Essential nutrients are those that must be supplied by our diets because they cannot be made in adequate amounts by our bodies.聽 By consuming the recommended amount of each food group, your diet will likely provide the essential nutrients needed for your mind and body to function properly.聽 Here is some information about the essential nutrients, their functions, and their food sources.


Water is essential in your diet.聽 Without enough water, you may become dehydrated – a life-threatening condition.聽 Water is needed to maintain cellular activity, to carry nutrients to your cells, to maintain normal blood pressure and body temperature, and to act as a lubricant in joints and other parts of the body.

Depending on your weight, activity level, and climate, you should drink 8-12 cups of water (a total of 64 to 96 ounces of water) every day.聽 The main source of water is water itself, but you also may obtain water through other beverages and foods, such as milk, juice, soup, and ice cream.聽 To ensure adequate intake, keep a container of water handy at home, at work, and wherever you exercise.

Read more about additional nutrients:

Sign up for E-mails, Dateline Magazine, and other ways to stay connected.