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Types of Nutrients: Are You Getting All of What Your Body Needs?

Types of Nutrients: Are You Getting All of What Your Body Needs?

Our bodies are entirely made up of and fuelled by the food and beverages we consume. And not a day goes by without doing the most important thing of the day – to eat. More than preventing one from being hangry (hungry + angry), food drives all the nutrients a person needs to move and to do other activities planned in a day. Everyone eats several times a day, but what are the different types of nutrients each food has? Read on to know the essentials and if you are covering all of it for your body.

What are Nutrients?

Nutrients are essential substances that the body requires for proper functioning. People take in and receive a good amount of these through their diet while serving their basic functions:

  • Give energy
  • Support bodily structure
  • Regulate chemical processes

These fundamental functions enable you to perceive, react, and even respond to the environment you are in. Over 40 different types of nutrients are present across the food varieties but they can be classified into two big umbrellas – the macronutrients and the micronutrients.

Types of Nutrients: Macronutrients

As the name implies, macronutrients refer to the types of nutrients that the body needs in large quantities. These supply energy to the body system in the form of calories.

Carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins belong to this bigger category.

Carbohydrates

They are widely known as the main source of energy that is made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They enter the bloodstream as glucose (blood sugar), which your body uses for fuel before storing the rest as fat. One gram of digested carbohydrates provides four kilocalories of energy for the cells to conduct work.

Moreover, this particular type of nutrient is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system, heart, and kidneys.

Some good sources of carbohydrates are:

  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Cereals
  • Grains
  • Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Fruits

According to the American Dietary Guidelines, carbohydrates should account for 45-65 percent of our daily calories.

Lipids (Fat)

Lipids are quite similar to carbohydrates as they are also a group of nutrients with carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen-based compounds. But this type, on the other hand, is insoluble in water. They are in charge of delivering and storing energy in the body.

As a major component of cell membranes, they govern a variety of other physiological activities and bodily functions like:

  • Wrapping and protecting organs (in fat-storing tissues)
  • Providing insulation to aid in temperature regulation

Lipids have a higher energy density per gram nine kilocalories per gram of lipids as compared to the previous carbohydrates. Thus, making it the most concentrated source of energy

Triglycerides (triacylglycerols), phospholipids, and sterols are the three main forms of lipids.

You can find lipids in one or more of the following:

  • Oils
  • Butter
  • Meat, fish, dairy
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Avocados

Proteins

These are made up of amino acids or the building blocks of tissues that are responsible for bodily tissue growth, repair, and maintenance.

Each protein contains four kilocalories per gram of energy.

Food containing proteins include:

  • Animal sources (chicken and poultry, meat, seafood)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products (tofu, soy, milk)
  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts)
  • Whole grains

Water

The body contains 45-75percent of water, which is a great component in the blood and other body fluids. As a result, it aids in the transport of nutrients throughout the body and into and out of cells. Furthermore, it also facilitates the regulation of body temperature and is employed in a variety of bodily activities.

The general rule of thumb is for a person to drink 8-10 glasses per day.

Types of Nutrients: Micronutrients

Micronutrients are little amounts of nutrients that the body needs. The powerful combination of vitamins and minerals belongs to this category.

Vitamins

Each vitamin plays an important role in a particular process in your body. Among them is the assistance it provides in the proper functioning of the following:

  • Metabolism
  • Growth and development
  • Immune system

Vitamins are characterized as fat-soluble or water-soluble (B complex vitamins and vitamin C) (vitamins A, D, E, & K).

Minerals

Like vitamins, minerals are elements that are also necessary for the body to operate the way it should. Some minerals are needed in metabolic activities, while others, such as calcium in our bones and teeth, are used as part of body architecture.

You can easily spot both in a wide food selection, ranging from fruits and vegetables to meat, seafood, and more.

Key Takeaways

The food you eat says so much about how you can go on and power through all the things you need to do. So, make sure you are getting all these nutrients and more for your body to function, day in and day out.

Learn more about nutrition facts here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

6 Essential Nutrients, https://open.maricopa.edu/nutritionessentials/chapter/essential-nutrients/ Accessed November 17, 2021

How Your Body Gets Nutrients From Foods, https://www.breastcancer.org/tips/nutrition/healthy_eat/nutrients Accessed November 17, 2021

Nutrition Basics, https://mynutrition.wsu.edu/nutrition-basics Accessed November 17, 2021

Nutrient Classifications, https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/static/100022.html Accessed November 17, 2021

Nutrients, https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/canteen-mgr-tr1~nutrients Accessed November 17, 2021

The Six Basic Nutrients, https://eatsmartmovemoreva.org/the-six-basic-nutrients/ Accessed November 17, 2021

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Written by Fiel Tugade Updated 2 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Kristel Lagorza