Essential nutrients are compounds that the body can’t make or can’t make in sufficient quantity. According to the World Health OrganizationTrusted Source, these nutrients must come from food, and they’re vital for disease prevention, growth, and good health.
While there are many essential nutrients, they can be broken into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are eaten in large amounts and include the primary building blocks of your diet — protein, carbohydrates, and fat — which provide your body with energy.
Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients, and small doses go a long way. There are six main groups of essential micronutrients and macronutrients.
Protein is having its moment, and not just in the workout community. But all of the hype is for a good reason. Protein is essential for good health.
Protein provides the building blocks of the body, and not just for muscle. Every cell, from bone to skin to hair, contains protein.
A startling 16 percent of the average person’s body weight is from protein. Protein is used primarily for growth, health, and body maintenance.
All of your hormones, antibodies, and other important substances are composed of protein. Protein is not used to fuel the body unless necessary.
Proteins are made of up different amino acids. While the body can create some amino acids on its own, there are many essential amino acids that can only come from food. You need a variety of amino acids for your body to function properly.
The good news is that you don’t need to eat all of the amino acids at once. Your body can create complete proteins from the foods you eat throughout the day.
While meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of essential amino acids, you can also get protein from plant sources like beans, soy, nuts, and some grains. Exactly how much protein you need daily depends on a variety of factors including how active you are, and your age.
Despite the growing popularity of high-protein diets, there haven’t been enough studies to prove that they’re healthier or can influence weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.