What is a nutrient? There are six nutrients essential for life: vitamins, minerals, water, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Each of the six nutrients plays a specific and crucial role in the body and must be obtained from food. While it is tempting to just grab a bottle of vitamins and minerals, our Health Nut and Registered Dietitian recommends that you get these nutrients through food first and supplements second.
Some of the key roles nutrients play in the body include building muscles and bones, improving the immune system, and balancing hormone levels. Specifically, calcium helps to build strong bones, vitamin C boosts the immune system, and vitamin B6 (pyroxidine) balances out homocysteine levels to reduce the risk of heart disease. Superfoods like chia seeds and hemp seeds can be added to simple recipes for a major health boost. Others, like goji berries, can be snacked on straight out of the bag!
Although specific healthy foods often grab our attention, all foods actually provide us with at least one or more nutrients (calories, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and/or water). The options on this list are more nutrient-dense than average snacks, with just as much delicious flavor. For example, our raisin coconut kale granola gets its sweetness from raisins and its health benefits from the greens, coconut, and nuts.
Check out our list of nutritious snacks and don’t forget to switch up your snacking routine from time to time. The health benefits will be enormous. Happy snacking!
Learn more about these vitamins and minerals:
Antioxidants are a type of nutrient that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage in the body. There are many different types of antioxidants that each serve to protect your cells and certain foods contain more of certain types than others. Learn about the antioxidants that are most beneficial to your health and which foods contain them.
Cacao powder is the ultimate gift to chocolate lovers with rich full flavors that acts as a source of antioxidants to support select areas of health. The powder provides a great way to improve any number of foods, so learn how to incorporate cacao into your favorite recipes here.
Choline is a B-complex vitamin that is essential to your wellbeing. Learn how this unique nutrient supports your body and which foods provide an adequate supply of the vitamin here.
Iron is an essential mineral that may be difficult to consume in adequate amounts for those with certain dietary restrictions. Learn about the different types of iron and the obstacles associated with its absorption here.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that can be found in a wide number of foods. Learn the important and interesting roles this nutrient plays in the body and discover the best ways to meet your dietary needs for the mineral.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that play an important role in keeping your body healthy. Learn about the different types of omega-3 fatty acids and the foods that contain them here.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral that is seldom thought of when foraging for foods in your pantry, but the mineral makes important contributions to your overall health. Learn more about this lesser known nutrient and its roles in your body.
Potassium is one of the minerals our body needs to function, and it must be consumed in certain quantities to maintain our health and well-being. Learn how much of the mineral is needed and
Vitamin A is an active compound of retinoids that help maintain healthy skin, teeth, eyes, and more.
Vitamin B1, also called thiamine, supports digestive problems, combats stress, improves energy, and more.
Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient that helps prevent memory loss, Alzheimer’s Disease and pernicious anemia.
Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, improves energy, supports antioxidant function, and more.
Vitamin B3, commonly referred to as niacin, can improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and more.
Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is essential for the production of red blood cells, hormones and more.
Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, helps regulate your mood, sleep and wake cycles, and more important functions.
Vitamin B7, also known as biotin or vitamin H, supports the function of the skin, nerves, and digestive system.
An essential vitamin that helps the body grow while also fighting birth defects, B9 comes in two forms: natural folate and supplemental folic acid.
Vitamin C is an extremely important nutrient that helps the body work properly and helps prevent scurvy.
Vitamin D (secosteroids) helps your body efficiently take in calcium, iron, magnesium, and other minerals.
Vitamin E (tocopherols) helps protect cells from free radicals and keeps the body’s systems healthy.
Vitamin K helps regulate blood clotting, keeps bones healthy, and is plentiful in a variety of foods.
An chemical element that holds its identity down to individual atoms, this mystical mineral is, interestingly enough, essential to our wellbeing. Zinc plays crucial roles in the metabolic activity of our cells and must be attained through our diet to supply our body with adequate amounts. Learn more about this fascinating mineral and how it affects our health here.
Try some Nutrient-Rich Foods!