What is a nutrient? Nutrients are substances taken in from the outside that can be used by your body in a myriad of ways to maintain good health or supply the source of fuel for energy. Eating, drinking and breathing are the basic actions resulting in nutrient intake.
Your body has numerous processes to convert a nutrient into a form that contributes to your body’s building, repairing, maintaining, regulating and energy requirements. As a matter of fact, what you eat, drink and breath has a huge impact on the state of your health and your level of energy.
Nutrients are characterized in a couple of ways, including its composition, quantity needed and body’s ability to synthesize it itself. Depending on a nutrient’s makeup, it may be categorized as a carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamin, mineral, water and oxygen.
The amount of a certain nutrient necessary to sustain good health and energy varies. As such, those needed in large quantities are labeled macronutrients and those entitled micronutrients indicates a very small amount.
Nutrients are further distinguished as essential or nonessential. An essential nutrient must be brought in from the outside because your body has no process to synthesize it or the quantity of production is insufficient. Water and oxygen are essential, as well as certain fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and certain minerals.
Following is a couple additional facts about nutrients worth highlighting. Energy is derived from a variety of nutrients, including fats, carbohydrates, proteins and ethanol. For optimal benefit, consuming food abundant in a variety individual nutrients allows for synergistic function. An excessive intake of some nutrients can be toxic and an inadequate consumption can cause deficiencies, such as malnutrition, dehydration and hypoxia. Except for oxygen, the site for nutrient absorption is the small intestines.
Finally, phytochemicals are not on the nutrient list because their action involves protection against chronic diseases rather than sustaining life.