Nutrient

From ArticleWorld


A nutrient is essential in an organism's growth, metabolism or other means of functioning.

Nutrient groups

There are six nutrient groups. These groups can be broken down by those that provide energy and those that support the body's metabolic processes.

Those that provide energy include:

  • Carbohydrates, which are made up of sugars, which are stored or used as energy. The three types of simple sugars are monosaccharide, disaccharide and polysaccharide; these provide short-term energy and are often found in fruit. There are also complex carbohydrates that proved sustained energy, like starches and fibers. These are stored within the body as glycogen.
  • Proteins, which are organic compounds (including amino acids). These compounds are the building blocks for enzymes within the human body. The body relies on the diet to provide essential amino acids. Proteins are the most common compounds in the human body.
  • Fats, which are the basic nutrients made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They are essential for proper cell function, the insulation of organs, healthy skin and hair and the maintenance of body temperature.

Those that support metabolism include:

  • Minerals (trace elements, salts or ions).
  • Vitamins, which are necessary to the body's functions.
  • Water, which is absolutely required for normal growth and metabolism.

Development of nutrition

Nutrition is a constantly evolving science. Each day, each year, research indicates a wider range of essential nutrients and identifies more products that these nutrients are found in.

The environment

Nutrients are also important to water quality and water pollution, especially when it comes to plan fertilization and animal waste. Some nutrient compounds can increase algae growth that clogs waterways and can lead to the death of fish.