Guide to Healthy Eating: Nutrients, Functions, and Tips

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Healthy Eating Plate

  • Oils:

    Olive oil for cooking, on salad, and at the table. Limit butter, avoid trans fat.
  • Water:

    Drink water, tea, or coffee with little or no sugar. Limit milk (1-2 servings a day) and juice (1 small glass a day). Avoid sugary drinks.
  • Vegetables:

    The more veggies and variety, the better. Potatoes and French fries don't count.
  • Whole Grains:

    Eat a variety of whole grains like whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, and brown rice. Limit refined grains like white rice and white bread.
  • Fruits:

    Eat plenty of fruits of all colors.
  • Healthy Protein:

    Choose fish, poultry, beans, and nuts; limit red meat and cheese; avoid bacon, cold cuts, and other processed meats.

Foods and Nutrients

The difference between food and nutrients is that nutrients are a composite part of different types of food.

Inorganic Nutrients

  • Water:

    It gets to the body by drinking and eating foods that contain water. Function: solvent, transportation of substances, chemical reactions, regulation of body temperature. Example: watermelon.
  • Mineral Salts:

    It gets to the body dissolved in drinking water, as part of food, added to food. Function: for muscle contraction and nerve transmission, for bones and teeth. Examples: Ca2-milk, K-banana, Fe-sardine.

Organic Nutrients

  • Carbohydrates:

    It gets to the body from plant sources (fruit, cereals, potatoes), sugar, and flour. Function: provide most of the energy. Example: glycogen-bread, pasta rice.
  • Lipids:

    It gets to the body from plant sources (vegetable oils, nuts, margarine) and from animal sources (butter, bacon). Function: provide energy. Example: cholesterol-butter, nuts.
  • Proteins:

    It gets to the body from animal sources (fish, meat, milk, eggs) and plant sources (legumes, cereal). Function: defense of the body, carrying oxygen in the blood. Example: antibodies, collagen-eggs, meat, fish, milk, cheese.
  • Vitamins:

    It gets into the body in fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, also milk, eggs, nuts, fish, oil, and cereal. Function: for growth and many organic processes. Example: D, E, A-orange, pineapple, meat.

Food Functions

  • Building Blocks:

    Provide the structure for cells, tissues, and organs. Enable growth and repair damaged structures. Characteristics: high in proteins.
  • Energy Producers:

    Produce energy to be used immediately or stored for use later. Characteristics: high in carbohydrates and lipids.
  • Body Regulators:

    Provide essential substances that regulate the use of other foods and enable the body to carry out its functions. Characteristics: high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water.


  • BMR + Physical Activity + Digestion.
  • BMR: Weight x 22.
  • Physical Activity: 0.5 x BMR.
  • Digestion: BMR + Physical Activity x 0.10 (calories).


Weight (kg) / Height (m^2).


  • 1 kcal: 4.18 kJ.
  • 1 cal: 4.18 J.

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