By Daderot (I took this photograph.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Nutrition facts: what are macro and micro, essential and nonessential nutrients?

Nutrients are substances in foods that are used by the body for growth, maintenance, and energy. Nutrients are classified as macronutrients and micronutrients, depending on the amounts that we need in our daily food

Macro nutrients and micro nutrients

Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fat, water, fiber and macro minerals: calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, magnesium and potassium

All other minerals and vitamins are micronutrients

Another way of looking at nutrients is dividing them into essential and nonessential nutrients

Essential nutrients and non-essential nutrients

Essential nutrients are those which the body is not able to make on its own. Essential nutrients include some amino acids, some fatty acids, vitamins and minerals

  • Essential amino acids: Of the 20 amino acids, 9 are essential amino acids (EAAs); they cannot be synthesized and must be obtained from the diet. All people require 8 EAAs; infants also require histidine
  • Essential fatty acids: Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are linoleic acid, an omega-6 (n-6) fatty acid, and linolenic acid, an omega-3 (n-3) fatty acid. Other omega-6 acids (e.g., arachidonic acid) and other omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid) are required by the body but can be synthesized from EFAs

It’s not that the nonessential nutrients are not needed in the food, but the body is able to make these on its own, if provided with the building blocks in any way

List of nutrients

Click on the links to know about any nutrient in detail

Carbohydrates

Protein        

Fat

Vitamins

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B complex
    • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
    • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
    • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
    • Vitamin 6 (Pyridoxine)
    • Folic acid
    • Vitamin B12 (cobalamins)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Minerals

  • Calcium and Phosphorus
  • Iron
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Magnese

Water

CHECK OUT: Our references for recommendations on diet