What Are the 5 Main Nutrients?

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The five main nutrients required by the body for good health include proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fats. Put together, the nutrients form a balanced diet.

Proteins are referred as the building blocks of the body. They are packed as amino acids and used to perform a variety of bodily functions such as repairing cells, muscles, hair and tissues, as well as making hormones. The main sources of protein nutrients include: meat, milk, fish, eggs, cheese, beans, lentils, nuts and soybeans, among others.

Carbohydrates are nutrients that provide the body with energy. Carbs are grouped into two main groups: simple and complex. The main sources of carbohydrates nutrients include grains such wheat, corn and oats as well as fruits, vegetables and roots.

Fats provide important insulation to body organs and help in the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Fats are divided into two primary groups: saturated and unsaturated. The main sources of fats are animals and plants.

Vitamins are essential in maintaining the chemical balance in the body. There are 13 types of vitamins, which are divided into two main groups: fat soluble and water soluble. The main sources of vitamins include vegetables, fruits, lean meat, fish and whole grains.

Minerals play an important role of regulating bodily processes. Examples of important minerals are iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Food sources rich in minerals include fruits, meat, fish, beans, nuts and whole grains.