12 Jul 2013

Essential Nutrients

Hi guys! I’m sorry I’ve been quiet the past week, but I have been working on a HUGE health post that is coming up right now :) This is going to be a very long post, but please bear with me because this is about something VERY IMPORTANT.

I was watching a documentary called “Food Matters” the other day, and they mentioned that there are two dozen nutrients that the body needs to function properly and that we should stride towards implementing in our everyday diet. I decided to do some research into this to see what our bodies actually need, because I could not think of over 20 vital things that our bodies need. A quick google search later I had found a page dedicated to all the essential nutrients (source).

What I found is that there are 24 specific things that your body needs: 2 essential fatty acids, 9
essential amino acids, 15 essential minerals and 14 essential vitamins. Something very interesting that I found was that we actually doesn’t need to eat any carbs. At all. Carbohydrates can be synthesized from amino acids and fatty acids, by de novo synthesis and we don’t really need to eat any extra carbs. I won’t argue that carbs are a great source of energy if you are a pro athlete or something like that, but I thought that it was an interesting fact that the human body actually don’t need carbs to function properly.

Down below I have listed all the 24 essential nutrients that our bodies needs, along with some examples of foods that contain a high value of that nutrient. Take the time to read through this list and see how many of these nutrients you knew about, and if you can check all of them off in your daily diet.

Essential fatty acids

1. Omega 3:
- Fish
- Fish oil
- Kiwi
- Chia seeds
- Flax seed
- Lingo berry
- Black raspberry
- Hempseeds
- Pecan nuts
- Hazel nuts
- Eggs
- Grass fed animal meat (especially kangaroo which I find a bit weird to eat :S)
- Mammalian brains and eyes (ewww!)
(
source)

2. Omega 6:
- Poultry
- Eggs
- Avocado
- Durum wheat
- Whole-grain breads
- Flaxseed oil
- Hemp oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower seed oil
- Pumpkin seeds
- Acai berry
- Cashews
- Pecans
- Pine nuts
- Walnuts
- Coconut


(source)


Essential Amino Acids

1. Isoleucine:
- Eggs
- Soy protein
- Seaweed
- Turkey
- Chicken
- Lamb
- Cheese
- Fish


(source)

2. Lysine:


- Catfish
- Chicken
- Beef
- Soybeans
- Lentils
- Parmesan cheese
- Milk, non-fat
- Pumpkin Seed
- Eggs- Peas
- Kidney bean
- Chickpeas
- Quinoa


(source)

3. Leucine: 


- Soybeans
- Beef
- Peanuts
- Salami
- Salmon
- Almonds
- Chicken
- Eggs
- Oats
- Lentils
- Chickpeas
- Corn
- Milk (high fat)
- Brown rice
- Breast milk (only for babies I suppose - and hope!)


(source)

4. Methionine:


- Eggs
- Sesame seeds
- Parmesan Cheese
- Brazil nuts
- Soy protein
- Chicken
- Tuna fish
- Beef
- Bacon
- Pork
- Oats
- Peanuts
- Chickpeas
- Corn
- Almonds
- Lentils
- Brown rice


(source)

5. Phenylalanine: 


- Fish & seafood (cod, crab, lobsters, mussels, oysters, tuna, salmon and sardines)
- Bacon
- Beef
- Turkey
- Chicken
- Liver
- Gelatin
- Milk
- Cheese
- Eggs
- Nuts (walnut, peanuts, almonds)
-  Peanut butter
- Lentils
- Chickpeas
- Soybean flour


(source)

6. Threonine: 
- Cottage cheese 
- Poultry 
- Fish
- Meat 
- Lentils 
- Black turtle bean
- Sesame seeds
(source)

7. Tryptophan:
- Eggs
- Spirulina 
- Cod
- Soybeans
- Parmesan cheese
- Sesame seed
- Cheddar cheese
- Sunflower seeds
- Pork
- Turkey
- Chicken
- Beef
- Oats
- Salmon
- Lamb
- Chickpeas
- Wheat flour
- Milk
- White rice
- Potatoes
- Banana
(source)

8. Valine:
- Meat
- Dairy products
- Soy products
- Beans
- Legumes
(source)

9. Histidine:
- Meat
- Poultry
- Fish (Yellowfin tuna, mackerel, sardines, skipjack and anchovies)
- Dairy
- Rice
- Wheat
- Rye
- Soybean tofu
- Beans
- Eggs
- Buckwheat
- Corn
- Cauliflower
- Mushrooms
- Potatoes
- Bamboo shoots
- Bananas
- Cantaloupe
- Citrus fruits 
(source)


