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Types of Nutrients

It’s ridiculous how much people think they know about nutrition these days but don’t understand the fundamental concepts when it comes to various types of nutrients.

Although our incredible obsession with weight and dieting has led to the boom of a billion dollar dieting industry, many people are aware of nutritional concepts such as fat, fiber, cholesterol, more than they ever were before.

These terms are important, but we need to understand the essentials in terms of what types of nutrients we need to be consuming on a daily basis.

The body needs six essential nutrients to function.

The first three are considered energy nutrients, or macronutrients. They consist of:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat
  • Protein

They are considered energy nutrients because they provide the body with energy. Each of these will be explained in detail in other articles but for now we just need to cover the essentials.

Carbohydrates provide the body with its most efficient and accessible source of energy and are relied heavily on during intense exercise. Fat is also a major fuel source (having a high concentration of calories) that provides the necessary essential fatty acids. As exercise intensity decreases, the proportion of fat burned increases accordingly. Lastly, protein builds and repairs body tissue, including muscles, tendons and ligaments.

The remaining three types of nutrients play a critical role in health but do not provide energy. They consist of:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

Vitamins are organic compounds and they are necessary for good health. They must be supplied through diet because the body is not capable of making them. Vitamins are referred to as micronutrients because they are needed in small amounts to support normal health. Minerals are very important nutrients that serve numerous functions. One of the most common minerals we hear about is sodium, which helps assist with levels of body fluid (i.e. sweating).

Lastly, everyone must understand that water is essential for human survival. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water and for good reason. It assists with everything from digestion to removing waste and regulating body temperature. We NEED water and we lots of it too. How do you know if you’re drinking enough water? Check out your urine: if it’s dark yellow, you need to drink more water. Urine should be pale yellow or even clear.

Nutrition really comes down to these essential types of nutrients. Once you understand exactly what you are putting in your body, it will be easier to make healthier food choices. Consider remembering the six essential types of nutrients to help assist you with your goals.

Vitamin Supplementation – True Functions of Vitamins | Best natural health & nutritional supplements articles - November 2, 2010

[…] children require vitamin supplements as well. This is because a lot of children do not consume the types of nutrients that they need in their early years – a vitamin supplement can help compensate for this […]

Shondra - June 29, 2011

Yes i agree 100% with the contents of this blog, it is equally important to be well-equipped with valuable information most especially when it comes to our health and body.

    Srdjan Popovic - June 29, 2011

    Thanks for the comment, Shondra. Knowledge is power and this definitely applies to the world of healthy living.

Rex Tyler - July 1, 2011

Very well said! Nutrition is essential to maintain your health and to shield yourself from illnesses and problems. Having good nutrition means eating the right types of foods (and that must be consist of the following nutrients you listed) in the right amounts so you get important nutrients. There are no special diets, or particular foods, that will boost your immune system. But there are things you can do to keep your immunity up.

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