What Types of Nutrients are there, and what are their Functions?

What Types of Nutrients are there, and what are their Functions?

The food deficit continues to be one of the world’s main problems, especially in humanitarian crises or similar situations. Therefore, now more than ever, it is convenient to know the types of nutrients that exist and what their main properties are. Can you come with us?

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Types of Nutrients: Functions and Characteristics

Nutrients are all those elements that the human body needs to guarantee the normal development of its functions. They are products that we ingest and captured by the cells to transform later and process them.

According to the FAO, the essential nutrients to carry out these bodily functions are proteins, fats, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, folate, thiamine, and niacin, the table of elemental nutritional composition for anyone.

Nutrients fulfil three functions in the body: they provide energy for daily activities, they repair and renew the body and, finally, they regulate the chemical reactions that occur in the cells.

Nowadays, if it comes to describing the types of nutrients that exist and their primary qualities, this list should include some such as:


Also called simple sugars, they provide energy to the body, although their consumption should be moderate. They remain found in foods such as rice, bread or pasta, among others.

Lipids or Fats:

Constitute a direct source of energy for the body. In addition, fatty tissues protect and support vital organs.


They are simple components to shape bones and muscles and supply energy to the body. They remain also related to weight control and cholesterol regulation.

Vitamins or Mineral Salts:

We find them mostly in fruits and vegetables. They are involved in nerve purposes and the proper function and proper development of muscles.


It is the critical component of the human body, adding to existence responsible for facilitating functions such as digestion or eliminating waste. It can remain consumed directly or in derived products.

Are Famines Exclusive to War Contexts?

There are minimum indicators that help us determine when we are in a situation of food deficit. One of the essential mentions to the number of basic nutrients that a person consumes in a day.

These values ​​serve for organizations such as the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) to openly declare the existence of a crisis in this regard, as has occurred in the recent famines registered in several countries of the so-called Horn of Africa: Ethiopia and Somalia, among others.

Although wars, conflicts and violence in any of its manifestations are direct causes of this type of situation, food shortages can also occur in other contexts, such as those seriously marked by structural problems such as poverty and inequality.

Famines and Refugees in the World

One of the main problems faced by refugees who have to leave their homes every day because of the war is the food deficit caused by fleeing long routes to safer areas.

In this transit, usually undertaken with precarious resources. The most common is that they do not have access to the necessary nutrients. That guarantee the normal development of their bodily functions. So they remain exposed to severe imbalances in their metabolism or diseases consequences irreversible.

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