Essential nutrients are important for several key reasons:

  1. Growth and development: Certain nutrients like protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals are critical for proper growth and development in children and adolescents. They provide the building blocks for development of organs, tissues, and overall physical growth.
  2. Energy: Nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins provide the body with energy in the form of calories needed for vital functions and physical activity.
  3. Repair and maintenance: Nutrients are needed for repairing damaged cells and tissues and maintaining the normal functioning of organs like the heart, lungs, kidneys, etc.
  4. Immune function: Vitamins like vitamin C, D, E, B6, and minerals like zinc play a key role in boosting immunity and fighting off infections.
  5. Metabolic processes: Vitamins act as coenzymes that help facilitate critical metabolic reactions like energy production, digestion, and hormone regulation in the body.
  6. Prevention of deficiencies: Getting sufficient amounts of essential nutrients prevents nutrient deficiency diseases like anemia, osteoporosis, goiter, scurvy, etc.
  7. Overall health: A balanced diet with adequate essential nutrients can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

So in essence, these vital nutrients work synergistically to support all aspects of human health, growth, and survival from the cellular level up. Meeting our nutrient needs is foundational for lifelong well-being.

Essential nutrients are substances that our bodies require for normal functioning, but cannot produce in sufficient quantities or at all. These nutrients must be obtained through our diet. Here are some essential nutrients for humans and their recommended daily quantities:

  1. Carbohydrates:
    • Recommended Daily Quantity: 130 grams per day (minimum requirement)
  2. Proteins:
    • Recommended Daily Quantity: 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person weighing 68 kilograms would require about 55 grams of protein per day.
  3. Fats:
    • Recommended Daily Quantity: 20-35% of total daily calorie intake. This can vary based on individual needs and health conditions.
  4. Vitamins:
    • Recommended Daily Quantities:
      • Vitamin A: 700-900 micrograms
      • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): 1.1-1.2 milligrams
      • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 1.1-1.3 milligrams
      • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 14-16 milligrams
      • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): 5 milligrams
      • Vitamin B6: 1.3-1.7 milligrams
      • Vitamin B7 (Biotin): 30 micrograms
      • Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic acid): 400-600 micrograms
      • Vitamin B12: 2.4 micrograms
      • Vitamin C: 75-90 milligrams
      • Vitamin D: 600-800 international units (IU)
      • Vitamin E: 15 milligrams
      • Vitamin K: 90-120 micrograms
  5. Minerals:
    • Recommended Daily Quantities:
      • Calcium: 1,000-1,300 milligrams
      • Iron: 8-18 milligrams (depending on gender and age)
      • Magnesium: 310-420 milligrams (depending on gender and age)
      • Phosphorus: 700-1,250 milligrams
      • Potassium: 2,600-3,400 milligrams
      • Sodium: Less than 2,300 milligrams (for adults)
      • Zinc: 8-11 milligrams
  6. Water: This is essential for all bodily functions. The RDI for water is 8 glasses per day for adults.

These quantities are general recommendations and may vary depending on age, sex, weight, activity level, and specific health conditions. It’s always best to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized dietary advice.

The quantities of essential nutrients that you need each day will vary depending on your age, sex, activity level, and overall health. It is important to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to determine your specific needs.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

Here is an alphabetical list of some of the most nutritionally dense foods:

  1. Almonds
  2. Avocados
  3. Beans (e.g., kidney, black, pinto)
  4. Berries (e.g., blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
  5. Broccoli
  6. Chia Seeds
  7. Eggs
  8. Flaxseeds
  9. Greek Yogurt
  10. Kale
  11. Lentils
  12. Nuts (e.g., walnuts, pecans, pistachios)
  13. Oats
  14. Olive Oil
  15. Pomegranates
  16. Quinoa
  17. Salmon
  18. Spinach
  19. Sweet Potatoes
  20. Tuna
  21. Walnuts
  22. Whole Grains (e.g., brown rice, whole wheat bread)
  23. Wild-Caught Fish (e.g., mackerel, sardines)
  24. Zucchini

These foods are nutrient-dense, meaning they pack a lot of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds into relatively few calories. They are rich in essential nutrients like protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that are crucial for overall health and well-being.