Nutrients can be defined as the substances that are utilized by organisms to live, grow, and reproduce. In other words, nutrients are the compounds that are present in our foods and are essential for our life and health. They give us energy, are our building blocks for growth and repair, and are essential in regulating our chemical processes. Different organisms have different nutrient intake requirements.

Nutrients can be classified into two broad groups:

  • Macronutrients: These are consumed in larger levels. Examples include carbs, proteins, and fats
  • Micronutrients: These are the nutrients that are consumed in smaller levels, but they are also essential for bodily processes. Examples include vitamins and minerals

There are six major nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Proteins
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

Another, smaller category of nutrients is known as essential nutrients, which includes nutrients that are essential for physiological functions. Examples include amino acids and fatty acids.