What Are the Main Food Nutrients?
Food is any material eaten to provide nutrition to an organism for life. The body uses food for energy, for survival, for building tissues, for the regulation of homeostasis (body’s internal balance), for reproduction, and for health. The body also makes some food for our own use, to break down for example fat. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and includes nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, or mineral ions.
The body also synthesizes vitamins, to help build tissues and protect against infections. Vitamins are water soluble organic compounds containing two or more atoms that cannot be taken by water. In contrast, fat, protein, and carbohydrates cannot be metabolized by the liver (liver’s primary digestive organ) but can be metabolized by the small intestine (colon’s first line of action). Fatty acids contain globular fatty acids (the major component of animal fat) which cannot be broken down by the liver but are used by the body as fuel (naturally occurring fat is referred to as primary fat) and contain vitamins A, D, E, K, and B complexes (with a vitamin B complex being the most important). Carbohydrates consist of starches, glucose, and other complex carbohydrates (cereals), and provide energy and are used by the nervous system, muscles, and nerves for movement, posture, and digestion.
Food nutrients can be separated into three groups: carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It is important to eat a well balanced diet with foods from each group, in order to meet the recommended daily allowance of each. You should be able to see a pattern developing where you are getting all the food nutrients you need for optimum health and performance. A good place to start is with your weekly outlay allowances, to see if any of these nutrients are lacking from your diet, either because you are not getting enough during the week or you are getting too much at certain times. If you feel short or have trouble eating a wide variety of foods, look at what you can do to increase your macronutrients intake by eating more complex carbohydrates, increasing your vitamin c intake, adding some iron, or just eating better!