What are the nutrients the body needs, and how to get them

Organisms need nutrients in metabolism, or use them as a source of energy. While the nutritional needs of the body gives signals of hunger, the nutrient deficiency in the body gives signals of different symptoms: fatigue, difficulty concentrating, shortness of breath, infections, etc.

By the amount of needed, nutrients can be divided into macro- and micronutrients - in the first case, organisms need them in larger amounts. Macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and water. The main sources of food energy are carbohydrates and fats. The body starts to use proteins as an energy source only in case of fat and carbohydrate deficiency. Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients, and an organism needs them in micrograms.

By the function, three types of nutrients can be distinguished:

-synthesis elements (proteins and some minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus) to ensure the growth of cells and the proliferation of the normal development of the organism;

-energetic substances (carbohydrates and fats) play a role in cell production, digestion and maintaining a constant body temperature;

-adjustable substances (water, vitamins, and minerals) allows the body to efficiently absorb synthesis elements and energetic substances.

42 irreplaceable nutrients

Nutrients, you definitely have to get from the food, that have a role in everyday life are called essential nutrients. Healthy adults are considered to need 42 indispensable nutrients:


16 minerals

7 macro mineral: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, sulfur.

9 trace elements: iron, iodine, zinc, chromium, selenium, fluorine, molybdenum, copper, manganese.

13 vitamins

9 water-soluble: Vitamin C, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), vitamins B6 and B12, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid.

4 fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K.

9 amino acids

histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine.

2 fatty acid

linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).

1 vitamin-like compound: Choline

How to get the nutrients?

Vitamin A

Fish liver oil, liver (fish, chicken, animal), carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach.

Healthy eyes, teeth, and skin. Useful for the growth of the organism, and the development of the immune system.


Turkey, tuna, whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili pepper, beans, yeast, sugar syrup.

Maintenance of the cells, power source, the immune system, and iron uptake.

Vitamin C

Blackberry, parsley, redcurrant, orange, guava, red and green peppers, kiwi, grapefruit, strawberries, broccoli, melon, lemon, lime.

The immune system, strong blood vessels, elastic skin, antioxidant properties, iron uptake.

Vitamin D

The sun, eggs, fish, mushrooms.

Strong bones, immune system, healthy cells, calcium intake.

Vitamin E

Almonds, nuts and seeds and their oils, sunflower seeds, avocado, spinach, turnips, broccoli, mango, tomato.

Anti-oxidants, circulatory, muscle growth, cellular services, protection against free radicals.

Vitamin K

Baked green salads and vegetables, broccoli, parsley, kale, spinach, broccoli.

The circulatory system, blood clotting, calcium intake.

Folic Acid

Asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, peas, lentils, seeds, nuts, cauliflower, beets, corn.

The cell renewal, healthy pregnancy.


Yogurt, cheese, milk, tofu.

Healthy bones and teeth.


Oysters, liver, soybeans, grains, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils, spinach.

Muscle growth, healthy blood.


Oysters, spinach, cashew nuts, beans, dark chocolate.

The immune system, growth, fertility.


Whole grains, fresh vegetables, and herbs.

The body's supply of energy.

Last update: 2015-10-05 (Y,M,D)

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