The term “nutrition” refers to the entire range of substances that are taken into the body and used to build, maintain and sustain it. This encompasses all of the macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), as well as water and dietary fiber. These substances are necessary for our bodies to function properly and maintain optimal health.
On the other hand, “nutrients” refer to the specific components of food that our bodies require in order to carry out various processes. There are six essential nutrient categories: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Each of these nutrients plays a unique and critical role in supporting the health of our bodies.
Carbohydrates provide energy to the body, proteins help build and repair tissues, fats help with hormone production and cushioning, vitamins and minerals aid in various bodily functions such as metabolism, immune function, and vision, and water is crucial for hydration and maintaining bodily temperature.
Nutrition and nutrients are interdependent and interconnected. In order for us to have good nutrition, we need to consume a balanced diet that includes all of the essential nutrients. However, consuming too much or too little of any one nutrient can lead to deficiencies or health problems.
For example, a diet that is high in processed foods and low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is likely to lack important vitamins and minerals, while a diet that is high in saturated fat can contribute to heart disease.
It is important to note that while the terms “nutrition” and “nutrients” are used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Nutrition refers to the overall impact of the substances that we consume, while nutrients refer to the specific components of those substances.
To achieve optimal health, it is important to consume a well-balanced diet that includes all of the essential nutrients. A diet that is rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, will provide the body with the nutrients it needs to function properly.
Consulting a registered dietitian or healthcare provider can help ensure that you are consuming a balanced diet and getting all of the nutrients you need.