Essential Minerals


1. Calcium:  
- Dark Leafy Greens (like Watercress)
- Low Fat Cheese
-
Low Fat Milk & Yogurt
- Chinese Cabbage (Pak Choi, Bok Choy)
- Fortified Soy Products (Tofu, Prepared with Calcium Sulphate)
- Okra
- Broccoli
- Green Snap Beans
- Almonds
(source)

2. Chloride:

- Salt
-
Tomatoes
- Lettuce
- Celery
- Olives
- Seaweed
- Rye 
(source)

3. Chromium:

- Onions
- Tomatoes
- Brewer's yeast
- Oysters
- Whole grains
- Bran cereals
- Potatoes
(source)

4. Cobalt:

- Clams
- Fish
- Leafy green vegetables
- Liver- Milk
- Nuts
- Oysters
- Red meat
(source)

5. Copper:
- Liver
- Oysters
- Sesame Seeds and Tahini (Sesame Butter)
- Cocoa Powder and Chocolate
- Nuts
- Calamari and Lobster
- Sunflower Seeds
- Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
- Dried Herbs
(source)

6. Iodine:

- Baked potatoes
- Milk
- Seaweed
- Cod
- Shrimp
- Turkey
- Tuna fish
- Eggs
- Plain yoghurt
- Bananas
- Strawberry
- Lobster
(source)

7. Iron:

-Seafood (Clams, Mussels, Oysters, Shrimp)
- Liver
- Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
- Nuts (Cashew, Pine, Hazelnut, Peanut, Almond)
- Beef
- Lamb
- White beans
- Lentils
-  Whole Grains
- Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Swiss Chard)
- Dark chocolate & Cacao powder
- Tofu
(source)

8. Magnesium:

- Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach)
- Seeds (Squash and Pumpkin Seeds,
Sesame Seeds)
- Nuts (Brazil Nuts, Almonds, Cashews, Pine nuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Walnuts) 
-
Fish 
-
Beans and Lentils
- Whole Grains
- Avocados
- Bananas
- Dried Fruit
- Dark chocolate
(source)

9. Manganese:

- Spices (Ground cloves, Saffron, cardamom, ground ginger, cinnamon, dry spearmint, parsley, bay leaf, tarragon, turmeric, dry coriander )
- Nuts (Hazelnuts, Pine nuts, Hickory nuts, English walnuts, Macadamias, Almonds)
-
Mussels, Oysters, and Clams
- Cocoa Powder and Dark Chocolate 
-
Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds 
-
Flax, Sesame Seeds, and Sesame Butter (Tahini)
- Chili Powder
- Soybeans (Edamame)
- Sunflower Seeds
(source)

10. Molybdenum:

- Dark, green leafy vegetables
- Legumes
- Peas
- Beans
- Liver & Kidneys
- Water
(source)

11. Phosphorus:

- Bran (Rice and Oat)
- Pumpkin, Squash, Sunflower Seeds, Flaxseeds  and Watermelon Seeds
- Cheese 
-
Sesame Seeds and Tahini (Sesame Butter)
- Nuts- Soybeans (Edamame)
- Bacon
(source)

12. Potassium:
- Beans (Adzuki, Soy, Lima, Kidney ,Great Northern & Pinto)
- Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale and Collards) 
- Potatoes & Sweet potatoes
-  Dried fruit (Apricots, Peaches, Prunes, Raisins)
- Squash (Acorn squash, Butternut,  Zucchini)
- Yoghurt
- Fish
- Avocados
- Mushrooms
- Bananas
(source)

13. Selenium:

- Brazil Nuts
- Sunflower Seeds
- Fish (tuna, halibut, sardines, flounder, salmon)
- Shellfish (oysters, mussels, shrimp, clams, scallops) 
- Meat (Beef, liver, lamb, pork)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey)
- Eggs
- Mushrooms (button, crimini, shiitake)
- Grains (wheat germ, barley, brown rice, oats)
- Onions
(source)

14. Sodium:

- Salt
- Baking powder, Baking soda
- Soy Sauce
- Salami & Bacon
- Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Cheese
* Sodium is an essential mineral for the body, but should be eaten in moderation. A high sodium diet can cause severe disease.
(source)

15. Zinc: 

- Oysters 
-
Veal Liver 
-
Roast Beef 
-
Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
- Dried Watermelon Seeds
- Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
- Lamb
-Peanuts
- Crab
(source)


Essential vitamins

1. Vitamin A:
- Liver
- Paprika, Red Pepper, Cayenne, Chili Powder
- Sweet Potatoes
- Carrots 
-
Dark Leafy Greens 
-
Butternut Squash 
-
Dried Herbs
- Lettuce
- Dried Apricots
- Cantaloupe
(source)

