Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What are Nutrients and different types of Nutrients?

Studies carried out by many scientists have shown that foods contain several chemical constituents which are known as nutrients.  These chemical are which a organism need to develop its substance using its metabolism.  These are basically used in enrichment of body. 

What are the different types of Nutrients?
Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats, Minerals, and Vitamins.

The importance of these nutrients is briefly discussed below:

What are Proteins and why are they Important/required?
Proteins are required for growth in children and maintenance of body weight in adults.  Proteins also provide energy to a small extent.  Proteins constitute about 25% of the body weight.  Body proteins are derived from the dietary proteins.  The body loses continuously some quantity of proteins and this loss has to be made up of simpler chemical substances known as amino-acids.  The amino-acid contents of proteins have been found to differ from one protein to another.  The nutritional value of proteins depends on their amino-acid contents.  As a result of studies carried out by several scientists, a large amount of information is available on the nutritive value of dietary proteins and the protein requirements of human beings.

What and why are Carbohydrates used?
Carbohydrates are the main sources of energy for doing work.  The carbohydrates commonly occurring in foods are starch, cane sugar, glucose, fructose and milk sugar.  About 50 to 70 percent of energy value in the average diet is provided by carbohydrates.  They are the cheapest source of energy.  Glucose derived from the digestion of carbohydrates is used as the main source of energy in the body.  Hence, the diets should contain adequate amounts of carbohydrates to meet a greater part of the energy needs.

What are the functions of fats and oils / How Fats and oil functions in the body?

Oils and fats serve mainly as the source of energy and they contain some essential nutrients like essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins.  Fat is essential for maintaining good health, as absence of fat leads to the development of a deficiency disease affecting the skin known as Phrynoderma.

Different types of Minerals?
The body contains about 24 minerals all of which are derived from the diet.  The important minerals are calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, copper, iodine, cobalt, fluorine and zinc.  The minerals are essential for formation of various body functions, example, calcium and phosphorus for the formation of bones and teeth, sodium, potassium, chloride and phosphorus for maintaining water balance in the body, iron and copper for the formation of hemoglobin and iodine for the normal functioning of thyroid glands.  Diets should, therefore, provide adequate amounts of all the minerals.

What and how many types of Vitamins are there?
Studies carried out by several pioneers have shown that foods contain certain chemical substances in small amounts which are now called Vitamins.  About 17 different vitamins have so far been discovered.  All of them are essential for normal functioning of the human body.  Inadequate intake of vitamins will lead to the development of deficiency diseases.  Vitamins have been grouped under two heads: fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K and water-soluble vitamins, example, vitamin B, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, vitamin C and vitamin P.  A large amount of information is available on the functions of vitamins, vitamin content of foods and vitamin requirements.

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