What is a Nutriment?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 28 January 2020
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Any item of food that provides nourishment to the body may be referred to as a nutriment. Nutriments help increase growth and development in humans and other animals. They provide living creatures with energy, allow for bodily repair, and allow life to take place in general.

As a nutriment can be any number of things that provide nourishment to the body, it can exist in a wide variety of forms. Vitamin and mineral supplements, sold as tablets, powders, or otherwise, are nutriments. Juice, milk, and other beverages that contain nutrients can be called nutriments. Any type of food that contains nutritional value, from stews to purees and fruits to vegetables, is a nutriment.

Prepared foods can be considered as nutriments provided that they retain their nutritional value. These can include processed foods as well, such as microwavable dishes and frozen meals. Junk foods and snacks can also be nutriments, since they provide the body with some calories to use as energy. The same status applies to fast food.

Nontraditional foods may be considered nutriments when appropriate. When a lack of food is present, for example, insects, wild plants, and other potentially unsavory yet edible items may be considered nutriments. In extreme cases, the consumption of one's fellow species in times of emergency or disaster has occurred, making humans a rare source of nutriment.


The word nutriment was commonly used to describe foods during the 15th century. Historical fiction as well as nonfictional accounts from that period still utilize the word in writing. In modern times, however, the archaic term is usually substituted with the words food or nutrient. It is of Middle English origin, and comes from the Latin words nutrimentum and nutrire, meaning "to suckle."

In Buddhism, a nutriment refers to the laws of nutriment, and can be one of four things. Like the general description of nutriments, it can be an edible food. Nutriments may also exist, however, in consciousness, sense impressions, and intentions. Of these components, the Buddha is said to have stated that, "all beings subsist on nutriment." Most of these nutriments, according to Buddhist philosophy, can be fostered by cultivating a practice of mindful living.

A nutritional drink with a slightly different spelling, Nutrament®, was developed by Novartis Labs in 1960. The beverage was created to be used as a vitamin supplement. It is made from skim milk, sugar, minerals, and vitamins and is available in several flavors, including chocolate, coconut, and cappuccino.


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Post 6

@OeKc05 - I agree with you wholeheartedly. This year, I am short on funds, so my trip will be to a lake instead of the ocean. I will be staying in a cabin so that I can go to the water as often as I need. I don’t know what it is about the water that is so nourishing, but I am grateful for it.

Because jet skis and pontoon boats are popular at this particular lake, waves are generated on a regular basis. Watching small pebbles and grains of sand wash to and fro provides me with the same nutriment for the soul that I get from the ocean.

Post 5

@Jacques6 - Energy drinks can provide a lot of nutriments, but I'm not sure that much caffeine is good for everyone. I'm caffeine sensitive myself, so I stick to vitamin pills.

You said that visiting your family is a nutriment? I think it's the singer Gwen Stefani that has a song about that. Her song "Glamorous" talks about going and hanging out with her family to escape her busy life as a star.

I listen to music when I need a peaceful moment after work -- so I consider music a nutriment.

Post 4

I use RockStar energy drink as a nutriment drink in my diet! It has a lot of vitamins in it and I don't like taking pills – so, I drink one RockStar a day.

As for other nutriments, I think that visiting a old haunt or your parents' house where you grew up provides nutriment. When I visit my parents, I look around the house and remember all the fun I had there as a kid. It's very soothing when times are rough.

Post 3

I consider a yearly trip to the ocean my soul’s most beneficial nutriment. I deeply need to hear, see, and most of all feel the inward-outward flow of the waves and all that they bring and take out with them. It is a great release for me.

Walking along the shore early in the morning before the heat rises and people populate the beach gives therapy to my soul. I can gather the best seashells before they are scooped up by other beachcombers, and I can just experience serenity.

For anyone who has never took a special trip to get in touch with nature, I seriously recommend it to improve your spiritual and mental health. If the ocean isn’t your thing, try the mountains or the woods. You might be amazed at the difference it brings about within you.

Post 2

My sister has become somewhat of a health food nut in her middle age crisis. That's okay with me, though, because she has introduced me to several good tasting, nutritious things that I know are improving me within.

She started using the word "nutriment" after she began educating herself on all things healthy. She makes an excellent smoothie, but she calls it a “nutriment shake.”

This delicious concoction includes peaches, mango, pineapple, and low-fat vanilla yogurt. She doesn't add any sugar, because the fruit ingredients have natural sugars. The use of yogurt instead of ice cream improves the nutrition level of the shake.

Post 1

I love that the term “nutriment” encompasses such a wide variety of things. I must admit that when I think of the word, it brings to mind fruits and vegetables more than anything.

We are so trained throughout our lives, beginning in school, to eat more good-for-you foods. Though the sustenance they provide is more commonly known now as nutrients, the word is close enough to nutriments to bring up images of carrots, tomatoes, and apples.

I did okay when my mom picked out everything I ate, but in high school, my main nutriments were potato chips, fries, chocolate, and fried chicken. I thrived on these until my metabolism slowed in my 20s. Then, I had to get a whole new system of nutriments in place. Today, I love the veggies and fruits I pictured in my youth as good foods.

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