Find the Essential Nutrients and Their Functions

Essential Nutrients

Nutrients provide energy, repair and build tissues, therefore, are indispensable. To carry out all the physiological processes that allow us to be alive, the body needs essential nutrients which are acquired through food.

These are divided into macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are found in most of the foods i.e. proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. Among the micronutrients are vitamins and minerals.

Water is another essential nutrient without which we cannot live and it helps all physiological processes taking place in the body. Moreover, the fiber is another essential nutrient.

Nutrients That Give Us Energy

Nutrients are also divided in energy nutrients i.e. give the energy needed by the body. This is obtained by burning inside of cells with oxygen carrying in blood. Macronutrients are the main source of energy.

The second group is known as plastics nutrients and proteins belong to them. They serve to build and regenerate our body.

What are the macronutrients?

Carbohydrates or Sugars

They are a source of energy. Along with fats, they release energy with which our body maintains its vital functions. They are of two types as simple absorption or quick absorption. The simple come quickly into the blood and its consumption should be rational and moderate in complex amount. They go slower from intestine into the blood and should be present in each of the meals. The rich carbohydrate foods are cereals, pastries, vegetables, nuts and fruit.

Fats or Lipids

They are a source of highly concentrated and storable energy i.e. the body reserves them for times of scarcity. If it is not consumed, it turns into excessive weight and can lead to obesity as well as other diseases. There are different types of fats;

Saturated Fat

It is mostly found in animal fats like bacon, butter and lard.

Monounsaturated Fats

They are vegetable fats and are found in oils such as olive, corn, sunflower and peanut.

Polyunsaturated Fat

It is from plant and are found in seeds and nuts such as walnuts. Although it can also be found in some fish such as blue, salmon, tuna and mackerel.


Proteins determine the shape and structure of cells and are involved in almost all vital processes. They make and regenerate tissues and function our body like the bricks do for a house.

Once ingested through different foods, the body converts proteins into basic unit i.e. amino acids. The human proteins are a combination of 20 amino acids, of which nine are essential i.e. must be supplied daily through food. These are

  1. Histidine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Leucine
  4. Lysine
  5. Methionine
  6. Phenylalanine
  7. Threonine
  8. Tryptophan
  9. Valine

The quality of a protein depends on the amount of essential amino acids present in it. All essential amino acids found in animal proteins i.e. egg, meat, fish and dairy are of better quality or higher biological value than those of plant origin.

What are Micronutrients?


They are needed in small quantities, although by no means, they are less important than other nutrients. They do not provide energy, but without them the body is unable to exploit the constructive elements and energy provided by food. Vitamins are found in fresh and natural products such as fruits and vegetables.


These are elements that body needs in very small amounts and function is regulatory and they do not provide energy. Calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron and sulfur are essential minerals needed by the body. Trace elements are also essential, but the body requires them in smaller quantities such as zinc, copper, iodine, chromium, selenium, cobalt, molybdenum, manganese and fluoride. You can  read more info at Mens Weekly.