What Are Nutrients and How Important Are They?

To put it simply, food is any substance fed to an organism to give it basic nutritional support. In its simplest form, food is any food that an animal can eat to survive, and in that respect it pretty much works. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and is made up of essential nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or minerals, depending on the type of food. Modern humans have adapted to a large extent to this form of eating, with many of our modern day foods being far more nutritious than anything our ancestors ate for their nutritional needs. The main difference today is that we often eat these types of foods in far greater quantities than they were ever eaten by our ancestors.


One way we can ensure our bodies are getting the proper balance of nutrients is by ensuring that we eat a balanced diet. A balanced diet is food that contains all the nutrients an individual requires to maintain their health, including protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals, with the small proportion of saturated fat as an absolute minimum. It also needs to be consumed in the right proportions. Too much of one nutrient may make a person feel unhealthy, but just not enough of another will result in inadequate nutrition. As a general rule, you should aim to consume foods that comprise at least 50% of your daily calories in order to maintain your body’s health and immune system healthy.

Another way to ensure that we get a good balance of nutrients and avoid nutritional deficiencies is to ensure that we eat foods that contain a variety of the different nutrients together, rather than only a single type of nutrient. For example, whole grain bread is a great source of dietary fibre, which helps to keep you fuller longer. In addition to whole grain bread, oatmeal is another great source of dietary fibre. The combination of these different nutrients provide an excellent source of energy, as well as a number of other nutrients including B vitamins and trace minerals such as iron and zinc.

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