Support Your Journey to Optimal Health with Essential Nutrients and Functional Food

Hunter-gatherers once thrived on the earth’s bounty of smart nutrients, but intensive farming methods have depleted our soils of essential nutrients, the substances our bodies need to function properly and prevent disease. How can we be sure to include all the beneficial nutrients in our diets?

What are the best sources of essential nutrients?

Organic food

Eating organic food is one of the best ways to include essential nutrients in our diets. Organic food is grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, which depletes the soil of nutrients. Organic farming practices also help regenerate, improve soil health, and promote biodiversity. Food grown in healthy soil is critical to developing a healthy gut microbiome. Many studies have shown that organic food contains higher levels of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.

Variety is the key to functional foods

A varied diet rich in functional foods is essential for optimal health. Functional foods are those that provide additional health benefits beyond basic nutrition. They can be found in both plant and animal sources and include a wide range of bioactive compounds and substances, such as probiotics, prebiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, peptides, B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids.

The evidence-based science is clear: functional foods can help to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and improve overall health. For example, probiotics and fibre are essential for maintaining gut health, while antioxidants and polyphenols can help to remove free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Flavonoids have anti-carcinogenic properties, and omega-3 fatty acids and DHA are essential for brain function and heart health.

Eating from the first principal

The first principle diet is a way of eating based on cooking from scratch using whole, unprocessed ingredients. This way of eating includes lean protein sources, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and avoids processed foods, sugary drinks, and refined grains. The paleo diet is a way of eating based on our hunter-gatherer ancestors’ diet. It emphasizes eating foods that were available during the Paleolithic era, such as meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

These types of diets that are low in processed carbohydrates, high in protein, healthy fats and fibre can improve blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, help with weight maintenance, improve gut health and increase energy levels.

Supplementing commercially grown food

While eating organic food is a great way to get essential nutrients, it is only sometimes possible to afford it or to find it in all areas. In these cases, supplementing commercial food can be a good option. Many different types of supplements are available, and consuming excessive quantities can cause health risks. Over the next few weeks, we will identify the most essential vitamins and minerals and explain how to consume them. Subscribe to stay informed.

Essential Nutrient FAQs

Essential nutrients are the vital dietary substances the body needs to function correctly. Essential nutrients provide our bodies with energy, build and repair tissues, and help to regulate bodily functions.

The six essential nutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. We need to consume these ingredients in our diets to function.

Essential nutrients are necessary for all physical and mental functions and overall well-being. Getting enough of all of the vital nutrients can help to:

  • Reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Boost energy levels
  • Improve mood and cognitive function
  • Support a healthy immune system

The best way to get enough essential nutrients is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, preferably organic food. A healthy, balanced diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Here are some examples of foods that are good sources of essential nutrients:

Carbohydrates: bread, pasta, rice, cereal, fruit, vegetables

Proteins: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, seeds

Fats: olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds

Vitamins: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products

Minerals: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, meat