How much of each nutrient should you consume in a day?

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Carbohydrate

How much to consume per day: 40-60% of your total calories

Carbs or carbohydrates are found in various food items like potatoes, banana, jackfruits, bread, cereals, sugar, etc. They perform important functions like storing energy, and other functions in the immune system, blood clotting, etc. In recent years, carbs have got a bad name but nutritionists suggest it’s dangerous to completely cut it out from our diets. Most of them agree that 40-60% of your calories intake should come from carbs. On the other hand, excessive consumption will make you obese. Here are weight loss diet plans for different calorie needs.

Protein

How much to consume per day: 0.8-1 g per kg of your bodyweight

Your body needs protein more than any other nutrient. It is present in all your cells particularly the muscles. It helps regulate metabolism, support the bodily systems, bolster the immune system and to form blood cells. If you’ve been working out regularly or are into sports you need additional protein to repair damaged tissues and for building new muscle tissues. Lack of protein, on the other hand, can lead to malnutrition, weight loss, thinning hair, muscle soreness, weakness and lethargy.  Eat pulses, legumes, nuts, milk and its products, chicken, fish and egg to give your body enough protein. Vegetarians can get the necessary protein from these 6 sources.

 Fat

How much to consume per day: 15-25% of your total calories or maximum 3-4 servings (one serving is tablespoon)

While it’s important to eat fats in moderation, lack of it can lead to issues like rough skin and night blindness. Overconsumption, on the other hand, is responsible for the obesity pandemic we’re facing all around the world. Ghee, butter, cream, cheese, nuts, seed, egg, fish, chicken, pork and beef are all rich in fat. Here are 6 natural sources of good fats you need in your diet.

Vitamins

They’re organic substances that our bodies can break down and alter for its need and though they’re only needed in small amounts, they’re essential for our survival. There are basically two kinds – fat-soluble (A, D, E and K) and water-soluble (B and C). Fat soluble vitamins circulate in the blood and are stored in fatty tissue, so do not need to be eaten every day. Water soluble vitamins circulate freely but are not stored, so you need to eat them more frequently. Here’s more information about the individual vitamins:

Vitamin A

How much to consume per day: 700 to 900 micrograms (1 microgram is 1/1000th of a milligram)

This vitamin strengthens our immunity system against infection and helps improve our vision. Food items that contain them are sweet potato (with peel), carrots, spinach, live and fish.

Vitamin D

How much to consume per day: 15 micrograms

Vitamin D is responsible for intestinal absorption of nutrients like calcium and phosphate and also helps to form and maintain bonesand teeth. It’s one nutrient that is not naturally present in the body. However, it can be produced endogenously by the body from cholesterol from sunlight. It’s also present in foods like egg yolks and liver. Rickets (long, soft bowed legs), flattening of the back of the skull, osteomalacia (muscle and bone weakness), and osteoporosis (loss of bone mass) are some of the major diseases that one can suffer from if vitamin D is not taken. Too much of it leads to slowed mental and physical growth, decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Vitamin E

How much to consume per day: 15 micrograms

They act as an antioxidant and protect vitamins A and C and red blood cells from destruction. They are present in vegetable oil like soybean, corn and cottonseed and is also found in egg yolk. Its deficiency is rare and usually occurs in premature infants. Vitamin E also has manybenefits for your skin and hair.

Vitamin K

How much to consume per day: 120 micrograms

Vitamin K is required to facilitate blood clotting and lack of it can lead to haemorrhaging. All leafy vegetables like turnip, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli and also oils of soybean, cottonseed, canola and olive are rich in Vitamin K. Also, read 8 health risks of vitamin K deficiency.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

How much to consume per day: 0.8-1 mg per day

B1 is responsible for energy production in the body and deficiency can cause numbness, tingling and loss of sensation. It’s present in non-vegetarian food items like liver, pork and eggs and also whole grain, bread and cereals.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

How much to consume per day: 1.1-1.3 mg

Vitamin B2 offers many health benefits. It promotes good vision and healthy skin and lack of it can lead to cracks at the corners of the mouth, light sensitivity and a sore tongue.  Dark green vegetables, legumes, whole and enriched grain products, and milk, along with liver, eggs are some food items rich in the aforementioned vitamin.

Vitamin C

How much to consume per day: 70 to 90 mg

Vitamin C helps heal wounds, facilitates bone and tooth formation, strengthens blood vessel walls, improves immune system function, increases absorption and utilization of iron, and acts as an antioxidant. If you don’t take vitamin C rich food, you can be a victim of scurvy, causing a loss of collagen strength throughout the body. Excess leads to the formation of kidney stones and you may even suffer from diarrhoea. Loss of collagen results in loose teeth, bleeding and swollen gums, and improper wound healing. Citrus fruits like orange and lemon are known for being source of this vitamin. 75 to 90 mg per day is the right quantity required by your body.

Iron

How much to consume per day:  Men should have 8mg, women need 18mg

Lack of it can lead to anaemia, dizziness and fainting. Foods like beans, lentils, beef and eggs are rich in iron. Also, read why women need more iron in their diet.

Calcium

How much to consume per day: 1000 mg

Calcium is essential for bone grown, strength, blood clotting, muscle contraction and the transmission of nerve signals. Absence of calcium can lead to thinning and weakening of bone. Milk, yoghurt, spinach are some food items rich in calcium.

Consume the above food items in the right amount to lead a long, healthy life.

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