Food nutrients made easy to understand

Discover a simple explanation of the six nutrients that we find in food.

October 29, 2012 - Author: Saneya Hamler, Michigan State University Extension

Nutrients help maintain and grow the body. By eating a variety of food we are able to maximize our daily nutrient intake. The food we eat helps to provide us with six types of nutrient classifications. The six classifications are water, proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats and carbohydrates.

  • Water is important to our body because it helps us eliminate waste from the body and it helps transport the nutrients in our bodies. On average, each person should consume eight-8 oz serings of water everyday. This is in addition to consuming other beverages and fruits and vegetables that have a big water content, in relation to their composition. Consuming water will also help your body break down and utilize water-soluble vitamins that are part of a person’s daily nutrient intake.
  • Proteins help build bone, muscles and provide calories for the body. Proteins also function as hormones, enzymes and carriers in the body.
  • Vitamins and minerals are important to the body because they help the body promote cell growth and boost the body’s immune system.
  • Fats also referred to as lipids play an important role to your body’s overall good nutrition by helping to provide the most calories to your body. Fats come in two types: saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Fat will also help extract the vitamins that are fat soluble and part of the daily diet.
  • Carbs help provide the body with energy. Eating too many carbs can lead to weight gain and certain diseases.

These nutrients can further be broken down categorically by what they help our bodies to do. For instance water, carbohydrates, fats and proteins all provide the body with energy to help keep it running. While some vitamins, minerals, fats, water and protein help promote growth and maintenance. These same nutrients also help to regulate functions in the body so that everything is in its right working order.

All of the nutrients listed above, when eaten correctly and paired with physical exercise, will help keep your body operating in great shape.

For fundamental information on nutrition, see these Michigan State University Extension news articles:

Tags: food & health, msu extension, nutrition, weight management

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