Nutrients in food

When talking about food, you’ll often hear people refer to the word nutrients. Is the food full of nutrients? Is it a nutrient-rich food? Are you getting your recommended daily serves of nutrients?

What are nutrients and why are they good for you?

Nutrients are the substances in food that our bodies process to enable it to function. Your nutrient requirements are influenced by factors including your age, growth stage and activity. Nutrients are so small that the naked eye can’t see them.

Nutrients can generally be broken into two categories:

macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein, fats;


micronutrients – vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, vitamin C.

Macronutrients make up a majority of our diets and provide energy for us to move and function. Micronutrients, on the other hand, are chemical substances that we require in small amounts for healthy growth and development.

Nowadays there are many nutrient-poor foods available – this means they don’t contain much nutrition that your body needs to function. Instead, the food is full of excess energy (kilojoules), but it’s not nutritional. This excess energy means that the food will provide your body with kilojoules, but it’s void of other essential nutrients that your body needs to function.