As their name indicates (‘micro’ means small) micronutrients are substances which people need in their diet in only small amounts. These include minerals and vitamins.
Although most foods are mixtures of nutrients, many of them contain a lot of one nutrient and a little of the other nutrients. Foods are often grouped according to the nutrient that they contain in abundance (see Box 2.1).
Box 2.1 Nutrient types and their names
Foods that contain a lot of protein are called body-building foods or growing foods. Foods that contain a lot of fat or carbohydrates and perhaps only a little protein are called energy-giving foods.
Foods in which the most important nutrients are vitamins or minerals are called protective foods.
What are some of the common foods consumed in your community? Make a list in your Study Diary.
You might have included some of the following in your list; ‘injera’, maize, ‘kocho’, bread, porridge (‘genfo’), egg, meat, butter, ‘shiro’, ‘kitta’, milk, cheese, yogurt, different types of fruits, sugar cane, cabbage, lettuce, lentils, nuts, beans, fish, chicken, fish, oils, and breastmilk.
If people are to stay healthy they must eat a mixed diet of different foods which contain the right amount of nutrients.