What is the daily nutrition needs?

Embark on a journey to optimal health with our comprehensive guide on nutrition. Discover the power of balanced diets, the science behind food nutrients, and personalized tips for a healthier lifestyle. Nourish your body and mind with evidence-based advice tailored to your wellness goals

The body needs essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, from food. It also needs water and energy (calories).

Most people have nutrient shortfalls. Many of these are linked to poor health.

Choose foods lower in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt to help meet your daily nutrition needs. This includes limiting processed and ‘sometimes’ foods, such as commercial burgers, pizza, alcohol, lollies, cake and biscuits.


Protein is an essential nutrient for the body to function properly. It helps in the growth and repair of tissues, as well as in the production of hormones and red blood cells.

Current guidelines recommend that adults 19 years of age and older get 10% to 35% of their daily calories from protein. This equates to about 200 to 700 grams of protein a day for a person who consumes 2,000 calories daily. A simple way to estimate your protein intake is to use a food journal for one or two days, focusing on the protein content of each meal and snack. Protein sources include meat, fish, eggs, dairy and legumes (lentils, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lima beans and soy products such as tofu and soy milk).

Most Americans meet or exceed their protein requirements. This is particularly true for men ages 19-59, who generally get more than their RDA from meat, poultry and dairy alone. Getting too much protein can lead to excess weight gain, so it’s important to monitor your intake and balance with other nutrients.

A 3- to 4-ounce portion of meat, poultry or fish contains about 7 grams of protein. Protein-rich foods should be paired with whole grains, fruits and vegetables to provide fiber and other essential nutrients. To reduce saturated fat, choose lean cuts of meat and avoid fried foods. If you’re unsure about how to fit protein into your diet, consider working with a registered dietitian. A registered dietitian can help you create a healthy eating plan that includes proteins from a variety of sources, such as seafood, poultry, dairy and plant-based foods. Most people don’t need to take protein supplements, but if you do, choose those that are dairy (such as whey or casein), soy, or vegetarian based and free of extra ingredients such as sweeteners or herbs.



Carbohydrates are one of the body’s primary energy sources, along with proteins and fats. They can be broken down to simple sugars or used as fuel by cells to provide immediate energy or stored as glycogen for later use. Carbohydrates are found in a variety of foods including grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Healthy carbohydrate choices are those that are less processed and have a lower glycemic index, which means they are digested and absorbed more slowly.

Choosing carbohydrate-rich foods that are also high in fiber is a healthful way to meet your daily needs. This includes whole grains (like brown rice, quinoa and wild rice), fruits, root vegetables, beans and low-fat dairy products. Avoiding food and drinks that are high in added sugar is a good way to control the amount of carbohydrates you consume, as these tend to be more energy-dense than other foods.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that carbohydrates should make up 45% to 65% of total calories for adults. This is an important range, as carbohydrates are needed to keep the brain and nervous system working properly. The best source of carbohydrates is from whole foods, which are generally more nutritious than those that are refined. For example, whole grains contain the bran, germ and endosperm, which are full of nutrients. Refined grains, on the other hand, have been processed to remove these nutrients and may be lacking in dietary fiber and B vitamins.

The Nutrition Facts label on a food package can help you determine the carbohydrate content of a product. Look at the “Total Carbohydrate” row to see how many grams of carbohydrates a food or drink contains.


Fat provides energy and helps your body absorb certain nutrients, including the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fat also adds texture and flavor to foods. It is important to limit saturated fat and increase monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that 20-35% of your calories come from fat, with less than 10% of those coming from saturated fat. Unsaturated fats, which are found in fish, avocados and nuts, and in olive, canola, and sunflower oils, are healthier choices than saturated fats, which are found in fatty meat, lard, shortening, and full-fat and reduced-fat dairy products.

Reducing the amount of saturated fat you eat can help lower your risk for heart disease. The best way to do this is to choose lean cuts of meat and to avoid fried or fatty foods. You can also substitute the meat in some meals with poultry or beans and eat low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk or fat-free yogurt.

In order to calculate how many grams of fat you need in a day, start by estimating your daily calorie intake and then multiply that number by 10%. For example, if you consume 2,000 calories a day, you would want to consume no more than 200 of those calories from saturated fat. Since each gram of fat contains nine calories, this means you should be consuming between 44 and 78 grams of fat a day.

It’s recommended that you get most of your carbohydrates from unprocessed, whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts, rather than refined flour products and sugary desserts and snacks. Carbohydrates should make up 40-70% of your total calorie intake.


Vitamins are essential nutrients needed in small amounts to keep your body working properly. They help your eyesight, strengthen your bones and immune system, and even protect against certain cancers. They also support a healthy digestive tract, and keep your heart and muscles strong. You can get most vitamins from a well-balanced diet. If you have a gastrointestinal condition or are elderly, you may need more vitamin B vitamins, particularly folate. You can get these from meats, fish, dairy products, legumes and whole grains. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need more vitamin B12, especially folate, which prevents birth defects. You can find it in eggs, poultry, milk and fortified cereals.

Minerals are elements that can be found naturally on the earth or made by plants. They are important for the body’s processes and make up part of your cells, bones, nerves, blood and more. Like vitamins, most minerals can be found in a well-balanced diet. You can get most from fruits, vegetables and whole grains, especially dark leafy greens, beans and nuts. You can also get some from seafood, meats and fish, and some unsaturated fats such as those in olive oil, avocado, and nuts.

Most of the vitamins and minerals your body needs have an upper limit (UL) for daily intake, which is usually based on age. For example, men ages 51 to 70 should not take more than 100 mcg (4,000 IU) of vitamin D daily.

While it is possible to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from a balanced diet, many Americans don’t. A recent report from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans found that most adults lack key nutrients such as calcium, potassium, dietary fiber and vitamin D.


Minerals are inorganic substances found in soil and water that are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals. Some minerals are needed in larger amounts, such as calcium and sodium, while others, like copper, iodine, iron, selenium and zinc, are called trace minerals because they need to be consumed in very small amounts. Like vitamins, most people can get the minerals they need from a well-rounded diet.

Vitamins are organic substances that help keep the body working properly. They are available in food and also can be taken as dietary supplements. A person can get enough of the water-soluble vitamins, such as B vitamins and C, from a variety of foods, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. The fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D and E, are stored in the body’s cells. A diet high in saturated and trans fats can lead to a vitamin deficiency.

Some minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, are present in a variety of foods. The highest amounts of potassium are in bananas, spinach and beans. Some sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, whole grains and nuts and seeds. People who are concerned about meeting the DV for a specific mineral can consult with a health care provider to discuss the possibility of taking a mineral supplement.

Minerals are generally safe to consume in the amount recommended by the NIH, but excessive intake of certain minerals can be harmful. Too much iron, for example, can cause toxicity and anemia. This can be the result of consuming too many iron-containing foods or a supplement, or from taking too much iron as prescribed by a doctor.


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