A calorie is a unit of energy. The number of calories foods contain tells us how much potential energy they posses.
Most all the parts of our bodies are made from protein: hair, skin, blood, organs, and muscles. It is needed for cells to grow. It also repairs or replaces healthy cells and tissues. Protein in food gives us calories - 4 calories in one gram. If we do not get enough calories from fat and carbohydrates we may use protein for energy.
Water serves as a solvent for nutrients and delivers nutrients to cells, while it also helps the body eliminate waste products from the cells. Both the spaces between cells (intercellular spaces) and the spaces inside cells (intracellular spaces) are filled with water. Water lubricates joints and acts as shock absorbers inside the eyes and spinal cord. Amniotic fluid, which is largely water, protects the fetus from bumps and knocks.
Calcium is a mineral that is important for building strong bones and teeth. Almost all of the calcium we use in our bodies is for building strong bones. A very small amount is needed to help our heart, nerves and muscles work.
Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. There are three different kinds of carbohydrates. They include starch, sugar, and fiber. Starch is made from chains of small sugars. When these chains are broken down during digestion, we get energy. We get 4 calories from each gram of starch (or sugar).
Fiber is one kind of carbohydrate. It's the part of plant foods that our bodies do not break down during digestion. Because fiber isn't digested, it doesn't give us calories.
Iron is a mineral that is an important part of our red blood cells. It is needed to carry oxygen from our lungs to our cells, muscles and organs.
Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the body. It's required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione.
Sugars are carbohydrates that provide the body with energy, our body’s fuel. Sugars occur naturally in fruit, vegetables and dairy foods and are added to foods for flavour, texture and colour.
Sodium is important for keeping a balance in pressure between the inside and outside of our cells. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure may increase the risk for having a heart attack or stroke.
Phosphorus is a mineral that makes up 1% of a person's total body weight.
Potassium is a mineral found in varying amounts in almost all foods. Diets high in potassium are associated with improved blood pressure control.
Fat is a nutrient that is an important source of calories. One gram of fat supplies 9 calories - more than twice the amount we get from carbohydrates or protein. Fat also is needed to carry and store essential fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A and D.
This is a type of fat that comes mainly from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. Saturated fat raises total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.
Zinc is a mineral that your body needs to be healthy. Zinc strengthens your immune system and helps in normal growth and development at all ages.
Vitamin C helps form a cement-like material between our cells. We need vitamin C to heal cuts, wounds, and burns. When we don't get enough vitamin C the "cement" between cells loses its strength and can cause us to bleed easily. It may show up as bleeding gums or bruises.
Thiamin is one of a group of vitamins called the "B vitamins." Another name for thiamin is vitamin B1. Thiamin works with other B vitamins to help your body use the energy it gets from food.
Riboflavin is one of a group of vitamins called "B vitamins." Another name for riboflavin is vitamin B2. Riboflavin works with other B vitamins to help your body use the energy you get from food. It also helps the body to use protein in food to build new cells and tissues.
Niacin is one of a group of vitamins called the "B vitamins." Niacin works with other B vitamins to help your body use the energy you get from food. It is also important to help use protein from the diet to build new cells and tissues.
Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine. It is involved in the process of making serotonin and norepinephrine, which are chemicals that transmit signals in the brain. Vitamin B6 is also involved in the formation of myelin, a protein layer that forms around nerve cells.
Folic acid is important for making blood and building cells. It is also called folate or folacin. Folic acid is found in many food groups in the Food Guide Pyramid.
Vitamin B12 makes healthy blood cells and helps keep our nerves working properly.
Vitamin A keeps your skin smooth and the linings of your mouth, nose, throat, lungs, and intestines healthy. Vitamin A is also needed for healthy eyes. It forms the part of the eye that helps you to see in dim light. People who do not get enough vitamin A may have a hard time seeing at night.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant whose main job in the body is to protect against cell damage. Vitamin E may also play a role in maintaining a healthy immune system and protecting against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
Vitamin D helps ensure that the body absorbs and retains calcium and phosphorus, both critical for building bone.
Vitamin K helps with many important functions in your body. Vitamin K helps your body heal wounds, maintain your blood vessels and keep your bones healthy. Vitamin K may also help in preventing fractures (broken bones), especially in women after menopause.
This is a type of fat found in a variety of foods and oils. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease.
This is a type of fat found mostly in plant-based foods and oils. Evidence shows that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease.
This is a type of fat that occurs naturally in some foods in small amounts. But most trans fats are made from oils through a food processing method called partial hydrogenation.
Cholesterol is needed by our bodies for our cells, nerves and brain. It is also important in forming hormones and enzymes.
Caffeine is best known for its stimulant, or "wake-up," effect. Once a person consumes caffeine, it is readily absorbed by the body and carried around in the bloodstream, where its level peaks about one hour after consumption. Caffeine mildly stimulates the nervous and cardiovascular systems.