What are Nutrients?

“Nutrients are the compounds in food that provide us with energy that facilitates repair and growth and helps to carry out different life processes.”

Not all nutrients provide energy but are necessary for some form or the other. These nutrients are divided into two categories:

  • Macronutrients, which are required by the body in large amounts.
  • Micronutrients, which are required by the body in small amounts.


Types of Nutrients

In general, there are two types of nutrients:

  • Macronutrients
  • Micronutrients

Above nutrients could be obtained from the environment. Macronutrients provide energy to a living being for the function of the metabolic system. They provide massive energy has it is converted used to obtain energy.  Macronutrients include fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.

Micronutrient provides essential components for metabolism to be carried out. They also build and repair damaged tissues in order to control the body process. Micronutrients include calcium, iron, vitamins, iron, minerals and vitamin C.

Also Read: Components of Food

Important Nutrients in Food

There are several nutrients that cannot be synthesized by the body and have to be taken externally through food. These are vital for the proper functioning of the body. The important nutrients and their functions include are mentioned below:

Essential nutrients


It is one of the main sources of energy for human beings. It comprises of three types of carbohydrates and they include fibre, sugar, and starch. They are usually low calories and thus help in maintaining a healthy diet.


It is a mineral that is vital for building strong bones and teeth. In very fewer quantities it is also needed to our nerves, muscles work and heart. Sources of calcium include pudding, milk, yoghurt, tofu, canned fish, and fresh leafy green vegetables. Lack of calcium leads to a disease called Osteoporosis.


It is essential for the brain, nerves, and development of cells. It plays an important role in the forming of enzymes and hormones. Foods include cheese, milk, chicken, beef, and fish.


It is one of the most important sources of calories. One gram of fat consists of 9 calories. It is almost twice of calories that we get from carbohydrates and proteins.  Fat is usually found in foods that we use in cooking, as spreads on bread and it also found in snacks, pastries.


It is a constituent of our red blood cells. Its function is to carry oxygen from our lungs to organs, muscles, and cells. Food sources include spinach, soybeans and other leafy vegetables.


They are made of amino acids. We can obtain protein in foods such as nuts, lentils, beef, rice, chicken, beef etc.


Foods like milk and fresh vegetables contain sodium. Lack of sodium might lead to high blood pressure.

Also Read: Difference between Macronutrients and Micronutrients

Functions of Nutrients

The important functions of nutrients include:

  • They are the main source of energy for the body.
  • They help in building and repairing body tissues.
  • Increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Helps in the synthesis of collagen.
  • Provides proper structure to the blood vessels, bones and ligaments.
  • They also help in maintaining the homeostasis of the body.

Also Read: Nutrition in Human Beings

To learn more about nutrition, its types, functions and important nutrients in food, keep visiting BYJU’S website or download BYJU’S app for further reference.

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