Essential nutrients are nutrients that the body cannot produce on its own. The following is a list of essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly. All recommendations on how much of a particular nutrient is needed vary according to weight, age, and gender; these are only guidelines.
Vitamin A is great for healthy eyes, teeth, reproduction, and skin. It also helps the lungs, heart, kidneys, and other organs function correctly.
Source: Milk, cereal, carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and other orange foods.
Recommended dose: Between 700 and 900 micrograms (mcg) daily.
Vitamin B is great for energy production and iron absorption. It helps keep blood and nerve cells healthy, and supports DNA replication.
Source: Whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, beans, and chili peppers.
Recommended dose: 2.4 to 2.8 mcg of B-12 and 1.3 mcg of B-6 each day.
This vitamin helps give skin its elasticity by synthesizing collagen. It also strengthens blood vessel, and promotes normal growth.
Source: Oranges, red and green peppers, kiwi, brussel sprouts, and strawberries.
Recommended dose: Between 65 and 90 milligrams per day.
Vitamin D builds strong bones, and maintains calcium levels in the blood. One of the well-known sources of vitamin D is the sun, but is also found in many foods.
Source: Eggs, fish, and mushrooms.
Recommended dose: 600 IU per day.
This vitamin promotes blood circulation, protects cells from free radicals, and helps the immune system by fighting off bacteria and viruses.
Source: Almonds and other nuts, sunflower seeds, and tomatoes.
Recommended dose: 15 mg per day.
Vitamin K is good for blood coagulation. It also helps to build strong bones, and prevent heart disease.
Source: Kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, and broccoli.
Recommended dose: 120 mcg for males, and 90 mcg for females each day.
Folic acid helps with cell renewal. It also prevents birth defects, and reduces the risk of preeclampsia and early labor in pregnant woman.
Source: Asparagus, broccoli, beans, peas, seeds, cauliflower, beets, and corn.
Recommended dose: 400 mcg daily.
Calcium is well known for promoting healthy teeth and bones. It is also great for blood vessel constriction and relaxation, and supports the entire nervous system.
Source: Yogurt, cheese, milk, and tofu.
Recommended dose: 1,000 mcg to 2,000 mcg per day.
Iron is an essential mineral that maintains healthy blood and helps build muscles. It is in hemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout the body. Iron also helps with skin, hair, and nail health.
Source: Oysters, soybeans, liver, cereal, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and lentils.
Recommended dose: Women need 18 mg of iron each day, while men only need 8 mg.
Zinc is good for strengthening immunity, growth, and fertility. It helps fight off bacteria and viruses, and is involved in making proteins, and in DNA replication.
Source: Seafoods, spinach, beans, and dark chocolate.
Recommended dose: Women need 8 mg and men need 11 mg per day.
Chromium helps with glucose function. It is beneficial to metabolism and helps to store fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Source: Whole grains, herbs, and vegetables.
Recommended dose: Males need 35 mcg and females need only 25 mcg daily
Water helps the body function properly, and gets nutrients to the individual cells throughout the body. It is also used to cool down the body when it senses a rise in temperature.
Source: Watermelon, cantaloupe, and soup.
Recommended dose: Drink .5 to 1 ounce for each pound you weigh. For example, if you weigh 100 lbs, you should drink from 50 to 100 ounces of water.