Six essential nutrients for optimal health

Though our body can amazingly adapt to unforeseen situations and acclimatize suitably to changed weather conditions, but it cannot produce almost everything for its smooth functioning. So, there are certain essential nutrients,  in total 6 to be precise, which we need to supply to our body so that we remain fit and fine. Nutrients are substances which are used by our body to survive, grow, and reproduce. These nutrients come through many dietary sources and these nutrients help our body to maintain optimal health. Read on to know about these six essential nutrients for optimal health.

What are different types of nutrients?

Broadly nutrients can be divided into two types – micronutrients and macronutrients.

What are micronutrients?

Nutrients which our body need in small doses are micronutrients. These are basically vitamins and minerals. It’s very interesting that though we need these micronutrients in very small quantity but in case of any deficiency of these micronutrients in our body, we may suffer from many diseases.

What are macronutrients?

The nutrients that our body need in large quantities are called macronutrients. These are water, protein, carbohydrate, and fats.

So let’s know about these essential nutrients (micronutrients and macronutrients) and try to understand what the functions of these nutrients in our body are.

Six essential nutrients:

  1. Vitamins

Vitamins help our body by offering many health benefits. Vitamins boost our immune system, aid in brain and nervous system functioning, prevent many serious diseases like cancer, and many other benefits.

The different types of vitamins are Vitamin A, vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. A person whose diet includes a lot of vegetables and fruits can get almost all vitamins naturally. And if you cannot get vitamins naturally through diet then you have to take vitamin supplements to avoid any deficiency in your body.

  1. Minerals

Another important type of micronutrients is minerals. Minerals keep our bone, skin, hair, and nails healthy. Apart from this, they help in many other important functions of the body. Seven important minerals are: Sodium, Iron, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium Zinc and Phosphorus.

Calcium is very important for bone health. Also, it is very important for muscle and nerve function, and in circulation. Dairy products, green leafy vegetables and fish are good source of calcium.

Another important nutrient is Sodium. It helps nerve and muscle work properly. But sodium should be consumed carefully and its intake should be limited.

To ensure that you consume enough minerals include green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, milk and dairy products, iodized salt and some other food items which are rich in important minerals.


Protein is very important for good health. Protein is essential in forming muscles. It helps in creating new enzymes and hormones. Every cell in our body needs protein to function properly.

Protein ensures growth and development of muscles, bone, hair, and skin. It forms antibodies, hormones and many other important substances. Also, it acts as fuel source for cells. Various sources of protein are poultry, fish, beans, eggs, dairy products, soy nuts, and some grains.

  1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are very important for the body. Carbohydrates are sugars or starches which give energy to the cells and tissues of our body. Two types of carbohydrates are – simple carbohydrate and complex carbohydrate.

One needs to control the intake of simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are found in various foods like white bread, pasta and rice. But the body needs complex carbohydrate to boost immunity, and for brain and nervous function.

Also, complex carbohydrates provide energy for many other tasks in the body and digestion. We get complex carbohydrates from many sources such as rice, whole-grain bread, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables.

  1. Fat

Another nutrient which, of late, has got bad reputation for its association with body fat is dietary fat. But fat is very important because it helps in absorption of vitamins and in protecting organs of the body. Though some fats like trans fats increase the risk of heart disease but the natural fats actually protect the heart.


A very important aspect of your lifestyle change is drinking of water which plays a vital role in your overall wellbeing. Yes, many a time we simply overlook or we fail to give the due importance to drinking of water but presence of adequate water in your body helps in many body functions. Yes, if you are regularly staying hydrated you are actually helping your body in its normal functioning. You will be surprised to know that drinking water has many benefits.

A 360-degree overview:

The 6 nutrients are extremely important for our health, and in case of any deficiency of these nutrients you can feel something wrong in your body. Even, not drinking enough water can leave you feeling dehydrated. And in case of deficiency of other nutrients you may experience differently. So it is better to have a balanced diet which will provide you all sorts of nutrients.


(The content of this article is for informational purpose only. It cannot be a substitute for advice from a medical practitioner. Read DISCLAIMER for more…)