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Why Do Humans Need Nutrients?


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Basics on the topic Why Do Humans Need Nutrients?

What Are Nutrients and Why Do We Need Them?

In order for your body to function and work well, it needs important nutrients. Let’s say you are watching a video on this topic; many things are happening inside you at the same time. Your eyes see the image, your ears hear what is being said, and your brain has to process everything quickly. Even when you seem to be doing nothing, blood is being pumped through your veins. Your hair and nails are constantly growing. All of this requires energy. The most important source of energy for humans is food, or the things you drink and eat.

Nutrients – Definition

The definition of nutrients is simply explained as follows:

Nutrients are the constituents present in food that are essential for the functioning of metabolism and the provision of energy. Nutrients are obtained through daily food intake. That is why a healthy diet plays such a crucial role in your health.

Which Nutrients Does the Body Need?

Nutrients are already a topic in elementary school, and there is a lot of teaching material to illustrate the functions of nutrients for humans. Maybe you have already received a worksheet on nutrients and know about essential nutrients. Here is an overview of the most important nutrients and their use by the body:

  • Carbohydrates and Fats: These two macronutrients have a high energy content and give your body and brain the power to work.
  • Proteins: They are needed for growth.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins are particularly important for staying healthy and defending against diseases. Minerals keep your bones and teeth strong.
  • Fiber: It helps your body with digestion and elimination.
  • Water: Nothing works without water. It is vital for our bodies, and without the intake of fluids, a person can only survive a few days.

Important nutrients are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Additionally, water is vital.

Which nutrients are found in which foods?

Carbohydrates: Bread, pasta, sugar
Fats: Nuts, oil, butter
Proteins: Eggs, fish, meat, peas, beans
Vitamins: Fruits, vegetables
Minerals: Fruits, vegetables, grains, mineral water
Fiber: Whole-grain bread and other grain products

Frequently Asked Questions about What Are Nutrients?

What are nutrients (elementary school)?
Which nutrients does the body need on a daily basis?
Why do we need these nutrients?

Transcript Why Do Humans Need Nutrients?

Salim is at the pool today because it's nice and hot outside. Swimming is so much fun, but it also makes him really tired and HUNGRY. That's when bread, fries, and sweets from the snack stand come in handy! But why is food from the stand even tastier after swimming? To answer that, let's ask the question, "Why Do Humans Need Nutrients?" Humans eat a lot of different foods, like bread, french fries, and juicy watermelon! But did you know that there are different "nutrients" in our food? Our bodies need nutrients for fuel, which provides energy, and for construction, which provides the building blocks that our bodies are made from. A Nutritional Facts Label can tell us the amount of each nutrient contained in what we eat, which can be found on the packaging of most foods. There are three types of macronutrients that are very common in the foods we eat. The first are called "proteins". There are many different types of proteins. Proteins are building blocks. Just like a house is built of bricks and wood, our bodies are built of proteins. We can find proteins in meat, nuts, and seeds to name a few examples. The second macronutrients are carbohydrates. There are many different kinds. Carbohydrates are the main fuel source for our bodies. They are like gas for a car or electricity for a cell phone. Fuel gives us energy to think and to move. Examples of carbohydrates are sugar or starch. We can find them in potatoes, pasta, and sweet treats! The third macronutrients are fats. Fats are also a kind of fuel. They provide extra energy for our bodies. There are many different kinds of fats. We can find fat as a liquid in olive oil or as a solid in a stick of butter. And since Salim spent so much energy swimming, the carbohydrate and fat-filled food from the snack stand is extra tempting! But did you know there are also "supplements" in our food? Hidden in small amounts, they are called vitamins and minerals. You've probably heard about healthy vitamins. Our bodies need vitamins and minerals in small amounts to keep us healthy, too! For example, they help us defend against diseases, build strong bones and teeth, and help us grow! Let's review what we need all these nutrients for: Our bodies use proteins as building blocks. Our bodies use carbohydrates and fats as fuel. Fuel provides energy for the body. Vitamins and minerals are also found in foods, but in smaller amounts, since we don't need a lot of them. Above all, these nutrients, in proper amounts, help us to stay healthy and grow. What about Salim? He's lying in the sun with a full belly, digesting all of his yummy nutrients!

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    From Avash Acharya, about 2 months ago
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Why Do Humans Need Nutrients? exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Why Do Humans Need Nutrients?.
  • What effect does swimming have on Salim's appetite?


    Salim spent so much energy swimming.

    If you have just done a sports activity, how might you be feeling?

    What might you want to do next?


    Swimming made Salim feel tired and hungry, so now he needs to refuel his body with nutrients.

  • Can you recognize the macronutrients?


    There are three correct answers.

    Vitamins and minerals are supplements, not macronutrients.


    The correct answers are:

    • protein
    • carbohydrates
    • fat
  • Which of these foods provide a good source of carbohydrates, and which provide us with supplements?


    Carbohydrates are foods that provide energy and help us to grow.

    They are often things we eat a lot of in our meals.

    Supplements are like tiny helpers in our food that keep us healthy.

    They are usually found in smaller amounts in our food, and they help our body to work properly.


    The foods that provide a good source of carbohydrates are:

    • pasta, rice, cereals, bread.
    The foods that provide us with supplements are:
    • milk, oranges, bananas.

  • How do fats differ from carbohydrates in terms of energy storage and usage?


    Our bodies use carbohydrates and fats as fuel.

    Fuel provides energy for the body.

    Fats provide extra energy for our bodies.

    There are many different kinds of fats.

    Fats take longer to be broken down.

    • Fats provide extra energy and are stored more efficiently in the body compared to carbohydrates.
    • Carbohydrates are the main fuel source for the body and are converted into energy more quickly, while fats take longer to be broken down for energy but provide a more prolonged and sustained energy source.
  • Which macronutrient are these foods a good source of?


    Protein, a type of macronutrients, are building blocks.

    We can find proteins in meat, nuts, and seeds.

    Fats provide extra energy for our bodies.

    There are many different kinds of fats.

    We can find fat as a liquid in olive oil, or as a solid in a stick of butter.


    A good source of protein is:

    • chicken
    • beef
    • beans
    A good source of carbohydrates are:
    • pasta
    • potatoes
    • bananas
    A good source of fats are:
    • almonds
    • avocado
    • butter

  • What foods are good sources of vitamins and minerals?


    Fast-food items like burgers, fries, and fried chicken are often high in unhealthy fats, sodium, and calories.

    Vitamin C can be found in lemons, kiwi, and bell peppers.


    Foods like lemons, bell peppers, and yogurt are good sources of vitamins and minerals.