Nutrients are substances that are found in the food we eat and the drinks we drink. These substances give us the essential ingredients we need to stay alive. So, for example the nutrients that we absorb in the food that we eat could give us energy and help us grow and to repair any physical damage that we might have incurred. Without this kind of nutrition intake we would die.

There are various kinds of nutrients that we can get from the food that we eat. These include:

In general terms nutrients will be split into two types:

1. Essential nutrients are nutrients that the body either cannot produce on its own or cannot produce in the necessary volume that we need. We need to get these nutrients from the diet that we eat. Essential nutrients include fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.

2. Non-essential nutrients are nutrients which the body basically has enough of or does not need to function although there should generally be some intake of this type of nutrients to maintain a healthy balance. Fibre, for example, is not considered an essential nutrient but, without it, most people will have digestive problems.

The nutrients that we need are often measured by a daily allowance which is known as the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance). This allowance tells us the optimum amount of a nutrient that we need to get by every day. This allowance is also used on much food packaging to tell us how much of relevant daily allowances a food will give us when we eat it.