The complicated human organism has more than 30 trillion cells!
Mindblowing, I know!
It‘s probably even more than that, but there are only so many studies out there, and the topic is so delicate that even if we look at concrete results, we still wouldn‘t be 100% sure about it.
All of those cells, require nourishment so they can sustain the existence of the organism, that they are a part of. In other words, they need fuel. They need energy in the form of nutrients (and calories, but that‘s just a measure for energy).
The building blocks of those nutrients are called amino-acids. We can also say that the building blocks of all living organisms are amino acids!
When You consume food, the body breaks it down to its building blocks (amino acids).
The amino acids that cannot be syntehsized in the human body are known as Essential amino acids. Because they cannot be synthesized by the body itself, they need to be obtained from somewhere else – Food!
That is the reason they are considered essential. There is only one (natural) source for these amino acids!
The non-essential nutrients on the other hand are nutrients that can already be synthesized in the body, and they needn‘t be obtained from outside sources (food, nutrients).
What are some good examples of essential nutrients?
The essential fatty acids, ALA (omega-3 fatty acid) and LA (omega-6 fatty acid) are considered essential because they provide energy to the body, and mainly because the body cannot synthesize them itself in sufficient quantities!
They should come from the diet!
The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids fall down in the category of Polyunsaturated fats. Having said that, we can conduct that the Polyunsaturated fat is the only type of fat that can be considered essential.
They are found in fish, flaxseed, walnuts, and nuts, vegetable oils, whole grains, and many more.
The other fats – Trans Fats, Saturated fats, Monounsaturated fats – are not considered essential, but they can still have a positive effect on overall health.
Except the Trans fats – Stay away from them if You can!
Glucose’s main role in the human body is energy. Glucose generally comes from carbohydrates!
Since its main role is energy, and the body can produce glucose in other ways, besides consuming carbohydrates, glucose and hence carbohydrates (because that’s where glucose comes from) are not considered essential. It’s not mandatory for glucose to come from and outside source (carbs).
Does that mean, You should not consume carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are found in larger amounts, mainly in fruits and vegetables.
The nutrients that the body needs for proper function, not just energy are also found in fruits and vegetables!
You decide, whether or not they are essential!
The human body is in constant “Build and Repair” mode.
As a forerunner for amino acids (the building blocks of the human body), protein is the structure behind cells, tissues and organs.
The amino acids of protein must be consumed from the diet, since the body is unable to synthesize sufficient quantities for survival.
Sources include plant and animal foods. Meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, fish, beans and many more.
By no means should You consider that the non-essential nutrients are not needed!
The term “Non-essential” only means that the body can make as much of those nutrients as it needs for survival, hence they are not required by the body from an outside source, such as food.
What makes a nutrient essential or non-essential?
The nutrient has to be required for proper bodily function and it cannot be synthesized by the body in sufficient quantities!
Essential or Non-essential, the consumption of nutrients is important for proper bodily function and life!
So, Which macronutrients can be considered as essential nutrients?
Carbs – Not Really!
Fats – Some of them!
Protein – Definitely!