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Nutrients: definition and advice for a balanced diet

Découvrez les conseils essentiels pour une alimentation équilibrée, afin de bénéficier des nutriments nécessaires à votre santé.

Macronutrients and micronutrients: How to tell them apart?

Nutrients are essential for the functioning of the body. It is thus an organic or mineral substance provided by food used by the body to function and develop. We distinguish on the one hand the macronutrients which include proteins, lipids, carbohydrates which provide 98% of the diet. On the other hand, there are micronutrients composed of minerals, trace elements and vitamins.  

Another distinction exists, that between essential and non-essential nutrients. Among the non-essentials we find saturated fatty acids and simple sugars. The body could therefore do without it.  

The definition of nutrients is therefore a fundamental concept to understand in order to design good balanced meals.  

The proteins

Proteins provide essential amino acids for the production and renewal of all the tissues of our body.  

In addition, they are involved in the chemical reactions of the body.  

The main sources of protein are meat, fish, eggs or milk. They are thus characterized by their richness in essential amino acids and by their digestibility.  

Animal proteins are therefore richer in essential amino acids than vegetable proteins and are generally more digestible.  



Lipids, very energetic, are essential for the proper functioning of cells and the body.  

They thus play a role in the production of hormones and in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.  

We distinguish  

  • Saturated fatty acids (essential in small quantities)  
  • Unsaturated fatty acids (mono or polyunsaturated), beneficial for the cardiovascular system.  

Depending on their degree of saturation, lipids therefore have different functions in the body.  



Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy.  

They thus include simple or fast sugars such as glucose or fructose and complex or slow sugars, such as starch or dietary fibre.  

Glucose is the brain's exclusive form of energy. Starch is essential to the diet. It is therefore advisable to consume it with all meals.  

Dietary fibers thus contribute to the good health of the digestive system and promote transit.  


Vitamins, minerals and trace elements  

 Vitamins, minerals and trace elements must be provided by food because the body does not know how to manufacture them.  

Some vitamins are soluble in lipids (A, D, E, K) and the others are soluble in the water contained in food (vitamins of group B, C).  

Minerals are involved at all levels of metabolic functioning.  

A varied and balanced diet is therefore necessary to provide all the vitamins essential to the body.  

Some vitamins are antioxidants and will therefore neutralize free radicals and thus delay muscle fatigue.

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