Essential Nutrients 101

An assortment of healthy foods
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We all know we are supposed to be active, drink lots of water, and eat healthy, but what does that mean beyond less dessert and minimal servings of chips? Integrity Urgent Care knows that it may be difficult to wade through all of the health information that is out there and how too much of it may make you want to give up. Instead of throwing in the towel, we have a guide to the essential nutrients your body needs as you try to live a healthier lifestyle overall.

1. Protein – Protein has been a buzz word in diets for years as different focus on proteins come and go. No matter the diet, protein is essential for your body to function. While muscle development is most commonly linked to discussions about protein, the truth is, every cell of your body contains protein. This includes hormones, skin cells, antibodies, bone cells and more. There are endless sources of protein we can incorporate into our diets. Meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and some grains all have good amounts of protein. By diversifying the source of protein in your diet, you will be well served.

2. Carbohydrates – As popular as protein is in diets, carbohydrates get a bad reputation. However, our bodies need carbs to function. Our bodies are fueled by carbs, “especially your central nervous system and brain, and protect against disease” according to the Mayo Clinic. Where you get your carbohydrates from can make a big difference in your overall wellness though. Whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables will release the carbs you need when your system needs them.

3. Fats – Yes. Our bodies need fats. In fact, our bodies cannot absorb some of the vitamins and minerals we need without fat. By integrating healthy fats, like olive and avocado oil, nuts and seeds, and fish, into our diet, we can reduce blood sugar issues, help with blood clotting in our bodies, lower the risk of arthritis and cancer, and decrease heart disease.

4. Vitamins – If you want a healthier system overall, including healthier vision, skin, bones, hair, teeth, and more, you need to get the micronutrients that are found in the 13 essential vitamins our body needs each day. They help our system in overall functioning as well and can lower the risk for many diseases. While you can take a vitamin supplement, if your diet is varied with lots of fruits and vegetables, you may not need to. Try to eat different colors of the rainbow in order to increase the vitamins in your system.

5. Minerals – Similar to vitamins, your body needs minerals for a number of different body functions. Many minerals, like calcium, iron, and zinc are found in foods we already eat. It can be difficult to fine tune what minerals you may need in your system, so you can ask our medical team next time you are in for an appointment if there is something you need to consider supplement wise.

6. Water – Staying hydrated is key to so much of our lives. While we often think about drinking water when working out or on a hot summer day, we need water all the time. Every system of our body, from our joints to our brain to our skin, needs water to function. Drink plenty of fresh water, eat fruits and vegetables, and monitor your urine color. If it is not pale yellow or clear, you need to drink more water and do so consistently.

Being healthy can seem like a lot when you are first starting out. Fortunately, many of these needs overlap in the same foods. By eating lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, while drinking lots of water, you will notice immediate gains in your overall function and the way your body feels. When your diet isn’t enough and you are feeling sick or have an injury, come see our team at Integrity Urgent Care to get you back on track.

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