Nutrients can be classified into two groups based on the amount needed in the body:
Macronutrients: are various types of nutrients needed in larger amounts. Types found in this group are: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids/fats and water
Micronutrients: are types of nutrients needed in smaller amounts for the body. Types found in this group are: vitamins and minerals.
Water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen (H2O) and is the only macronutrient that doesn’t provide energy
Some examples of the functions of water in the body include:
- To flex a muscle
- To blink your eyes
- To carry oxygen and nutrients to your cells
- To cushion your joints
- To convert food into energy
- To help remove waste
Two-thirds of your weight is water.
Water is also found in excess in some foods like celery, water melon, cucumbers, pineapple.
The name means “hydrated carbon”, or carbon with water. Thus carbohydrates are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
Carbs (Short for Carbohydrates) are the most basic of the macronutrients which provide energy. Carbohydrates are eaten and digested. They are then converted to glucose, which is the main human fuel.
Some dietary examples of carbs include cereal grains (wheat, rice, corn and oats) that are used to make bread and breakfast cereals, pasta and rice dishes.
Other examples include vegetables, especially root vegetables such as potatoes which are a good source of starch and sugars that are found naturally in fruits.
Proteins are used for this growth and repair. Proteins are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen but also contain nitrogen.
Animal protein contains all the essential amino acids you need to make protein. That’s the main reason people eat animals. We also get protein from plants.
Several dietary sources of protein include nuts, beans, milk, egg whites, and meat.
Fats are a very concentrated source of energy and are the form in which energy is stored in the body. Fats provide more than twice the energy of carbohydrates and protein. Fats also give the body it’s shape and insulates the body, assisting in the maintenance of body temperature.
Some dietary sources of lipids include, oils, butter, and egg yolks.
Saturated fats can be found in non-trimmed meat, fried foods, cakes, biscuits, pastries and chocolate.
Cholesterol can be found only in animal fats.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can be found in vegetable oils, fish oils and nuts.
The omega-3 fatty acids are found mainly in fish oils and some nut oils.