Nutrition Basics

Basic Components of a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is typically composed of macronutrients, micronutrients, and fluids. When consumed in balance, it normally meets the body’s daily metabolic requirements.

Macronutrients

Macronutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and other natural bodily functions. These nutrients are normally consumed in large quantities to provide bulk energy and building materials for the body. The metabolism of macronutrients depends on the provision of sufficient micronutrients.

Macronutrients are composed of:

Proteins, composed of one or more chains of amino acids, are the primary source of nitrogen, provide essential nutrients for the body, and offer structural support including keratin for skin and hair, collagen for connective tissues, elastin, actin and myosin for muscles, and glycoproteins for cell membranes. Proteins also serve a functional role as enzymes; hormones for metabolic regulation; hemoglobin and transferrin for transport of oxygen and iron; albumin to regulate blood volume; antibodies for the immune system. Amino acids are divided into three types, which are:

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are required for the maintenance of normal metabolism and antioxidant status. These nutrients are necessary for the efficient utilization of macronutrients.

Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, and trace elements:

Water

Water is quantitatively the most important component of the human body, accounting for 50 to 60 percent of body weight, distributed in intra- and extracellular fluid compartments. The proper amount of water to a body allows body processes such as blood flow and the lymph system to function smoothly, making water a critical nutrient for health and survival.

Body processes in which water is involved, include e.g.:

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