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Natural Sources of Nutrients

Food is a complex mixture of nutrients and non-nutrients. Nutrients are substances essential to the body as they perform important functions in our body. These when deficient in our food intake lead to ill health.The important nutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.

Food also contains some non-nutrients like colouring and flavouring substances.


Carbohydrates are widely distributed in plant foods. They are classified into -

a) Available carbohydrates
These include sugars and starches which are digested in the human digestive tract and hence available to the body for its functioning.


Cereals and Millets- wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, ragi etc.

Sugars - cane sugar, honey, jaggery etc.

Roots and Tubers - potato, sweet potato, tapioca, yam, colocasia

Fruits - banana, chickoo, mango

b) Non- Available carbohydrates

These include compounds called fibre like cellulose and other large molecules which cannot be digested in the human digestive tract and are not available to the body.


whole grain, while wheat flourand whole pulses

outer skin and seeds of fruits and vegetables especially lotus stem, green leafy vegetables, lady finger, peas, beans, brinjal, oranges, amla and guava.


Proteins are organic compounds made up of basic units called amino acids. Food has a endless variety of proteins made from just 22 amino acids because these are present in different proportion and arranged in different sequences in the various proteins.

Out of the amino acids 8 cannot be manufactured by the body and are called "essential" because they need to be supplied by the diet.
The amino acids which can be manufactured by the body and need not be supplied by the body are called "non- essential amino acids".


Foods of plant origin-
Nuts and oilseeds - cashew nut, ground nut
pulses - soya bean, rajmah, whole bengal gram

Foods of animal origin-
Flesh foods - goat meat, fish, egg, chicken
Milk and milk products - milk, paneer, khoa, cheese, curds


Fats are organic compouds made up of basic units of fatty acids and glycerol.
Fatty acids can be classifid into

Saturated fatty acids - A fatty acid chain af a specified chain length has a fixed number of hydrogen atoms.Saturated fatty acids are those which have as many hydrogen atoms a carbon chain can hold.

Unsaturated fatty acids - those in which some hydrogen atoms are missing from the carbon chain.Linolenic and linoleic acids are two unsaturated fatty acids which cannot be manufactured by the body and have to be supplied by diet and are called as "essential fatty acids".


Fats - ghee, butter, vanaspati
Oils - mustard oil, groundnut oil, soya oil, coconut oil
Milk and milk products - curd, paneer, khoa, cheese
Nuts and oilseeds- almond, groundnut, cashewnut, coconut, mustard seeds
Flesh foods - mutton, egg.


" Vita " means life. Vitamins are vital and essential for life nad health. They help in regulating the metabolic processes, help in growth and maintainance of our body and protect against diseases.They are classified into

Fat soluble Vitamins - They are

Vitamin A/Retinol


Butter, ghee
Flesh foods - egg, fish, liver
Liver oils-halibut, cod, shark liver oils

Carotenoids are precursors of vitamin A i.e. they can be converted into vitamin A in the body.
They are present in
Fruits - mango, papaya
Vegetables - carrot, pumpkin
Green leaft vegetables - spinach, mustard leaves, fenugreek leaves

Vitamin D


Action of sunlight on skin
Flesh foods - eggs, liver
fish liver oils

Vitamin E


Vegetable oils - groundnut, soya, cottonseed, safflower
Whole grain cereals
Nuts and oilseeds
green leafy vegetables

Vitamin K


Green leafy vegetables - spinach, cabbage, lettuce
Egg yolk, liver
manufactured by some bacteria in the small intestine

Water soluble Vitamins - They are

Vitamin C


Citrus fruits - amla, guava, oranges, lemon, lime, sweet lime
Green leafy vegetables
green chillies, capsicum
Sprouted and fermented cereals and pulses


1) Thiamine/Vitamin B1


whole grain cereals
whole pulses
Flesh foods - lean meat, poultry, egg yolk

2) Riboflavin/Vitamin B2


flesh foods - liver, kidney, eggs
Green leafy vegetables
whole grain cereals
whole pulses

3) Niacin


Flesh foods - meat, fish, poultry
Nuts and oilseeds

4) Folic Acid


Whole grain cereals
whole pulses
green leafy vegetables
Flesh foods - eggs, organ meat (liver, kidney )

5) Cobalamine/ Vitamin B 12


Flesh foods - liver, kidney, eggs, sea foods (shrimp, crabs, lobster)


These are inorganic elements needed by the body to perform protective and regulatory functions. The total mineral content of the body is only 4 - 6 percent of the total body weight. The body contains about 19 minerals in varying amounts.

1) Calcium


Milk and milk products like curd, khoa, paneer
Fish especially dried fish (chingri, chela ) and sea foods ( crab, shrimp)
Cereals - ragi
Pulses - bengal gram, black gram, green gram, moth beans, rajmah, soya beans
Green leafy vegetables- amaranth, colocasia, fenugreek, mustard leaves
Nuts and oilseeds - til, coconut, almonds, walnut

2) Phosphorus


Flesh foods - egg, fish, poultry

3) Sodium


Table salt
Flesh foods - meat, fish, poultry, egg white
Green leafy vegetables - spinach, fenugreek leaves

4) Potassium


tender coconut water
Flesh foods - meat, fish, poultry
fruits - bananas, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, lemons
green leafy vegetables

5) Chloride


Table salt

6) Magnesium


nuts - groundnut, cashewnut, walnut, almond
oilseeds - sesame
pulses - rajmah, mothbeans, soyabeans
Whole grain - wheat, bajra, jowar
sea foods - shellfish, crab, oyster
green leafy vegetables - lotus stem

7) Iron


Flesh foods - liver, kidney, spleen
green leafy vegetables - amaranth, colocasia, mustard, mint leaves
cereals - whole wheat flour, rice flakes, bajra, ragi, jowar
pulses - soyabean

8) Iodine


Sea foods - fish, shellfish
Vegetables grown in coastal areas
iodized salt

9) Zinc


10) Copper

They are widely distributed in nature and are found abundant in indian diet.

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