Essential nutrients

Essential nutrientsThere are a number of essential vitamins which are involved in a variety of different functions in the body. Most vitamins cannot be made in the body and must therefore be obtained from the diet. Like vitamins, minerals are involved in a wide variety of functions and are required in varying amounts. Some are needed in such small amounts that they are referred to as trace elements or trace minerals, although this makes them no less important.

A balanced diet will provide all the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients required by the body.


Proteins are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's cells, tissues, and organs. For information on red meat and protein please click here    


The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and the nervous system. The body breaks down starches and sugars into a simple sugar called glucose, which is used for energy by the body.  

Fat is one of the three nutrients, along with protein and carbohydrates, that supply calories to the body. Fat provides nine calories per gram, more than twice the number provided by carbohydrates or protein. It is essential for the proper functioning of the body and provides the "essential" fatty acids, which are not made by the body and must be obtained from food. Healthy skin and hair are maintained by fat. For information on red meat and fat please visit here


Vitamin A

Necessary for growth & repair of body tissues; help maintain smooth, soft disease-free skin; help protect the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat & lungs, thereby reducing susceptibility to infections. They also protect against air pollutants, counteract night-blindness & weak eyesight and aid in bone and teeth formation.

Vitamin B

B vitamins are important for the metabolism and help in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system.  


Folate helps with tissue growth and cell function. It works alongside vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help the body digest and use proteins, and is necessary for the production of red blood cells. In addition, folate also helps to increase appetite when needed.

Vitamin C

Promotes healthy teeth and gums, helps in the absorption of iron, aids in the maintenance of normal connective tissue, and promotes wound healing. It also helps the body's immune system.

Vitamin D

Promotes the body's absorption of calcium and is also important for the growth and maintenance of bones and teeth.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects body tissue from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals. Free radicals can harm cells, tissues, and organs, and they are believed to be one of the causes of the degenerative processes seen in ageing. Vitamin E is also important in the formation of red blood cells.


Iron Iron is essential in order to ensure effective oxygen flow throughout the body and ensure healthy muscles and tissues. 
Click here for more information about iron.

Potassium - Potassium is necessary for the building of muscle and for normal body growth. It is also needed for the proper functioning of nerve cells, in the brain and throughout the body.

Calcium - Calcium is the most plentiful mineral found in the human body, accounting for 1.5% to 2% of an adult's total body weight. The teeth and the bones contain the majority of the body's calcium (about 99%). Nerve cells, body tissues, blood, and other body fluids contain the remaining calcium. Calcium is one of the most important minerals for the growth, maintenance, and reproduction of the human body and is essential for the formation and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones.

Copper - Copper, along with iron, helps in the formation of red blood cells. It also helps in keeping the blood vessels, nerves, immune system, and bones healthy.

Zinc - The body has no specific reserves of zinc and it is, therefore, essential to obtain it from regular dietary intake. Beef and lamb are the best sources of zinc, which is important for a healthy immune system and growth in children. Other foods high in zinc include poultry and seafood.

Magnesium - Magnesium plays a role in the production and transport of energy in the body. It is also important for the contraction and relaxation of muscles and is involved in making protein.

Selenium - Selenium protects against oxidative damage to cells and stimulates the immune system. For further information on red meat and minerals please visit here


Fibre helps in the digestive process and some types of fibre lower cholesterol and help control blood glucose. The two types of fibre in food are soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre, found in beans, fruits, and oat products, dissolves in water and is thought to help lower blood cholesterol and blood glucose. Insoluble fibre, found in whole-grain products and vegetables, passes directly through the digestive system, helping to rid the body of waste products and possibly reduce the risk of diseases, such as colon cancer.