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6 Essential Nutrients for a Healthy Body

Essential Nutrients

The human body is a complex mechanism that needs certain resources to function appropriately. Food is one of those essential resources. But while eating is essential for survival, eating the right way is essential for a healthy body.

As per The World Health Organization (WHO), some essential nutrients are crucial in supporting a person’s reproduction, health, and growth. WHO divides these essential nutrients into micronutrients and macronutrients.

Micronutrients refer to the nutrients needed in small doses, like vitamins and minerals. However, even if the body only needs small amounts of them, a deficiency can cause ill health.

Macronutrients, on the other hand, are the nutrients needed in larger amounts. These consist of water, protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Collectively, there are six essential nutrients for a healthy body- vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, water, and carbohydrates.

Continue reading to know more about these 6 essential nutrients.

Table of Contents 

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Protein
  • Fats 
  • Carbohydrates
  • Water
  • Conclusion


Vitamins offer a wide variety of benefits such as boosting the immune system and promoting blood health. They also aid in maintaining healthy skin and strengthen the teeth and bones. Apart from serving the body with such benefits they also help in the absorption of calcium and metabolization of proteins and carbs. 

There are 13 essential vitamins that have been divided into two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble.

Fat-soluble vitamins are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Water-soluble vitamins are:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B-1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B-3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Vitamin B-7 (biotin)
  • Vitamin B-9 (folate, folic acid)
  • Vitamin B-12 (cyanocobalamin)

Usually, a diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins can get you all the vitamins you need. However, in certain cases like digestive conditions, people might need to take vitamin supplements to avoid a deficiency.


Minerals can be broadly divided into major and trace minerals. The major minerals help the body balance water levels, improve bone health and maintain healthy skin, hair and nails. The trace minerals support the immune system and prevent tooth decay along with helping in blood clotting and carrying oxygen.    

Major minerals are:

  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Sulfur
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride

Trace minerals are:

  • Iron
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Fluoride
  • Molybdenum

To ensure a mineral-rich diet, you should add foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, poultry, dairy products and iodized table salt (not more than 2300mg). You can also choose to have red meat but you should limit its intake and choose leaner cuts.


Protein, popularly referred to as the building block of cells, is a macronutrient that is essential for muscle building.    

Proteins look after several functions of the body like the growth and development of muscles, bones, hair, and skin. They even form antibodies, hormones, and other essential substances. Furthermore, they serve as a fuel source for cells and tissues when needed. 

Some of the best plant-based protein sources include nuts, soy, beans, legumes and some grains like quinoa. Animal protein sources comprise foods like red meats, poultry, fish and other seafood.


Although high-fat foods are rightly associated with poor health, some amount of specific fats is essential for maintaining your health.  

Healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help the body with several functions like cell growth, blood clotting, muscle movement, mineral and vitamin absorption and a lot more. They can even reduce the risk of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes, help balance blood sugar levels and aid brain functioning.

You can consume healthy fats through foods like nuts, fish (such as salmon and tuna), vegetable oils, coconut oil and seeds. 


Carbohydrates cater to the major energy demand of the body. They can be classified into- simple and complex carbohydrates. 

You should try limiting your intake of simple carbohydrates, found in foods such as white bread, pasta, and rice. Nevertheless, the body needs complex carbohydrates to support the immune system, brain function, nervous system, digestive function and gather the energy to perform tasks. 

The recommended intake of complex carbohydrates for an average person is- 45–65% of the daily calories.

You should eat foods like quinoa, brown rice, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, oatmeal and barley, to consume the required complex carbohydrates. 


The importance of water could be easily judged from the fact that over two-thirds of the human body is made up of water. A person can survive only a few days without this precious liquid. 

Water flushes out toxins from the body, prevents constipation, transports nutrients and does a lot more. 

The best way to consume water is to drink natural, unsweetened water. Try avoiding or limiting your water consumption from sugary drinks like sweetened teas, coffees, soda, lemonade, and fruit juices. However, you can get some extra water by consuming fruits that contain a large proportion of water.


So, plan your diet well to include these six essential nutrients to keep your body healthy. 

A healthy balanced diet generally includes lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, complex carbs and water. However, people with some medical conditions may need supplements to help their bodies get these essential nutrients. But such supplements should only be taken under the guidance of a medical professional.

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