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The importance of nutrients for a healthy life

How can you reach your recommended nutritional intake and avoid deficiencies by eating a varied diet? Granaline has all the secrets!


We've all heard the term 'nutrients', but few people are aware of the importance they play in the way our bodies function. Together, we're going to (re)see why it's essential to have a good nutritional intake and, above all, how to play with nutrients!


The food pyramid
The food pyramid


What are nutrients?


Nutrients are energy-giving substances required for the body to function properly. Very few of them are synthesised by our bodies, so they are mainly provided by food following digestion. These nutrients, which cannot be synthesised and are therefore provided by the diet, are called "essential nutrients". They include fatty acids (omega 3 and 6), amino acids (lysine, methionine, etc.), most vitamins and minerals.


A distinction is made between macronutrients and micronutrients [1].


What is a macronutrient?

Classic macronutrients
Where can I find macronutrients?

Macronutrients provide energy in the form of calories and ensure the body's vital functions. There are 3 complementary types of macronutrient:

  • Carbohydrates, which mainly provide energy,

  • Lipids, which have a structural role (components of the cell membrane) and an energetic role (lipid droplets containing triglycerides which provide energy),

  • Proteins, which have many vital roles (membrane receptors, molecule transporters, cell structure).


What is a micronutrient?

The micronutrients
Where can you find micronutrients?

Micronutrients are acaloric, i.e. they do not provide energy. However, they are involved in the metabolisation of ingested macronutrients and in many other metabolic reactions, which makes them essential to the proper functioning of our bodies. These are compounds that act at low doses, in the order of micrograms (µg)! They include :

  • Vitamins

  • Minerals and trace elements

They have very diverse and varied roles. Each has its own role, but often micronutrients can act in synergy, i.e. they work together to fulfil a function. For example, calcium, magnesium and vitamin K work together to build and maintain bone mass, and vitamins C and E help to combat oxidative stress.


What are my nutrient requirements?


Nutritional requirements are a complex subject. According to ANSES (Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l'Alimentation, de l'Environnement et du Travail), nutritional requirements are defined as "the minimum quantity of a nutrient that should be consumed by an individual to promote good health". These requirements are specific to each individual, and are likely to vary throughout our lives, depending on age, state of health, sex, potential pregnancy, etc. This is why scientists divide the population into different categories, and why nutritional indicators are presented separately for each of these groups.


In terms of macronutrients, the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has divided up the reference intakes of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins that an adult should consume. Thus, 45 to 60% of total energy intake should come from carbohydrates, 20 to 35% from fat, and 10 to 20% from protein [2].


How can I cover my nutritional needs?


There is no miracle food that contains all the vitamins and other nutrients you need, which is why the watchword is "diversification". It's not enough to eat just one type of vegetable or dairy product. On the contrary, that would be bad for your body, as it could lead to a deficiency in certain nutrients. And today, numerous studies (including the SU.VI.MAX study) have shown that a large proportion of the world's population has mild to moderate deficiencies in several nutrients! These include vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin E. Note that an inadequate intake of macronutrients commonly leads to micronutrient deficiencies [3]. Be careful, too much of a good thing! An excess of nutrients can have toxic and harmful effects on your health.


It's also possible to find yourself lacking even when you're careful about what you eat. It is therefore strongly recommended that you seek the advice of a specialist who will be able to determine your needs and guide you correctly, particularly in the use of food supplements if necessary, but this often requires an initial blood test.


Finally, there's no secret: diet is essential! Eating well is essential for preventing most illnesses. No matter how often we hear it, it's true: it's important to eat a healthy, balanced diet, avoid ultra-processed foods and dishes and favour functional foods such as pomegranates, chocolate and flaxseed. Hygiene and lifestyle can also have an impact (pollution, stress, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, etc).


Pure organic pomegranate juice is a drink rich in beneficial micronutrients, such as manganese for bone health, potassium for muscle function, vitamins B9 and B5 for energy production, vitamins K and C for blood clotting and vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress. Our Granaline pure organic pomegranate juice is an excellent source of micronutrients important for your vitality.

pomegranates

References

[1] Kaur, R., Sood, A., Kanotra, M. et al. Pertinence of nutriments for a stalwart body. Environ Sci Pollut Res 28, 54531–54550 (2021). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11356-021-16060-1

[2] EFSA (Autorité européenne de sécurité des aliments), 2017. Rapport sommaire sur les valeurs nutritionnelles de référence pour les nutriments. Publication de soutien de l’EFSA 2017.

[3] Mongeau, E. Apports en énergie et en macronutriments. Chapitre 3. 2004. https://bdso.gouv.qc.ca/docs-ken/multimedia

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