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13 Essential Nutrients for Overall Health

We’re constantly bombarded with information about which nutrients we need to be consuming more of, and their benefits for the body. With such busy lives, it can feel overwhelming to try and eat all of the foods required to meet these needs.

So which nutrients are the most important to our overall health? They’re referred to as “essential nutrients” because they’re just that—essential. Not only because the body needs them to performs its day-to-day functions, but also because it can’t produce them its own. Therefore, they must be obtained through food sources or supplements. The following are 13 such essential nutrients and why the body needs them.

1. Protein

Protein intake is a hot topic right now, and for good reason! Not only is the nutrient essential for the formation of muscles, but Healthline.com says it also “provides the building blocks of the body… Every cell, from bone to skin to hair, contains protein.”

These building blocks that protein is made up of are called amino acids, of which there are 20 types. And while the body is capable of creating some of them, Dr. Axe indicates, “…nine of these are considered essential amino acids because they can’t be produced by your body,” therefore they must come from a person’s diet. To get an adequate amount, the source suggests eating a variety of protein sources, including “meat, eggs, dairy, nuts and beans.”

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