
Among the essential nutrients are minerals, vitamins, proteins and fats (lipids). An example of an essential nutrient is calcium, necessary to maintain the health of our skeleton.
The essential nutrients for the human being are not the same as for other beings. A curiosity is that each species has its own.
Essential nutrients, macronutrients and micronutrients
We must not confuse essential nutrients with macronutrients.
Macronutrients and essential nutrients, are they the same?
A concept that is often confused is that of macronutrients with essential nutrients. The macronutrients must be consumed in great daily quantity and there are three:
- Proteins (amino acids)
- Carbohydrates (carbohydrates)
- Lipid fats)
In each of these groups we find essential nutrients. An example we can see in the group of proteins. Proteins are macromolecules formed by amonoacid chains. There are eight essential amino acids, which are those proteins that our body cannot produce by itself, and for that reason they are essential. The same goes for the other two types of macronutrients.
Are there essential micronutrients?
Among the micronutrients we also find essential nutrients. The micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. Unlike “macros”, micronutrients should be consumed in small quantities. Among the micronutrients we find a large amount of essential nutrients.
Supplementation or feeding?
One of the key issues of the issue of essential nutrients is whether we are able to obtain all those we need through food or if we must supplement them. A balanced and complete diet can supply all the nutritional needs.
The food must be rich in vegetables, legumes, cereals, meats, fish, and fresh foods and cooked at home (avoiding processed and ultra-processed). In addition, unnecessary sugars and unhealthy fats should be avoided.
Some of these nutrients cannot be taken in large quantities, as they can be toxic. However, others can be taken in large quantities without problem.
If the nutrient in question is a vitamin, hypervitaminosis can occur. Hypervitaminosis is the excessive accumulation of a vitamin. Hypervitaminosis of some vitamins can cause symptoms such as headache, vomiting or blurred vision. Generally these symptoms disappear leaving the supplementation of said vitamin.
Intoxications or hypervitaminosis are difficult to produce by feeding, so care should be taken with supplementation especially. We always recommend consulting a nutrition expert before supplementing any essential nutrient, mineral, vitamin, or any nutrient in general.