How Your Body Metabolizes And Uses Nutrients
Nutrients are substances necessary for the proper function, health, and support of your body and its processes. Essential nutrients are those that either cannot be made by the body at all or cannot be made in high enough amounts and must be consumed in the foods you eat. Micronutrients interact specifically with an individual’s DNA, turning on or off individual genes involved in metabolism.
Taking in the right foods or supplements containing these nutrients serves many functions over time including: support of essential operations like metabolism, heart rate and digestion, providing energy, prevention of chronic diseases, supporting sharper mental focus and cognitive function, building strong muscles and bones and removing waste products from the body.
Whether you are an athlete or just trying to keep your body well nourished, approximately 40 different nutrients are required for your body to function at its best. That doesn’t mean you need separate vitamin supplements for everything, but should strive to include some form of the six major nutrients and a combination of essential vitamins and minerals. The main nutrients are:
Carbohydrates — These can be complex, simple or fiber sources and are the main energy source for cells. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits and vegetables are digested more slowly by the body. This makes you feel fuller longer and gives you a more steady supply of energy.
Fats — The backup source of energy in the body if carbohydrates aren’t available, everyone needs a certain amount of healthy fat in their diet to insulate the body, protect organs, and support chemical reactions for immunity, reproduction and more.
Proteins — These main building blocks are responsible for much of the structure and function of cells in the body. Proteins help eliminate viruses and foreign invaders, carry hormones from one place to another, provide physical structure to cells, and support many of the thousands of chemical reactions that happen inside the body at any time.
Vitamins — A broad name for many different compounds necessary for large and small operations in the body, vitamins are necessary for cell membrane support, transporting gases into and out of the cells and helping to regulate blood pressure.
Minerals — Compounds like iron, potassium and calcium are necessary for fluid balance, nerve transmission, muscle control and building bones.
Water —Nearly every bodily system requires water to function. Water removes wastes, aids in digestion and a variety of cellular chemical reactions.
Each of these nutrient groups work integratively — breaking down, supporting, and regrouping into many different compounds to keep you moving, breathing, thinking and going strong each and every day.
If you are interested in getting healthier and finding guidance in knowing what nutrients, supplements and foods are right for you, consider seeing a professional dietician or completing a genetic fitness profile that can provide information about your body’s unique dietary needs and metabolic responses. You can share this information with your doctor or health care provider and then tailor your diet, exercise routine and supplements accordingly—no guessing required.
Ashley Andrews blogs about health, lifestyle and natural wellness.