What are the essential nutrients and what they

Nutrients are substances that contribute to our body through food. They are called essential because thanks to them are carried out bodily functions that keep us alive.

A healthy and varied diet will provide the essential nutrients in sufficient to also give us energy maintaining a healthy weight, improve our health, strengthen our defenses, restrasar aging and improve our mood amounts.

These are divided into macronutrients and micronutrients. The first they occupy most of the food. Are proteins, carbohydrates (or carbohydrates) and lipids. Diet are provided in grams. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. They are provided to the diet in micrograms.

Water is another essential nutrient without which we could not live and that helps all physiological processes in the body take place.

On the other hand, it is the fiber, another essential nutrient.

Nutrients are also divided into energy nutrients, ie they give the energy needed by the body. This is obtained by burning inside cells that carries oxygen to the blood. Macronutrients are the main source of energy. Among these are carbohydrates and fats.

The second group is known as plastic nutrients and proteins belong to him. They serve to build and regenerate our body.

They are a source of energy. Along with fats, they release energy that our body maintains its vital functions.

There are two types

Simple or rapid absorption: come quickly into the blood and its use must be rational and in moderate amounts. Complex or slow absorption: passing slower intestine into the blood. They should be present in each of the meals.

The rich carbohydrate foods are cereals, pastries, vegetables, nuts, fruit.

They are a source of highly concentrated and storable energy, ie, the body reserve for times of scarcity. If it is not consumed, it becomes extra kilos and can trigger obesity as well as other diseases.

There are different types of fat

Saturated: mainly animal fats. It is found in bacon, butter, lard, etc.

Monounsaturated: vegetable fats. It is found in oils such as olive, corn, sunflower, peanut.

Polyunsaturated: plant, found in seeds and nuts such as walnuts. Although it can also be found in some fish such as blue (salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc).

There is one last type of fat called trans fat. Their health risks are high. It increases the chance of getting heart and die of a heart attack or stroke. United States banned and Europe have been asked to reduce their use.

See also: 12 questions and answers about trans fat

Proteins determine the shape and structure of cells and are involved in almost all life processes. Manufactured and regenerate tissues. They are, comparatively speaking, the bricks of a house (our body).

Once ingested through various foods, the body converts proteins into their basic units: amino acids. Human proteins are a combination of 20 amino acids, of which nine are essential, ie, must be supplied daily through food. These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

The quality of a protein depends on the amount of essential amino acids present in it (the body can not synthesize proteins needed if only one of them). All essential amino acids are found in animal protein (eggs, meat, fish and dairy), therefore, these proteins are of higher quality or higher biological value than those of plant origin (vegetables, grains and nuts) deficient in one or more of these amino acids.

They are needed in small quantities, although they are therefore no less important than other nutrients. They do not provide energy, as they do not provide fuel, but without them the body is not able to take advantage of the constructive elements and energy provided by food.

The vitamins we get from food because the body can not synthesize them except for vitamin D, which can be formed on the skin due to sun exposure.

There are different types of vitamins. They are vitamin A, group B, C, D, E and K. has recently been added to another vitamin called Colina group.

On the other hand, K, B1, B12 and folic acid are formed in small amounts in the intestinal flora.

Vitamins are found in fresh and natural products such as fruits and vegetables.

These are elements that the body needs in very small amounts. Its function is regulatory and not provide energy. Some such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron and sulfur are essential minerals and are needed in higher proportion than other salts. The trace elements are also essential, but the body requires them in smaller quantities (zinc, copper, iodine, chromium, selenium, cobalt, molybdenum, manganese and fluoride).

You should know

– What is balanced diet


Bread child healthy eating. / Spanish Society of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (SEGHNP).

Nutritional Guide. Basic principles of nutrition and health. / Science Faculty. Nutrition and diet. National University of Distance Education (UNED).