A nutrient is anything that nourishes a living being. We humans get our nutrients from what we eat, plants get theirs from the soil. While the best nutrients are natural, we can also get them from vitamins in a bottle.

The words nutrient and nourish both come from the Latin word nūtrīre, "to feed, nurse, support, preserve." Although usually used as a noun, the word nutrient started out in 1650 as an adjective meaning "providing nourishment." It's important to your health to get the proper nutrients, so the food pyramid was developed by nutritionists to show you the balance of foods you need each day.

Definitions of nutrient

n any substance that can be metabolized by an animal to give energy and build tissue

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vitellus, yolk
nutritive material of an ovum stored for the nutrition of an embryo (especially the yellow mass of a bird or reptile egg)
comfort food
food that is simply prepared and gives a sense of wellbeing; typically food with a high sugar or carbohydrate content that is associated with childhood or with home cooking
comestible, eatable, edible, pabulum, victual, victuals
any substance that can be used as food
the food and drink that are regularly served or consumed
food product, foodstuff
a substance that can be used or prepared for use as food
aliment, alimentation, nourishment, nutriment, nutrition, sustenance, victuals
a source of materials to nourish the body
commissariat, provender, provisions, viands, victuals
a stock or supply of foods
feed, provender
food for domestic livestock
manna, manna from heaven, miraculous food
(Old Testament) food that God gave the Israelites during the Exodus
beverage, drink, drinkable, potable
any liquid suitable for drinking
a liquid necessary for the life of most animals and plants
soul food
food traditionally eaten by African-Americans in the South
a substance needed only in small amounts for normal body function (e.g., vitamins or minerals)
a semiliquid mass of partially digested food that passes from the stomach through the pyloric sphincter into the duodenum
culture medium, medium
(bacteriology) a nutrient substance (solid or liquid) that is used to cultivate micro-organisms
produced by mammary glands of female mammals for feeding their young
eatables (especially sweets)
part of a meal served at one time
dainty, delicacy, goody, kickshaw, treat
something considered choice to eat
a particular item of prepared food
fast food
inexpensive food (hamburgers or chicken or milkshakes) prepared and served quickly
finger food
food to be eaten with the fingers
solid and liquid nourishment taken into the body through the mouth
food that fulfills the requirements of Jewish dietary law
the usual food and drink consumed by an organism (person or animal)
a prescribed selection of foods
a regulated daily food allowance
the dishes making up a meal
chow, chuck, eats, grub
informal terms for a meal
board, table
food or meals in general
the food allowance for one day (especially for service personnel)
foodstuff rich in natural starch (especially potatoes, rice, bread)
flour or meal or grain used in baking bread
coloring, colouring, food color, food coloring, food colour, food colouring
a digestible substance used to give color to food
a concentrated form of a foodstuff; the bulk is reduced by removing water
coarsely ground foodstuff; especially seeds of various cereal grasses or pulse
fiber, roughage
coarse, indigestible plant food low in nutrients; its bulk stimulates intestinal peristalsis
fine powdery foodstuff obtained by grinding and sifting the meal of a cereal grain
blood meal
the dried and powdered blood of animals
corn gluten feed
a feed consisting primarily of corn gluten
food cache
food in a secure or hidden storage place
a supply of food especially for a household
frozen food, frozen foods
food preserved by freezing
canned food, canned foods, canned goods, tinned goods
food preserved by canning
dehydrated food, dehydrated foods
food preserved by dehydration
meal, repast
the food served and eaten at one time
Saint-John's-bread, carob, carob powder
powder from the ground seeds and pods of the carob tree; used as a chocolate substitute
granular preparation of cassava starch used to thicken especially puddings
soft semiliquid food
food chopped into small bits
food prepared by cooking and straining or processed in a blender
powder of ground roasted cacao beans with most of the fat removed
cattle cake
a concentrated feed for cattle; processed in the form of blocks or cakes
creep feed
feed given to young animals isolated in a creep
coarse food (especially for livestock) composed of entire plants or the leaves and stalks of a cereal crop
feed grain
grain grown for cattle feed
ensilage, silage
fodder harvested while green and kept succulent by partial fermentation as in a silo
oil cake
mass of e.g. linseed or cottonseed or soybean from which the oil has been pressed; used as food for livestock
cereal, food grain, grain
foodstuff prepared from the starchy grains of cereal grasses
heavy and filling (and usually starchy) food
wheat germ
embryo of the wheat kernel; removed before milling and eaten as a source of vitamins
pigswill, pigwash, slop, slops, swill
wet feed (especially for pigs) consisting of mostly kitchen waste mixed with water or skimmed or sour milk
mixture of ground animal feeds
cud, rechewed food
food of a ruminant regurgitated to be chewed again
bird feed, bird food, birdseed
food given to birds; usually mixed seeds
pet food, pet-food, petfood
food prepared for animal pets
nuts of forest trees used as feed for swine
fixings, ingredient
food that is a component of a mixture in cooking
egg, eggs
oval reproductive body of a fowl (especially a hen) used as food
dairy product
milk and butter and cheese
a white nutritious liquid secreted by mammals and used as food by human beings
any of several nutritive milklike liquids
a coagulated liquid resembling milk curd
any thin watery drink
concoction, intermixture, mixture
any foodstuff made by combining different ingredients
a medicinal or magical or poisonous beverage
alcohol, alcoholic beverage, alcoholic drink, inebriant, intoxicant
a liquor or brew containing alcohol as the active agent
honey diluted in water; becomes mead when fermented
wine mixed with honey
near beer
drink that resembles beer but with less than 1/2 percent alcohol
ginger beer
carbonated slightly alcoholic drink flavored with fermented ginger
club soda or fruit juice used to mix with alcohol
an iced drink especially white wine and fruit juice
a drink that refreshes
a thick smooth drink consisting of fresh fruit pureed with ice cream or yoghurt or milk
an effervescent beverage (usually alcoholic)
cider, cyder
a beverage made from juice pressed from apples
chocolate, cocoa, drinking chocolate, hot chocolate
a beverage made from cocoa powder and milk and sugar; usually drunk hot
the liquid part that can be extracted from plant or animal tissue by squeezing or cooking
fruit crush, fruit juice
drink produced by squeezing or crushing fruit
ade, fruit drink
a sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice
South American tea-like drink made from leaves of a South American holly called mate
soft drink
nonalcoholic beverage (usually carbonated)
coffee, java
a beverage consisting of an infusion of ground coffee beans
a beverage made by steeping tea leaves in water
tea-like drink
a beverage that resembles tea but is not made from tea leaves
branch water
pure natural water from a stream or brook; often distinguished from soda water
spring water
water from a spring
drinking water
water suitable for drinking
perishable, spoilable
food that will decay rapidly if not refrigerated
fish meal
ground dried fish used as fertilizer and as feed for domestic livestock
agar, nutrient agar
any culture medium that uses agar as the gelling agent
any of a group of organic substances essential in small quantities to normal metabolism
Type of:
a particular kind or species of matter with uniform properties

n any substance (such as a chemical element or inorganic compound) that can be taken in by a green plant and used in organic synthesis

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a liquid necessary for the life of most animals and plants
branch water
pure natural water from a stream or brook; often distinguished from soda water
spring water
water from a spring
drinking water
water suitable for drinking
Type of:
a particular kind or species of matter with uniform properties

adj of or providing nourishment

alimental, alimentary, nourishing, nutritious, nutritive
conducive to or characteristic of physical or moral well-being