Essential Nutrients

What are the main classes of nutrients that animals need? Where do you find them in your diet?

Nutrients are the substances that organisms need to ingest to survive. These include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, electrolytes, and inorganic substances. Humans ingest simple carbohydrates in the form of sugars and complex carbohydrates in the form of breads. Animal fats or vegetable fats can be consumed in the form of butter, lard or oil. Proteins are present in meats, fish and dairy products. There are several types of vitamins which are found in different sources and serve different functions. Vitamin B1 is found in whole grains, vitamin B12 is located in red meat and eggs, niacin is found in meat, folate can be found in green vegetables, vitamin C is in citrus fruits, and vitamin D can be found in fortified milk. Similarly, electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride are found in different foods. Sodium is present in salt and meats, potassium can be found in fruits and vegetables, and chloride is located in salt and vegetables. Other essential inorganic compounds include calcium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. Calcium and phosphorus can be found in dairy products, iron is located in meat and eggs, and magnesium is present in whole grains.


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