How Much of Each Nutrient Do You Need?

 , New Delhi  |  Updated: February 03, 2015 10:47 IST

How Much of Each Nutrient Do You Need?

It's a well known fact that iron, vitamins and carbohydrates are nutrients essential to keep our body fit. But we need to be careful about the quantity, warns an expert.

Annapurna Agrawal, nutritionist at Snap Fitness India, recommends a list of nutrients that are required by our body. Focus on the quantity to avoid health problems.

Carbohydrate: Whole grains cereals, legumes, fruits, milk, sugar, honey and potatoes are sources of carbohydrates. Quantity should be 40 percent to 60 percent of your calories requirement.

It provides energy, and helps in oxidation of fat. Insufficient amount of carbohydrate can cause lack of calories, which can lead to malnutrition. Excessive consumption will make you obese.

Protein: Eat pulses, legumes, nuts, milk and its products, chicken, fish, and egg to give your body much needed protein. According to body weight, consume 0.8 to 1 gm or Kg of protein to help in growth and maintenance of body.

It gives structure and shape to all the cells, organs and connective tissues. Proteins also help your body fight infection.

Malnutrition, weight loss, thinning of hair, muscle soreness, weakness and lethargy, are among other things that you will experience if there is less amount of protein present in your body.

Fat: Ghee, butter, cream, cheese, nuts, seed, egg, fish, chicken, pork and beef are all rich in fat. 15 to 25 percent of calories requirement is the right quantity.

It provides energy, helps in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A,D,E and K. It is important for the development of the brain and central nervous system. There will be poor vitamin absorption and depression, if you don't have fat in your body. However, overeating food items rich in fat will lead to obesity, stroke and many more.

Vitamin A: Sweet potato with peel, carrots, spinach, liver, fish are the sources of this vitamin. 700 to 900 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A per day strengthen immunity against infection and help in vision.

Lack of Vitamin A can cause night blindness and rough skin. Excess of it can affect the bone, which increases the risk of fractures.

Vitamin D: 15 mcgs of vitamin D rich food items like egg yolk and liver help to form and maintain your teeth and bones.

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: This acts as an antioxidant and protects vitamins A and C, and red blood cells from destruction. So have 15 mcg of vegetable oil like soybean, corn and cottonseed. Egg yolks also contain vitamin E.

Vitamin E deficiency is rare. Cases of this vitamin deficiency usually occurs in premature infants.

Vitamin K: All leafy vegetables are said to be good for health. Turnip greens, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil and olive oil are all rich in vitamin K.

The vitamin is required for proper blood clotting. Just have 120 mcg every day. Haemorrhaging can happen if you don't include it in your diet. Overindulgence can lead to vomiting.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)- The sources are whole grain, bread and cereals. Non-vegetarians can find this vitamin in liver, pork, and eggs. 0.8 to 1 mg per day is sufficient.

It helps with energy production in your body. Deficiency can cause numbness, tingling and loss of sensation.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Dark green vegetables, legumes, whole and enriched grain products, and milk, along with liver, eggs should be eaten. 1.1 to 1.3 mg per day of this vitamin helps to release energy from foods, promotes good vision, and healthy skin.

Cracks at the corners of the mouth, light sensitivity, and a sore, red tongue are the problems you can face if you don't have vitamin B2.

Vitamin C: 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.

It heals wound, helps in 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. Loss of collagen results in loose teeth, bleeding and swollen gums, and improper wound healing.

Excess leads to formation of kidney stones and you may even suffer from diarrhoea.

Iron - Have beans, lentils, beef, eggs to stay away from anaemia, dizziness or fainting.

Men should have 8mg per day. For women 18 mg per day is sufficient.

Calcium: Milk, yoghurt, spinach are rich in calcium. 1000 mg per day of calcium is essential for bone growth and strength, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and the transmission of nerve signals.

Absence of calcium can lead to thinning and weakening of bone.

Related Recipes -

Try this clear vitamin soup

Calcium rich ragi cookies

A healthy pumpkin-oats cake, full of Vitamin A, fiber & iron

Radiant lemonade loaded with Vitamin C

A high protein breakfast- Chicken omelette with mushrooms

Healthy Patrani Machchi

Healthy Sindhi dal preparation with five lentils

Veggie Soya Haleem

Listen to the latest songs, only on

For the calorie conscious - oats idli

An Indian chicken curry recipe with yogurt

CommentsMelon and Kiwi Fruit Smoothie


For the latest food news, health tips and recipes, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and YouTube.