2. Vitamin Bp:

- Liver
- Eggs
- Cod
- Chicken
- 1% Milk
- Soybeans
- Cauliflower
- Spinach
(source)

3. Vitamin B1:

- Sesame Butter (Tahini) and Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Dried Herbs and Spices
- Pork chops
-  Pine Nuts, Pistachios, Macadamia Nuts, Pecans
- Fish
(source)

4. Vitamin B2:

- Liver
- Dried Herbs, Spices, and Peppers
- Almonds- Soybeans (Edamame)
- Cheese
- Fish (Mackerel, Atlantic Salmon, Trout)
- Sesame Seeds
- Sun-dried Tomatoes
(source)

5. Vitamin B3:

- Bran (Rice and Wheat) 
-
Fish ( as Anchovies, Tuna, Swordfish)
- Liver
- Paprika powder
- Peanuts
- Veal
- Chicken
- Bacon
- Sun-dried Tomatoes
 
(source)

6. Vitamin B5:

- Liver
- Bran (Rice and Wheat)
- Sunflower Seeds 
-
Whey Powder
- Mushrooms 
-
Caviar 
-
Cheese
- Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Salmon
- Avocados 
(source)

7. Vitamin B6:

- Bran (Rice and Wheat)
- Dried Herbs, Spices, and Peppers
- Pistachios
- Garlic
- Liver
- Fish (Tuna, Salmon, and Cod)
- Sunflower and Sesame Seeds (Also Tahini) 
-
Pork Tenderloin 
-
Hazelnuts
(source)

8. Vitamin B7:

- Organ meats
- Egg yolks
- Soybeans
- Yeast
- Fish
- Nuts
- Oatmeal
(source)

9. Vitamin B9:

- Liver
-Dried Herbs
- Sunflower seeds
- Soybeans (Edamame) 
-
Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Turnip Greens, Collards)
- Bean Sprouts (Soybean and Pea)
- Beans (Pinto, Garbanzo, Mung)
- Asparagus
- Peanuts
(source)

10. Vitamin B12:

- Clams, Oysters, and Mussels 
- Liver
-
Caviar
- Octopus 
-
Fish 
-
Crab and Lobster 
- Beef
- Lamb
- Cheese
- Eggs
(source)

11. Vitamin C:

- Red and Green Hot Chili Peppers
- Guavas
- Bell Peppers
- Fresh Herbs (Thyme and Parsley)
-
Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Mustard Greens, Garden Cress)
- Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts
- Kiwi Fruits
- Papayas
- Oranges and Clementines
- Strawberries
(source)

12. Vitamin D:

- Cod Liver Oil
- Fish
- Oysters
- Caviar (Black and Red)
- Tofu- Soy milk
- Salami, Ham, and Sausages
- Eggs
- Mushrooms
(source)

13. Vitamin E:
- Sunflower Seeds
- Paprika and Red Chili Powder
- Nuts (Almonds,  Pine Nuts, Peanuts)
- Dried Herbs (Basil And Oregano)
- Dried Apricots
- Green olives
- Cooked Spinach
(source)

14. Vitamin K:

- Herbs
- Dark Leafy Greens
- Spring Onions (Scallions)
- Brussels Sprouts- Broccoli
- Chili Powder, Curry, Paprika, and Cayenne
 
-
Asparagus 
-
Cabbage 
-
Prunes
(source)

As you can see there are alot of recurring foods on this list. For example, if you eat eggs you check 15 out of 24 nutrients off this list. Chicken is a food alternative in 14 of 24, and other often recurring items are nuts, fish/seafood, seeds, lentils/beans and dark leafy greens. 

This research was a big eye opener for me and I now feel that I have a greater understanding for my body and it’s needs. In the future I will check this list when I plan my meals for the week so that I can get all 24 nutrients every single day.

Feeding your body the right things can really be SO beneficial for your health, both physically and mentally, and feeding it the wrong things can be deadly. Remember: It is never too early to start taking care of your body, but I can be too late! 

I hope that you have enjoyed this post and that you have found it helpful and enlightening. Please do some of your own research if you think that anything I have mentioned in this post seems weird or odd, I have left all of my sources throughout the post so you can go and see for yourself. And, as I said in one of my previous post, PLEASE check out the documentary “Hungry for Change”, and “Food Matters” that I mentioned in the beginning of this post. Education is power! 

Have a great Friday everyone and hopefully I will post another blog post soon!

xo, Sanna

+ Health and Exercise






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