Nutrition is the process of consuming, absorbing, and using nutrients by the body for growth, development, and maintenance of life. It is a 3-way process. 

First, food or drink is consumed. Secondly, the body breaks down the food or drink into nutrients. Thirdly, the nutrients travel through the blood stream to different parts of the body where they are used as ―fuel and for many other purposes. To give the body proper nutrition, a person has to eat and drink enough of the foods that contain key nutrients. When we talk about proper nutrition, we are talking about the food we eat and how the body uses that food for health and survival. This is what nutrition is all about. 

Eating fresh whole foods is much better for our health than eating processed foods. Having a balanced intake of different types of food is very important. Nutrient deficiencies cause diseases and can have negative effects on our health. For instance, there are many people in the world that are blind due to a vitamin A deficiency. It has also become evident that eating too much, especially of sugars can cause health problems and disease like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. A balanced diet contains five key nutrient groups, which are required in appropriate amounts for better health. 

  • Proteins are involved in growth, repair, and general maintenance of the body.
  • Carbohydrates are usually the main energy source for the body. 
  • Lipids or fats are a rich source of energy and a key component of cell membranes and signals molecules and as myelin, they insulate neuron (nerve cells).
  • Vitamins are important in a range of biochemical reactions. 
  • Minerals are important in maintaining ionic balances and many biochemical reactions.


Food provides a range of different nutrients. Some nutrients provide energy, while others are essential for growth and maintenance of the body. Carbohydrate, protein, and fat are macronutrients that we need to eat in relatively large amounts in the diet as they provide our bodies with energy and also the building blocks for growth and maintenance of a healthy body. 

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients which are only needed in small amounts, but are essential to keep us healthy. In order to receive an adequate and appropriate nutrition, we need to consume a healthy diet, which should consist of a variety of nutrients.  

A healthy diet enables us to maintain a desirable body weight and composition (the percentage of fat and muscle in the body). 

If we consume too much food, this may result in obesity. 
If we consume large amounts of certain nutrients, usually vitamins or minerals, harmful effects (toxicity) may occur. 
If we do not consume enough nutrients, it may result in a nutritional deficiency (disorder). 

Nutrients are the parts of our foods that our bodies use for energy, growth, and the rebuilding of the damaged or worn out structures of our bodies. Generally, nutrients are divided into two classes:

  • Macronutrients: Macronutrients are required daily in large quantities. They include proteins, fats, carbohydrates, some minerals, and water. 
  • Micronutrients: Micronutrients are required daily in small quantities—in milligrams (one thousandth of a gram) to micrograms (one millionth of a gram). They include vitamins and certain minerals that enable the body to use macronutrients. These minerals are called trace minerals because the body needs only very small amounts.

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