WHAT ARE NUTRIENTS? TYPES OF NUTRIENTS, Definition and Examples Mgs Gyan Books



You need energy to study and play. Food gives you energy. Food also helps you to grow. It helps you to fight diseases and stay healthy.

Your body needs different substances for doing different things. These substances are called nutrients. Some nutrients give you energy, some help you to grow, and some help you to fight diseases. Different foods have different nutrients. Therefore, to remain fit and healthy, you should eat different foods.


The food that you eat contains five nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Food also contains roughage and water. Let us now see how these nutrients and other substances help you.

Carbohydrates for Quick Energy

Carbohydrates give your body quick energy. They are therefore called energy-giving nutrients. Children need lots of carbohydrates. Sugar and starch are two types of carbohydrates.

Cereals such as rice, wheat and maize are rich in carbohydrates. So are foods made from cereals, such as bread, noodles, chapati and dosa.

Sugary foods, potatoes and bananas are also rich in carbohydrates.

Proteins to Grow

Proteins are nutrients that help you to grow. They also help to repair damaged parts of your body. That is why they are called body-building nutrients. Children need lots of proteins. Can you say why?

Milk, cheese, eggs, fish, meat and pulses (dals) are rich in proteins.

Fats for Energy and Warmth

Fats are also energy giving nutrients. They are stored in your body for future use. When your body does not get enough food, it uses stored fat to get energy. Fats also help to keep your body warm. Oil, butter, cheese and nuts are rich in fats.

Vitamins and Minerals for Good Health

Vitamins and minerals help your body to work properly, fight diseases and stay healthy. They are therefore called protective foods.

Your body needs several vitamins and minerals. Fresh fruits,

vegetables, meat, fish, milk, eggs and bread are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Calcium is an important mineral. You need it to have healthy bones and teeth. Milk and green leafy vegetables are rich in calcium. Iron is needed to make blood. Meat, beans and green leafy vegetables are rich in iron.


Your body cannot digest certain substances found in plant foods. These indigestible substances form roughage or fibre. Roughage is important as it helps your body to send out waste


Your body needs a sufficient amount of water to stay healthy. Water helps the body to digest food, absorb nutrients properly and get rid of waste.

Almost two-thirds of your body weight is water. Your body needs about 3 litres of water every day. About 1 litre comes from the things you drink and food you eat. So, you should drink about 2 litres (eight glasses) of water a day.


The food that you cat every day is called your diet. Your diet must provide your body with all the nutrients in proper quantities for you to be fit and healthy. A diet that gives you nutrients in the right quantities is called a balanced diet.

No food contains all the nutrients in the necessary amounts. For a balanced diet, therefore, we should eat a variety of foods every day. To make the selection of a balanced diet easier, food items have been divided into four groups. A balanced diet should contain food items from each of these groups.

1. Protein group: Meat, eggs, fish, beans, nuts, peas and so on

2. Milk group: Milk, cheese, curd, ice cream and so on (Butter is not included because it is mainly fat.) 

3. Vegetable and fruit group: Fresh vegetables and fruits

4. Cereal group: Rice, bread, chapatis, noodles and so on.

Give an example for each of the following

1. A food item rich in fats

2. A food item rich in vitamins

3. A food item rich in iron

4. A food item from the cereal group


Some foods such as carrot, cucumber, lettuce and fruits can be eaten raw. They must be washed properly before eating, to remove dust and germs.

Other foods, such as rice and vegetables, are cooked before they are eaten. Cooking makes them soft, tasty, and easy to chew and digest. Cooking food by heating it kills germs that can make us sick.

If food is not cooked correctly, the nutrients in the food will be lost.

1. Food should not be overcooked. This destroys the nutrients in it.

2• Vegetables and fruits should be washed before they are cut. Washing them after they are cut removes many nutrients.

3• Food should be cooked in just enough water. Cooking food in too much water and then throwing away the water takes away the nutrients with the water.


If food is left out for a long time, germs start growing in it. The food starts rotting. Eating rotten food can make us sick. Food is therefore preserved to keep it from going bad. There are many ways in which food can be preserved

• Refrigeration: If food is kept in a refrigerator, the growth of germs slows down. Food can therefore be stored for a few days in the refrigerator without going bad.

• Using preservatives: Some substances, such as sugar, salt and oil, slow down the growth of germs. They are added to foods to preserve them for a long time.

 These substances are called preservatives, Pickle in your home is preserved with oil. Jams are preserved by adding sugar,

• Canning: In canning, germs are first killed. The food is then sealed in cans.

• Drying: Water is removed from the food items to stop germs from growing

You Now Know… 

Our body requires food for energy to grow and to fight diseases Our body needs the nutrients carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.

Our body also needs roughage and water to stay healthy. A balanced diet provides our body with all the nutrients in the right quantities If food is not cooked correctly, the nutrients in it will be lost 

Food can be preserved by storing it in the refrigerator, by adding preservatives, by canning it or by drying it.

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