- Main Article: Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients. They are the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs. It stores any extra sugar in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.
Carbohydrates are called simple or complex, depending on their chemical structure. Simple carbohydrates include sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, milk, and milk products. They also include sugars added during food processing and refining. Complex carbohydrates include whole grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables and legumes. Many of the complex carbohydrates are good sources of fiber. For a healthy diet, limit the amount of added sugar that you eat and choose whole grains over refined grains
- Main Article: Protein
Proteins are the building blocks of life. Every cell in the human body contains protein. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids. You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones. Protein is also important for growth and development in children, teens, and pregnant women.
Protein foods are broken down into parts called amino acids during digestion. The human body needs a number of amino acids in large enough amounts to maintain good health. Amino acids are found in animal sources such as meats, milk, fish, and eggs. They are also found in plant sources such as soy, beans, legumes, nut butters, and some grains (such as wheat germ and quinoa). You do not need to eat animal products to get all the protein you need in your diet.
Amino acids are classified into three groups:
- Essential: Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body, and must be supplied by food. They do not need to be eaten at one meal. The balance over the whole day is more important.
- Nonessential: Nonessential amino acids are made by the body from essential amino acids or in the normal breakdown of proteins.
- Conditional: Conditional amino acids are needed in times of illness and stress.
- Main Article: Vitamin
Vitamins are substances that your body needs to grow and develop normally. There are 13 vitamins your body needs. They are:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
You can usually get all your vitamins from the foods you eat. Your body can also make vitamins D and K. People who eat a vegetarian diet may need to take a vitamin B12 supplement. Each vitamin has specific jobs. If you have low levels of certain vitamins, you may get health problems. For example, if you don't get enough vitamin C, you could become anemic. Some vitamins may help prevent medical problems. Vitamin A prevents night blindness. The best way to get enough vitamins is to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods. In some cases, you may need to take vitamin supplements. It's a good idea to ask your health care provider first. High doses of some vitamins can cause problems.
This video tells you if food is healthy or not.