Nutrients are essential substances found in food that provide the building blocks and energy required for the proper functioning of our bodies. They can be categorized into two main types: macronutrients and micronutrients.
These are the nutrients that our bodies need in large quantities to sustain everyday functions and provide energy. The three primary macronutrients are:
Proteins are essential for growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues, including muscles, organs, and the immune system. They are composed of amino acids and can be found in sources like meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts.
Fats play a vital role in energy storage, insulation, and protection of organs. They also aid in the absorption of certain vitamins. Healthy fat sources include avocados, nuts, seeds, oily fish, and plant oils. It’s important to consume fats in moderation and choose healthier options like unsaturated fats over saturated and trans fats.
These are essential nutrients required in smaller quantities to support various bodily functions. Micronutrients include:
Vitamins are organic compounds that are crucial for growth, development, and overall health. They assist in various processes such as immune function, metabolism, and cell repair. Common vitamins include vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, etc.), which are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fortified foods.
Minerals are inorganic substances that are necessary for proper body functions, including building strong bones, regulating fluid balance, and aiding in nerve function. Examples of minerals include calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc, which can be obtained from foods like dairy products, leafy greens, legumes, and lean meats.