GOOD FOR: Healthy eyes and general growth and development, including healthy teeth and skin.
NATURAL SOURCE: Carrots and other orange foods including sweet potato and cantaloupe melons – all of which get their hue from the carotene pigment.
GOOD FOR: Energy production, immune function and iron absorption.
NATURAL SOURCE: This crucial group of nutrients can be found in whole unprocessed foods, specifically whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili peppers, beans, yeast and molasses.
GOOD FOR: Strengthening blood vessels and giving skin its elasticity, anti-oxidant function and iron absorption.
NATURAL SOURCE: Everyone knows this one – oranges! But they're not the only source – other fruits and veggies packed with Vitamin C include guava, red and green peppers, kiwi, grapefruits, strawberries, Brussels sprouts and cantaloupe.
GOOD FOR: Strong healthy bones.
NATURAL SOURCE: Apart from spending a few minutes out in the sun, which stimulates Vitamin D production, you can get this nutritional from mushrooms.
GOOD FOR: Blood circulation, and protection from free radicals.
NATURAL SOURCE: Our favorite Vitamin E-rich food is the mighty almond. You can also fill up on other nuts, sunflower seeds and tomatoes to reap the benefits.
GOOD FOR: Blood coagulation – that is, the process by which your blood clots.
NATURAL SOURCE: Leafy greens are the best natural sources of Vitamin K – so make sure you're eating lots of kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
GOOD FOR: Cell renewal and preventing birth defects in pregnancy.
NATURAL SOURCE: There are plenty of scrumptious natural sources of folic acid, including dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, peas, lentils, seeds, nuts, cauliflower, beets and corn.
GOOD FOR: Healthy teeth and bones.
NATURAL SOURCE: This mineral is another one that most of us already know - the best sources are almonds, tofu, kale, spinach, broccoli, sesame seeds, tahini and black molasses.
GOOD FOR: Building muscles naturally and maintaining healthy blood.
NATURAL SOURCE: soybeans, cereal, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils and spinach are great sources of iron.
GOOD FOR: Immunity, growth and fertility.
NATURAL SOURCE: spinach, cashews, beans and dark chocolate.
GOOD FOR: Glucose function – making sure every cell in your body gets energy as and when needed.
NATURAL SOURCE: As long as your diet contains servings of whole grains, fresh vegetables and herbs, you should be getting enough chromium.
GOOD FOR: is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
NATURAL SOURCE: Chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils, green peas, seitan and you can find protein in most vegetables.
GOOD FOR: is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy. Selenium is important for reproduction and thyroid gland function.
NATURAL SOURCE: The richest plant sources of selenium are cereals, grains and Brazil nuts, which can contain very high amounts of 68-91 micrograms per nut.
Keeping hydrated is really important. Water is absolutely essential for survival, especially as it makes up to 60 per cent of the human adult body.
Our body relies on water. It is critical for waste removal and temperature regulation, and is an essential element of every cell.
To remain hydrated, drink water throughout the day, and eat foods with high water contents - fruits and vegetables in particular. Keep drinks, like coffee and nasty soft drinks which dehydrate you to a minimum.
Carbohydrates, or carbs, often get a bad rap as fattening, with many no-carb diets emerging in recent years. Like any nutrient, consuming carbs is all about balance.
In reality, carbs are essential for proper body function. Carbs are broken down into glucose, which is your brain and body's main fuel.
Carbs also ensure your body is not breaking down proteins to gain energy, preventing loss of muscle mass.
Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down and keep you fuller for longer, meaning you cut down on unhealthy snacking.
Whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are all examples of healthy complex carbohydrates.
Protein is critical for good health. Protein is essential in forming muscles to creating new enzymes and hormones.
Proteins are comprised of small building blocks called amino acids. They are the building blocks of cells, which turn over quicker and regenerate more slowly as a person, ages. Ensuring these vital building blocks are there helps enhance optimal ageing at the time of your life when it becomes more important to support your nutritional intake and make up for any deficiencies. There are 20 amino acids in total, but the nine essential amino acids are:
Another oft-targeted nutrient, dietary fat has earned a bad reputation because of its association with body fat. A multitude of diets have sprung up condemning all fat, but the reality is much more nuanced.
Fat is an essential nutrient that boosts absorption of vitamins and helps protect organs.
Some types of fats are undoubtedly bad. Trans fats, found in processed and baked foods, increase the risk of heart disease.
Unsaturated fats, found in natural sources, actually protect the heart and aid the prevention of heart disease. These good fats can be found in nuts, seeds and avocados.
A vitamin is an organic compound and an essential micronutrient that the body needs in small amounts. The essential vitamins are:
Vitamin A is vital for skin and eye health
Vitamin C for bone and muscle structure and immune support
Vitamin D for bone growth and cardiovascular and nervous health
Vitamin E is vital to a functioning immune system
Vitamin B is a direct impact on your energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism
Minerals are another essential micronutrient, with each essential mineral fulfilling a different role. Seven essential minerals are:
Sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps maintain the balance of water in and around your cells. It's important for proper muscle and nerve function. It also helps maintain stable blood pressure levels.
Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body. Hemoglobin represents about two-thirds of the body's iron. If you don't have enough iron, your body can't make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
Potassium is one of the most important minerals in the body. It helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals. What's more, a high-potassium diet may help reduce blood pressure and water retention.
Calcium to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Almost all calcium is stored in bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and hardness. The body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part.
Magnesium is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA.
Zinc is a nutrient that people need to stay healthy. Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells.
Phosphorus is in the formation of bones and teeth. It plays an important role in how the body uses carbohydrates and fats. It is also needed for the body to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
It's been found that omega-3 fatty acids optimize brain health and may aid heart function. Unlike other fatty acids, your body can't create omega-3, so it's crucial to have sources of it in your diet. Sources include hemp seeds, kidney beans, edamame, chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts.