The 6 essential nutrients none of which should be missing in the diet?

The six essential nutrients are vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, water and carbohydrates. People need to consume these nutrients from food sources to keep the body functioning properly. Essential nutrients are essential for reproduction, good health and growth of a person. These essential nutrients are divided into two categories: micronutrients and macronutrients. Micronutrients are nutrients that a person needs in small doses. Micronutrients consist of vitamins and minerals. Although the body only needs it in small amounts, a deficiency can cause poor health.

Macronutrients are nutrients that a person needs in greater amounts. Macronutrients include water, protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Read on to learn more about where to find these nutrients and why a person needs them.


A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins should fill a person with vitamins. Vitamins are micronutrients that provide a range of health benefits, including:

strengthen the immune system
help prevent or delay certain cancers, such as prostate cancer
strengthen teeth and bones
facilitate the absorption of calcium
maintain healthy skin
help the body metabolize proteins and carbohydrates
promote blood health
contribute to the functioning of the brain and nervous system

There are 13 essential vitamins that nutritionists divide into two groups: fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins.

Fat-soluble vitamins are

vitamin A
vitamin D
vitamin E
vitamin K

Water-soluble vitamins are

vitamin B-1 (thiamin)
vitamin B-12 (cyanocobalamin)
vitamin B-6
vitamin B-2 (riboflavin)
vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid)
vitamin B-3 (niacin)
vitamin B-9 (folate, folic acid)
vitamin B-7 (biotin)
vitamin C
Typically, someone whose diet is high in vegetables, fruits, and lean protein can get all the vitamins they need from their diet. However, people who consume less fruit and vegetables and those who suffer from digestive disorders may need to take a vitamin supplement to reduce or avoid a deficiency.

The minerals

Minerals are the second type of micronutrients. There are two groups of minerals: major minerals and trace elements. The body needs a balance of minerals from both groups for optimal health.

The major minerals are


Key minerals help the body do the following:

balance water levels
maintain healthy skin, hair and nails
improve bone health

The trace elements are:

the iron

Trace elements contribute to:

strengthen the bones
prevent dental caries
help in blood clotting
help carry oxygen
support the immune system
promote healthy blood pressure

A person can ensure they are getting enough minerals by including the following foods in their diet.

red meats (limit their consumption and choose lean cuts)
iodized table salt (less than 2,300 milligrams daily from a safe source)
milk and other dairy products
nuts and seeds
the vegetables
leafy green vegetables
the fruits
fortified bread and cereals
egg yolks
Whole grains
beans and legumes

The proteins

Protein is a macronutrient that every cell in the body needs to function properly.

Proteins perform a variety of functions, including:

ensure the growth and development of muscles, bones, hair and skin
form antibodies, hormones and other essential substances
serve as a fuel source for cells and tissues when needed.

A person can absorb protein through their diet. The following foods are good sources of protein

red meats (limit their consumption and choose lean cuts)
poultry, including chicken and turkey
fish and other seafood
beans and legumes
dairy products
certain grains, including quinoa
Although meats and fish tend to have the most protein, vegans and vegetarians can get enough protein from a variety of plant products.


People often associate high fat foods with poor health. Still, some fats are necessary to maintain optimal health.

Fats provide the body with energy and help it perform a variety of functions. However, it is essential to consume healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and to limit or avoid saturated fats and trans fats.

Healthy fats contribute to the following functions

cell growth
blood clotting
building new cells
reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
muscle movement
blood sugar balance
brain function
absorption of minerals and vitamins
hormone production
immune function.

A person should consume 20-35% of their calories as healthy fats.

Healthy fats can be found in many foods, including

fish, such as salmon and tuna
vegetable oils


Carbohydrates are essential to the body. These are sugars or starches that provide energy to all cells and tissues in the body. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. It is advisable to limit the consumption of simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta and rice. However, the body needs complex carbohydrates to perform the following functions:

immune system
brain functions
the nervous system
energy needed to complete tasks
digestive function

It is recommended that a person consume 45-65% of their daily calories in the form of complex carbohydrates.

The following foods contain complex carbohydrates:

Brown rice
pasta, bread and other baked goods made from whole grains
Overly processed products containing bleached white flour and foods with added sugar should be avoided.

The water

Water is probably the most important essential nutrient a person needs. A person can only survive a few days without consuming water. Even mild dehydration can cause headaches and impaired physical and mental function.

The human body is made up mostly of water and every cell needs water to function. Water performs many functions, including

elimination of toxins
shock absorption
nutrient transport
constipation prevention

The best source of water is natural, unsweetened tap or bottled water. People who don’t like the taste of plain water can add lemon or other citrus to it. A person can also get extra water by consuming fruits that contain a high amount of water. Avoid consuming water from sugary drinks. Sweetened beverages include sweetened teas, coffees, sodas, lemonades, and fruit juices.


A person must consume all six types of essential nutrients to be as healthy as possible. These nutrients support vital functions including growth, immune system, central nervous system and disease prevention. Generally, a person who eats a healthy, balanced diet that includes lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates, and water will get the nutrients they need.

People who have digestive issues, take certain medications, or have other medical conditions may need supplements to help them get essential nutrients for the body.

Before starting to take dietary supplements, it is advisable to consult your doctor to ask if he has any health problems and if he takes any medications. She may also consult a dietitian or nutritionist to discuss her nutritional intake before starting to take supplements.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.

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