What are Nutrients?
Nutrients are elements found in all food sources, which are used by all living beings to endure and grow. Nutrition is the supply and absorption of essential compounds required for healthy growth, development, metabolism, absorption, assimilation and a lot more.
Types of Nutrients
Based on their requirement by our system, the nutrients are classified into two categories.
Macronutrients include fats, proteins and carbohydrates, which provide the energy required for the functioning of the metabolic system. It is also referred to as the major components, as they are required in large quantities as our body cannot synthesis these nutrients.
Micronutrients include calcium, iron, vitamins, iron, minerals and vitamin C.
It provides essential components for metabolism to be carried out. They also build and repair damaged tissues to control the body process. It is also referred to as the minor components or trace components, as they are required in a minute quantity.
Altogether there are eleven essential nutrients, which play an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
These essential nutrients include carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins, minerals, calcium, sodium, potassium, fatty acids, and vitamin D. Therefore, we need to consume a healthy diet including all these essential nutrients for maintaining optimal health as our body cannot synthesize on its own.
Apart from these essential nutrients, there are non-essential nutrients, including amino acids and cholesterol, which is generally synthesised by our body and is required in a very low quantity compared to the essential nutrients.
Source of Nutrients
Food rich in carbohydrates:
Sugar, berries, banana, pineapple, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, soy milk, barley, apples, oranges, grapes, wild rice, brown rice, pumpkin, carrot, tomatoes, whole grains products, etc.
Food rich in calcium:
Almonds, carrots, milk, broccoli, canned fish, papaya, garlic, cashew, etc.
Food rich in fats:
It is the most concentrated source of energy, which is classified based on their essential and non-essential requirements for our body. Food rich in fats includes cheese, butter, cream, oily food, processed food, cookies, etc.
Food rich in proteins:
Almonds, oats, peanut, milk, eggs, curd, seafood, pulses, chicken, beans, cottage cheese and yoghurt.
Food rich in minerals:
There are different sources of minerals in food, which includes spinach, apples, oranges, tomatoes, papaya, bananas, lemons, celery, mushrooms, pecans, raisins, pineapple, rice, cucumbers, strawberries, figs, brussels sprouts, legumes, etc.
Food rich in vitamins:
Corn, wheat, dates, black beans, peas, cereals, dates, yoghurt, mushrooms, popcorn, beef liver, green leafy vegetables, nuts, milk, liver, ripe yellow fruits, citrus fruits, guava, grapes, strawberries, bananas, kiwi, watermelon, mangoes, and other vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, tomatoes, broccoli and cabbage.
Nutrients in Plants
Like humans, animals and birds, plants do need certain essential nutrients for their growth and development. Plants require macronutrients in relatively large amounts and the nine essential macronutrients are – carbon, hydrogen and oxygen; the other three elements are found in all organic compounds as well in the nitrogen. The micronutrients in plants, which are required in trace amounts include boron, calcium, chloride, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and zinc.
These are a few information related to the importance of nutrients. For more information regarding the nutrients, their types, sources, deficiency-related disorders and other related topics, students can visit us at BYJU’S Biology. Learn more by watching interactive online video teachings on various Biology topics by subscribing to the BYJU’S YouTube Channel.