myNutrition

Nutrition Basics

Nutrients can be divided into 2 categories: macronutrients, and micronutrients. Macronutrients are those nutrients that the body needs in large amounts. These provide the body with energy (calories). Micronutrients are those nutrients that the body needs in smaller amounts. Click on the links below to discover the functions, recommended dietary intake, and food sources of the different nutrients our bodies need.

Macronutrients

Micronutrients

Carbohydrates

Role in the Body

  1. Fuel during high intensity exercise
  2. Spares protein (to preserve muscle mass during exercisee)
  3. Fuel for the Central Nervous System (your brain!)

Recommended Allowance

  1. Sedentary Individuals: 40-50% of your total daily calories should be carbohydrates
  2. Exercises Regularly: 60% of your total daily calories should be carbohydrates
  3. Athletes or persons involved in heavy training: 70% of your total daily calories should be carbohydrates (3.5-4.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight)

NOTE: 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 Calories

Food Sources

  1. Grains (choose mostly whole grains for added benefits)
  2. Dairy (choose low-fat or non-fat most often)
  3. Fruit (choose whole fruits more ofetn than fruit juices)

Proteins

Role in the Body

  1. Tissue structure (part of organ tissues, muscle, hair, skin, nails, bones, tendons, ligaments and blood plasma)
  2. Part of cell plasma membranes
  3. Involved in metabolic, transport, and hormone systems
  4. Make up enzymes that regulate metabolism
  5. Invovled in acid/base balance to maintain a neutral environment in our bodies

Recommended Daily Allowance

  1. Sedentary Individuals: 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  2. Recreationally Active: 0.45-0.68 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  3. Competitive Athlete: 0.54-0.82 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  4. Teenage Athlete: 0.82-0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  5. Body Builder: 0.64-0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  6. When restricting Calories: 0364-0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight
  7. Maximum amount of protein the body can utilize: 0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight

NOTE: 1 gram of protein = 4 Calories

Food Sources

  1. Legumes (beans)
  2. Lentils
  3. Soy products, such as tofu
  4. Peanuts and nuts
  5. Whole grains (quinoa, oats, brown rice)
  6. Seeds
  7. Meat alternative products
  8. Some vegetables
  9. Animal sources

Fats

Role in the Body

  1. Energy reserve
  2. Protects vital organs
  3. Insulation
  4. Transport fat soluble vitamins

Recommended Allowance

  1. 20-35% of your total daily calories should come from fat

    Less than 10% of total daily calories should come from Saturated Fat (coconut and plam kernal oil, shortening, butter, cream cheese, full fat dairy products)

NOTE: 1 gram of fat = 9 Calories

Food Sources

  1. Oils
  2. Nuts
  3. Seeds
  4. Meat, fish, dairy
  5. Micronutrients

Vitamin B1: Thiamin

Function

  1. Needed to release energy in food
  2. Prevents beriberi

Food Sources

  1. Whole grains
  2. Dried beans
  3. Peas
  4. Peanuts
  5. Animal proteins

Vitamin B2: Riboflavin

Function

  1. Needed to build and maintain body tissues

Food Sources

  1. Whole grains
  2. Green and yellow vegetables
  3. Animal proteins

Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine

Function

  1. Helps the development of the nervous system
  2. Involved in the production of blood
  3. Helps break down protein and glucose to produce energy for the body

Food Sources

  1. Potatoes
  2. Chickpeas
  3. Yeast
  4. Nuts
  5. Bulgur
  6. Fish
  7. Rice
  8. Bananas

Vitamin B12: Cobalamine

Function

  1. Promotes proper growth and development of the nervous system

Food Sources

  1. Fortified cereals
  2. Nutritional yeast
  3. Algae
  4. Animal products

Vitamin C: Ascorbic Acid

Function

  1. Helps form growth hormones
  2. Needed to build strong gums, teeth, and bones
  3. Antioxidant

Food Source

  1. Citrus fruits
  2. Cabbage
  3. Berries
  4. Peppers

Folic Acid

Function

  1. Helps build DNA and protein
  2. Helps maintain intestinal tract
  3. Aids in bone growth
  4. Prevents nervous system birth defects

Food Sources

  1. Dark green leafy vegetables
  2. Yeast
  3. Wheat germ

Vitamin A: Retinal

Function

  1. Vision
  2. Healthy skin
  3. Healthy hair

Food Sources

  1. Animal products
  2. Body can make vitamin A from vegetables that have carotene
    1. Carrots
    2. Sweet potatoes
    3. Other red-orange vegetables

Vitamin D

Function

  1. Promotes strong teeth and bones
  2. Prevents rickets

Food Sources

  1. Mushrooms
  2. Dairy Milk & Fortified Non-Dairy Milk
  3. Fortified cereals
  4. Cod liver oil
  5. Tuna
  6. Salmon
  7. Egg yolks
  8. Produced by the body when exposed to sunlight

Vitamin E

Function

  1. Prevents damage to cell membranes
  2. Protects vitamin A
  3. Aids in blood production

Food Sources

  1. Seeds and Nuts
  2. Vegetable oil

Vitamin K

Function

  1. Aids in blood clotting

Food Sources

  1. Green leafy vegetables
  2. Produced by bacteria in the large intestine

Calcium

Function

  1. Maintains teeth and bones
  2. Helps blood clot
  3. Helps nerves and muscles function

Food Sources

  1. Dairy Milk & Fortified Non-Dairy Milks
  2. Dark green vegetables
  3. Sardines
  4. Clams
  5. Oysters
  6. Legumes
  7. Almonds

Potassium

Function

  1. Regulates water balance in cells
  2. Helps nerves function
  3. Important for heart rhythm

Food Sources

  1. Oranges
  2. Bananas
  3. Cereal
  4. Potatoes
  5. Dried beans

Sodium

Function

  1. Regulates water balance
  2. Stimulates nerves

Food Sources

  1. Table salt
  2. Bread
  3. Almost everything

Iron

Function

  1. Forms blood cells
  2. Transports oxygen throughout the body

Food SourceS

  1. Dark green vegetables
  2. Whole-grain cereals
  3. Whole grains, such as brown rice & quinoa
  4. Legumes
  5. Lentils
  6. Nuts
  7. Seeds
  8. Dried fruits
  9. Animal proteins

Zinc

Function

  1. Aids in transport of carbon dioxide
  2. Aids in healing wounds
  3. Forms enzymes

Food Sources

  1. Whole grains
  2. Dairy Milk & Fortified Non-Dairy Milks
  3. Legumes

Water

Functions

  1. Moistens tissues such as those in the mouth, eyes, and nose
  2. Protects body organs and tissues
  3. Helps prevent constipation
  4. Helps dissolve minerals and other nutrients to make them accessible to the body
  5. Regulates body temperature
  6. Lubricates joints
  7. Lessens the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products
  8. Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells