Types of nutrients

Food groups of the diet according to the kind of components they contribute

What are the nutrients and what are they for?

Nutrients are components of foods that are essential for good health. There are different kinds of nutrients and each one has different functions.

Suitable foods for a healthy diet

Suitable foods for a healthy diet

What types of nutrients are there?

There are the following types of nutrients:

How are the nutrients studied?

The nutrients are components of the food, therefore, to speak dietetically about them we say “foods rich in“.

Where are the nutrients?

The nutrients are found in food. To be well nourished, we must eat healthy foods. Each food must be valued as a whole. For example, a product that contains a lot of sugar is not advisable, although it is enriched in X vitamins or is rich in proteins.

The fact that a food contains a nutrient does not mean that it is rich in that component. There are foods that are richer than others in certain nutrients. For this reason, foods are grouped or classified into food groups.

Classification of foods according to the nutrients they provide

By studying the composition of foods, we can classify them into the following groups:


What do they give us?

What are their functions?Examples of healthy foods that provide these nutrients

Natural food

rich in carbohydrates

or carbohydrates


  • Energy function: Energy of easy digestion.
  • Prebiotic function: They feed the intestinal flora.
  • Energy reserve function
  • Cereals: Rice, corn, oats (oat porridge, …), amaranth, millet, sorghum, etc.
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, tiger nuts, tapioca, etc.
  • Chestnuts
  • Pseudocereals: buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth and derivatives
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits and dried fruits

Natural food

rich in proteins




  • Structural function: They are part of the bones, skin and muscles
  • Movement function
  • Defensive function
  • Digestive function
  • Hormone function
  • Nutrient transport function
  • Vegetables
  • Egg
  • Cheese, yogurt, kefir
  • White meat: chicken, turkey, rabbit.
  • Red meat: veal or beef, pork, horse, etc.
  • White fish: sea bass, monkfish, hake, cod, grouper, sea bream, perch, sole, etc.
  • Blue or fatty fish: sardines, mackerel, tuna, anchovies, herring, etc.
  • Seafood: Mussels, clams, etc.

Natural foods rich in fats


  • Energy function
  • Protective function
  • Avocado
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Nuts: nuts, almonds, coquitos, etc.
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds

Natural food

rich in

minerals and vitamins


  • Energy function
  • Structural function
  • Protective and restorative function (antioxidants)
  • They protect us from diseases
  • Vegetables: carrots, green beans, asparagus, parsnips, beets, etc.
  • Fruits: apple, pear, orange, medlars, etc.
  • Milk, yogurt, kefir
  • Vegetable drinks with calcium
  • Aromatic herbs and spices

Natural foods

rich in fiber


  • Laxative function
  • They protect us from diseases
  • Vegetables
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetables, especially green leafy ones: Lettuce, borage, dandelion, peas, …
  • Fruits, especially if they are eaten with skin.



  • Hydrating function
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Water
  • Soda
  • Green tea (according to tolerance to the theine)
  • Coffee (according to tolerance to caffeine)
  • Infusions

nutrients characteristics

Characteristics of nutrients

child feeding course sign

Child feeding course index

punto rojo More information on nutrition.

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

15 January, 2023

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